Rachel Riley: "I never intended to go into the TV industry"

Rachel Riley:

TV presenter Rachel Riley worried that her job on Countdown would be "just a flash in the pan" when she first started on the show.

Riley, who is 29, was offered the role shortly after leaving university. Here, she reveals the difference the job has made to her life, financially - and how, when she first started on Countdown, she didn't know whether the job would last.

What's the first extravagant purchase you made after you got the job on Countdown?

I went shopping for a winter coat and bought two. Each cost £180. One was black and really warm and sensible. The other was blue and quite smart, from Karen Millen. I only wore it a few times - it hasn't stood the test of time.

Are you good with money?

Yes, I've always been quite good at handling money. My parents taught me well. My father is an accountant and has always worked in finance. He is king of the spreadsheets - keeps track of everything. My mother has worked in a lot of different jobs. She's a real doer. When I was little, she had her own businesses - everything from a dried flower business, a catering business and party bag businesses - so I'd say she is quite entrepreneurial. And my uncle used to be a pensions adviser. I remember he'd come round and have these grown-up discussions with my parents about their pensions. They've always been sensible and planned for their futures.

Do you believe you should work hard, play hard?

Yes. My work's not 9 to 5 like my friends' work can be, and I don't always have weekends free. I also spend quite a lot of time away from home when I'm working and because of that, there's never anything in my fridge. So I really enjoy seeing my friends when I can, treating them and going out dinner. I also like travelling - whenever I can tag along on someone's trip, I will. And I like buying presents. I probably spend too much at Christmas, for example.

Did you go on Strictly Come Dancing to earn some extra money?

No. I'm lucky - because of the Countdown job, I feel like I can choose to do things because I want to do them, not because I need the money. But then again, because I was filming other shows as well as Strictly, I was very busy at the time. I'd never danced before and sometimes my brain just wasn't there. It made me slow to pick stuff up.

Is financial security important to you?

Definitely. I've had a job since I was 15 consistently - except when I was at university, when I'd come back and work in the holidays. I certainly never intended to go into the TV industry. To be in a position where your job could be taken away at any time would be quite unnerving for

anyone and when I first started on Countdown, I didn't know how long the job was going to last. It could have just been a flash in the pan. But now, because I know I'm secure in my Countdown contract, other TV opportunities that come in - like Strictly Come Dancing or the Gadget Show - are kind of a bonus.

Do you think there's a lot of pressure to buy a property and isn't always the right decision?

Yes. Personally, I'm enjoying renting - although I was brought up thinking owning a property is always the best thing. It's a British thing; in different countries in the world, most people rent. I think it's one of those things that you need to do the numbers, and work out what is right for you and how much you can afford. Renting gives me the flexibility to up sticks and move at any time.

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Rachel Riley: "I never intended to go into the TV industry"

“I am a spender,” the former Formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordon told The Telegraph. “I've always been like that. Have I got worse as I've got older? Probably, though I'd like to think I'm not irresponsible, but if there's something I see and want, then I'll get it. My mum has a great expression: "There's no hem in that garment." What she meant was that you can't put money in the hem of the garment as it was the place that little old Irish ladies would hide their money. Whatever money I've made, I want to use, while not dying in a poor house. I don't want to leave money littering the place when I go, where people have rows with each other.”

Advice from Jo Gornitzki, a spokesperson for MoneySavingExpert.com:

“Eddie is right when he says that leaving cash behind when you pop your clogs can cause family feuds - but only if you don't plan who you want to leave your money too. A bit of forward thinking - gifting money away before you die and drawing up a solid will - and the former motor racing boss can make sure his wife and kids won't come last in the money race.”

“I’m definitely a spender,” the footballer Robbie Savage told The Telegraph recently. “For me if I’ve got it, I spend it. If I’m broke in five years, I’ll have had a great time. It’s the most difficult lesson I’ve had to learn about money: you can’t take it with you. I like spending on cars, clothes, food and wine – the nice things in life. Even though I’m a spender, I’m also a grafter and I work exceptionally hard to keep it coming in. I’ve had people have a go at me for this, but I’ve had some unforgettable experiences because of my work ethic.

Advice from Kirsty MacDonald, spokesperson for accountancy practice Jackson Stephen LLP:

“There is no doubt that Robbie is one of the hardest working sports professionals in the UK. He is rarely out of the media spotlight what with his punditry work, newspaper columns and lycra clad manoeuvres following his SCD appearances. But relying on always being able to work to maintain a lifestyle is dangerous. Robbie should know that it only takes one false move in the media and he may never work again. Such a risky strategy should be balanced with a contingency plan to cover some income for a period of time in the event of catastrophe.”

“I’m a definitely a spender,” the former Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt told The Telegraph in January. “ I’ve never been one to save. I live for the moment and I’m fairly extravagant when it comes to people around me. In the past, I could not resist buying cars. I had a stable full of them – American cars, sport cars, limousines, everything. I spent hundreds of thousands on them. I had about eight or nine at any one time. The cars were just strewn all over the drive. I’d come out every morning, look at the weather and think, what car should I drive today?

Advice from Jasmine Birtles, founder of moneymagpie.com:

“Rick and other ageing rockers wouldn’t need to keep touring if they cut back on their spending and put the money instead into solid investments that grow over time and give them a regular income. It’s nice to be in a position to spend on the things you love but it’s a bit pointless spending so much that you have to keep working just to feed your spending habit. I always tell people to think about what they love and spend on that but save on things that don’t matter so much so that you can put money into savings and investments to work for you.”

“I am an unashamed spender,” former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis told The Telegraph. “I love shopping and I love the idea of a bargain and will shop online or in stores. We have a good lifestyle and don’t deprive ourselves of good holidays. I have in the past maxed out on credit cards and store cards, which I wouldn’t advise anyone doing. It was fun at the time, but in terms of how much you have to repay, it is ludicrous how much they charge.”

Advice from Jo Gornitzki, a spokesperson for MoneySavingExpert.com:

“As any girl knows there's nothing better than a bit of retail therapy every now and then. But the former Blue Peter presenter should be wary of maxing out on her cards. Credit cards are great - used in the right way. Used wrongly and they can end up costing you a fortune and in a mess that sticky back plastic just can't fix.”

“I’m definitely a spender, although I’m not an impulsive spender,” the James Bond actor Roger Moore revealed to The Sunday Times. “If I go shopping, I usually know what I want before I go out. I’m not a very good saver because the lessons my father tried to instil in me about taking care of money had the opposite effect. I carry cash in my pocket as I always like to have it to hand, which means it also disappears easily as I spend it more quickly.”

Advice from Kirsty MacDonald, spokesperson for accountancy practice Jackson Stephen LLP:

“As James Bond, Roger Moore became iconic as a smooth operator. But there is nothing smooth about the way he is handling his cash here. There seems to be no control over it at all. Whilst it’s hard to be sympathetic with multimillionaire film stars, Roger’s cash leakages are probably losing him a lot more than he realises.“

“I've got some savings for a rainy day, but I don't bother looking to see if I might get a better interest rate elsewhere,” the comedian Justin Lee Collins revealed in an interview with The Telegraph. “I don't have the time or the inclination to shop around at the moment.”

Advice from Jasmine Birtles, founder of moneymagpie.com:

“The sad thing is that Justin is at an age where even relatively small amounts of money put into a good investment like stocks and shares will grow into something really impressive in later life. The younger you are, the more time your investments have to grow and so the bigger they will be when you retire.

“The earning-power of a comedian can be volatile so it’s helpful to have a serious cash cushion to dip into in the bad times and help invest in your career to push it one when it seems to be faltering. It’s true that shopping around for a better savings rate right now can seem pointless but if you’re willing to tie your money up for a few years there are some good deals to be had, particularly in the peer-to-peer companies like Zopa, Ratesetter and Funding Circle. You can get, on average, between 4.5 and 5.5% with those at the moment, which is significantly better than ordinary savings accounts.”

“I’m definitely a spender,” the international playboy Howard Marks recently told The Telegraph. “When I was growing up I wondered what it would be like to win the pools. The prize money was something like £75,000. Later I had much more than that, with cardboard boxes of cash under my bed. I was very, very flash with my spending. I would fly first class, stay in five-star hotels, buy fast cars, big cars. I don't regret investing more wisely - I enjoyed it all.

Advice from Jo Gornitzki, a spokesperson for MoneySavingExpert.com:

“While I don't blame Howard for splashing his cash, the former drug smuggler and author should make sure his fortune won't go up in smoke. Yes, you should enjoy your money, but also make sure you have enough to last in old age.”


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