Debt: Michelle Heaton earlier this year
Former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton fell into debt during the Covid lockdown and was close to selling her house and cutting staff.
She says she couldn’t make money for nearly two years when the pandemic shut down the entertainment industry.
But now, the 43-year-old has turned her life around and created a business called Wellness Possible Mission to help people lead healthy and active lives through movement, nutrition, thinking, sleep and motivation.
To learn more, go to MissionPossiblewellness.com.
What did your parents teach you about money?
They taught me the value of money. I knew they worked hard for this. I grew up in a former council house.
Dad was a bus driver, and then a train driver, while mom raised us. Everything was done on budget. McDonald’s would be a birthday treat, not an after school lunch. We went on vacation in a caravan to England. But I didn’t know otherwise.
Have you ever tried to make ends meet?
Yes. The worst time started during the first Covid lockdown. My income at the time came from corporate gigs, photo shoots and performances. All this was closed.
My husband, who works in the fitness industry, and I have gone from a two-income, equal-wage household to an income just for him. For almost two years I did not earn a penny. All of a sudden we had half the money in our bank account.
We lived life to the fullest. We have two children of ten and eight years old, and I am one of those mothers who can’t help but buy good things for their children.
Our attitude was: if we have money, let’s enjoy life. So we didn’t have much savings. Therefore, we are indebted.
How did you change the situation?
It was really scary. We started talking about selling the house and laying off staff. At one point, we were six months behind on our council tax.
Luckily the concerts are back after Covid. I paid our council tax, hired an accountant, and got my finances in order.
It wasn’t easy, but I know it’s worse for other people. We did not live in poverty. This experience made me plan for the future.
Have you ever been paid stupid money?
Yes, eight years ago, during National Yogurt Week, I was paid £20,000 for six hours of work. All I had to do was sit in a Greek style yogurt bath and eat some as if I was having fun. It was absolutely cold.
It was stupid money for such a strange idea, but tomorrow I will do it again.
What was the best year in your financial life?
It was 2018 when I released my book Hot Flush and participated in the ITV show The Real Full Monty. In the same year, I participated in many campaigns. I made six figures.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought for entertainment?
A £38,000 Audi convertible when I was pregnant with my daughter Faith in 2012. I paid in cash.
What is your biggest money mistake?
Buying this car. When Faith arrived, I realized that her car seat didn’t fit in the back seat. What an idiot. I ended up selling it about four months after I bought it for around £29,000.
Best money decision you’ve made?
Early climb up the stairs of the property. As a group, we paid ourselves £5,000 a month from Liberty X and kept the rest of our earnings in the bank as a payout in case this all ended.
I saved every month and three years after we formed the band, in 2004, I used my savings to buy a two-bedroom apartment at Canada Water in London for £375,000.
I sold it five years later for about £475,000. It has helped me climb through the ranks to the family home I now live in, which is my greatest asset.
Steady income: Michelle Heaton (centre) with Liberty X in 2002 – the band paid themselves £5,000 a month.
Are you saving for retirement or for the stock market?
No, I’m not a player. I would like to save up for retirement. But then again, over the past two years, I wouldn’t have been able to make regular payments.
My husband is saving for retirement and I hope he never leaves me. I also have an apartment in Newcastle that I’m buying to rent out and I hope it will become a stash.
At the moment, the rent only covers the mortgage. I bought it for £210,000 in 2005 and I think it’s worth the same today.
Do you have other property?
Yes, my home. This is a four bedroom semi-detached house with a very private garden facing south on a private road in Hertfordshire.
We bought it ten years ago for £500,000 and spent £200,000 refurbishing it. I think it’s worth double what we paid for it.
What little luxury do you indulge in?
A new set of nails or fillings. I spend 40 to 60 pounds a week. It makes me happy.
If you were chancellor, what would be the first thing you would do?
I would even out the country’s wealth better than the government does.
I would close tax loopholes that only benefit the super rich and earmark that money for tax cuts for small, independent businesses fighting the pandemic.
Do you donate money to charity?
Yes. I represent Caudwell Children and do a lot for cancer charities. I am BRCA2 positive which means I have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. So, I had a total double mastectomy and reconstruction, as well as a total hysterectomy.
What is your number one financial priority?
To get a stable position where I don’t have to rely on the entertainment industry for income so that what happened two years ago won’t happen again.
THIS IS MONEY PODCAST
Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /