Relationship expert Annabelle Knight tells ME & MY MONEY how the investment in training paid off: “I made £950 in an hour…saying what a TV star looks like in bed”
Spotlight: Annabel Knight invests £9,000 in her studies
The best financial decision relationship expert Annabel Knight has ever made is to invest in herself and her business.
Knight told Donna Ferguson that the thousands of pounds she spent on student tuition to get her qualifications in psychosexual and couples counselling were well worth the money.
Knight, 37, is a regular on TV shows that talk about relationships and is a best-selling romance novelist. She lives in Nottinghamshire with her filmmaker husband Matthew, 42. Her latest book, The Match of the Match, is now out.
What did your parents teach you about money?
Save as much as possible. Neither of my parents came from a particularly wealthy background, so saving was always encouraged. My mom is a stay-at-home mom, and my dad is a construction worker and played a one-man band. We are a working class family and I was taught to be careful with our money. When I was a kid, our family must have heard the phrase “don’t waste, don’t”.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yes. In my 20s, I was learning to be a couples coach while working part-time as a freelance host, producing internal company videos and hosting conferences. Usually, I don’t get paid, but instead I receive a copy of the work I did for the episode. I have also worked as a promotional model. Once, during a heat wave, I got a job standing at the Oxford Circus in London, handing out flyers for free drinks at nightclubs dressed as mermaids.
Have you ever received stupid money?
Yes. The stupidest thing is that when I got paid £950 from MTV, I wrote a few words for the faces of every cast member on reality show Geordie Shore. Each of them posed in “sexy poses” for the photoshoot, and I had to use the photos to gain insight into their personalities and say what they might look like in the bedroom.
This is called face mapping. This is all a joke, it took me less than an hour to do it. I closed my laptop, looked at the time and couldn’t believe I made almost £1,000 – I really enjoyed doing it.
What was the best year of your financial life?
It was 2018 and my first novel, Endless Autumn, came out. I went on the TV show “Loose Women” to promote it, and the book sold so many copies that when I got my first paycheck, it was substantial. Much more than I thought. When I first started writing novels, I never thought I would find a publisher. But it’s No. 1 on Amazon’s romance charts. What a wonderful feeling that was. Also to make money – I can’t ask for anything more.
What’s the most expensive thing you bought for fun?
After my book was published, a pair of high heels Louboutins sold for £700. They’re nude with Louboutin red soles. I bought them to say “good job” to myself, but I bought them on eBay because I’m a bargain hunter. I wear them on special occasions.
What is your biggest money mistake?
I wouldn’t say I made any catastrophic money mistakes, but I almost did. Before the lockdown, I almost bought a house. We were originally scheduled to close and complete the exchange in March 2020. But the chain was interrupted due to the pandemic. My husband works in the film industry and if this deal goes through, my mortgage and I will triple in size. When neither of us can work for a period of time, it leaves us financially stretched by the lockdown.
Star quality: Annabel Knight (centre) starred in ITV’s “Loose Women”
Are you saving for a pension or investing in the stock market?
No, I have a two bedroom semi-detached rental home in Midland that I bought with an estate I received ten years ago. I see that property as my pension. I was renting in London when I bought it. I think it cost me around £90,000 and is now worth around £120,000. I don’t have a pension. I’m risk averse and I don’t know enough about stocks and stocks to invest right now.
Do you own any other property?
Yes, my home is in a small village in Nottinghamshire. We bought it at auction for around £70,000 when it was an abandoned barn. With the help of my dad, we renovated it into a three bedroom house. It may now be worth more than £300,000.
What is one little luxury you treat yourself with?
I love my friend Vikki’s sports massage. They cost £45 at a time and I only have one or two a month. Because of them, I sleep better and feel more comfortable writing at my desk.
If you were the Prime Minister, what would be the first thing you would do?
I would invest more money in mental health services. It’s short-sighted that they’re underfunded at the moment, because if you take care of people’s minds, many problems – including many of the physical health problems that cost the NHS money – can be avoided.
Do you donate to charity?
Yes, I donate to several animal charities.
What are your top financial priorities?
Buy a bigger house in a better location. I feel like we’ve outgrown our current size and want to move closer to London to work.