Fearne Cotton talks about personal finance and protecting savings

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is launching ‘Protecting Your Future’ today to build awareness of their UK protection scheme. This campaign reassures people that their money is protected by FSCS up to £85,000 per person (per account), if their bank, building society or credit union goes bust. For further information, visit: www.fscs.org.uk/protected

Fearne Cotton FSCS personal finance protected interview

Over the next few weeks five well-known personalities from the world of music, entertainment and sport will be supporting ‘Protecting Your Future’, starting with TV presenter Fearne Cotton. They’ve each given FSCS an exclusive video interview, talking about a time in their life when their savings were absolutely crucial and protected their future.

Here at PennyGolightly.com we’ve been given a sneak peek to share, and have been very pleasantly surprised at how sensible Fearne has been with her money. Unlike some other celebrities she comes across as a good role model for people who want to be savvy savers.

Fearne first broke into TV presenting aged 16, with The Disney Club. Despite the temptation to spend her hard earned cash on fashion and parties, she instead remained level-headed and started saving for her future. At 17 she was able to buy her first car, and by the age of 19 she’d saved enough money to buy her first flat.

Fearne’s upbringing had a strong, positive influence over her financial choices, right from the beginning:

“I had this weird life of marrying school work and GCSE studies with goofing around on a TV set… It was a strange but wonderful thing being able to earn money at that age and I’m from a working class family and I’ve got two massively hard working parents. My dad who has been self employed for a long time is a sign writer. My mum was doing varying jobs, at one point doing 4 or 5 different jobs, so I was very aware of the worth of money and how to really think about it in a practical sense because we didn’t have it to be frivolous with, it was kind of always something that was quite well thought out.

“From the second I started earning I gave my mum a bit of housekeeping because obviously I was earning but I was still living under her roof so I thought that we came to the conclusion that it was good that I gave her a little bit of housekeeping just to kind of you know, pay my way and have that understanding.

“I put all of it in a savings account straight away. I wasn’t one of those people and I’m so grateful that I wasn’t but I didn’t just go out and go to the designer shops straight away and buy loads of new clothes, because I never had before so that wasn’t something that felt natural to me to start shopping on Bond Street or whatever. I just didn’t have that in me and I still don’t have it in me – I’m still quite a thrifty person in that way, but I think that’s because of years before my sort of growing up years, I didn’t really have those opportunities.

“I’m still massively thrifty, I cannot get it into my head that it’s okay to go and spend £300 on a jumper, it just doesn’t quite feel right. It’s probably because I’ve got my mum in the back of my head saying “How much??” or whatever, but it just doesn’t feel worth it almost.”

After starting to save most of her wages, Fearne set herself a target for her first big purchase:

“I kind of thought ‘right, what am I aiming for here?’ and approaching my 17th birthday it was all about a car, and a red Fiat Punto at that – that was my dream.

“I remember very clearly walking to school and seeing this rose coloured Fiat Punto, and I thought, that is the car I want – it’s cute and boxy and I like it. So, that was the one that I had my eyes set on and I really wanted it so I just put all my savings into that and I went along to a car show room with mum and dad and found the rose coloured Punto and I bought it there and then.

“It was a very specific shade of red…and for me it was kind of a bit girlie, but it was also quite a strong colour and it was quite elegant – I’m calling it elegant, it was a box Fiat Punto, but it was elegant at the time. It had a bit of sheen to it and it just felt like the right car for that kind of age and for a first car as well.

“I think the days of me and Ethel are over for good– it was a sad end to a relationship but I upgraded Ethel for a Mini Cooper back in the day and she also has been upgraded again. I did get quite attached to Ethel but now I need a family car and a Fiat Punto is not practical with children at all. So, see you later Ethel.

“Having a car was the ultimate freedom. I just remember the first time I got behind the wheel – I was in my own car, listening to music – life was good. It was a really empowering moment.”

In adult life, Fearne’s ‘do it yourself and save money’ attitude hasn’t always been cost effective though:

“I get into a bit of trouble in our house, because I’m not used to people doing things for me in the house, because I have historically done a lot of self-decorating. So, occasionally my husband will find me with a hammer and he’s like, “Where are you going?” and “What are you about to do?” and I’m like, “I’m just putting some pictures up”. “No you’re not, we’re going to get the builder to do it because you can do that now”, but I still can’t get it in my head, I think ‘well I’ll just do it and I’ll bodge it up and it will be a massive big hole in the wall and he’ll have to come out anyway and plaster the wall again’ so I do get caught out quite a lot by my husband with a hammer or a paintbrush in hand and get very quickly told to put it back again.”

In spite of the occasional DIY disaster, she does have a great attitude to money management and savings:

“My attitude to money hasn’t really changed over the years and I think that again is just really due to my upbringing and my parents teaching me a great way to save and a great way to just feel comfortable, I hate the point that you get to where maybe, like after when I bought my first flat, you feel a little bit edgy about the future and savings because you have just put a big whack of money down on something.

“I always try to have savings in the bank and I always try and just have that element of comfort. Now also, because I’m a Mum, its not about me saving up for silly things, its about really sort of creating some stability, comfort for my family, for my kid, for my step kids, and just feeling really comfortable and safe with savings.

“It’s really nice to know as well that now I am a mum and I’ve got a kid and stepkids that I can put money away in an FSCS protected account and have that safety and security there – whether it’s me saving for my first flat back in the day or me now just creating those stable foundations for a family – it’s protected.”

The full interview with Fearne is on the FSCS Protected YouTube channel.

Full disclosure: The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has made a contribution towards the running costs of this site. I’m a genuine, longstanding supporter of the non-profit work of FSCS, and there has been no editorial interference in the production of this article.

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