interviews · Money · Sunday Times

Fame and Fortune: Now I’m ready to tackle the stock market

MIKE TINDALL, the former England rugby captain, likes to take a bit of a gamble when it comes to investments. They include the racehorse Monbeg Dude, which finished seventh in the Grand National.

But with retirement from professional rugby on the horizon he is shifting his focus to the stock market.

Tindall, 35, was born in Otley, West Yorkshire. He started his career at Bath Rugby Club and made his debut for England in 2000 at the age of 21. His last international was in 2011 but he continues to play and coach at Gloucester.

In 2011 Tindall married Zara Phillips, granddaughter of the Queen. The couple live on the Princess Royal’s Gatcombe Park estate. They have a daughter, Mia, born six months ago.

How much money do you have in your wallet?
Normally at least £100, just in case.

What credit cards do you use?
I never really liked credit cards so I didn’t have one until recently. I like to spend only money I know is in my account. I have a Barclays debit card and a British Airways American Express card, which has a lot of perks. I fly quite a lot, so collecting air miles when you spend is always handy.

Are you a saver or a spender?
Both. I am very conscious about money, spending only what I have. That was always the way when I started professional rugby. Then again, if I know the money is there, I like to enjoy myself.

How much did you earn last year?
My salary is split because I’m a player-coach. I’m also an ambassador for UFXMarkets and Artemis Fund Managers. If you add all that together it’s a six-figure sum.

Back in the day I used to have endorsement deals from rugby, but now I’m getting old. I’ll wear free kit, but that’s about it.

What was your first job?
I was lucky; my first full-time job was playing rugby for Bath when I was 18. I worked a few jobs in the summer before that, for an air-conditioning company and also doing the fish-and-chip round at events.

I loved going to England cricket games, Henley regatta or York races. It was entertaining.

What’s been your most lucrative work?
The 2003 Rugby World Cup. We each got a bonus for winning it, about £75,000, I think. With England you normally get a bonus if you win the Six Nations or the World Cup, and another if you win all your games.

We could have earned more that year but we lost to France before we went to the World Cup.

Have you ever really been hard up?

No, I wouldn’t say so. However, when I first joined Bath I didn’t have a lot of money, maybe £10,000 a year. It was tight but we were lucky because the club fed us, which, considering the amount of food rugby players eat, saved a lot.

Do you own a property?
Yes. I bought my first home in Bath with my [rugby player] mate Iain Balshaw. It was a three-bedroom flat over three floors. I bought him out later and I now let it. It was worth just under £400,000 when I had it valued a few years ago.

I also let my three-bedroom flat in Dubai. I bought it for £300,000, but things have really picked up since the announcement that Dubai will host the World Expo trade fair in 2020, so there’ll be an option to sell it.

Zara and I sold our family home in Cheltenham for £1.25m. It was a five-bedroom Georgian house.

Are you better off than your parents?
I think I am better off than they were at this time in their lives.

My dad was a manager at Barclays and my mum was a social worker.

They both worked hard and retired at 60. Unfortunately you can’t do that in rugby. I have the coaching role, so there’s an option to go into that full-time when I retire.

I’d love to do more commentary on games. I’ve had some good experience and being a pundit normally works quite well with the coaching side of things.

Do you invest in shares?
I understand how shares work but I’ve looked into it only recently.

UFXMarkets provides an online course that gives you all the basics. You can look at currency pairs and stocks, which I’m starting to pay attention to. Also, my Isa and my new pension are share-based, medium to high-risk, because I like to take a little bit of a gamble.

What’s best for retirement — property or pension?
My dad helped me to set up a sporting pension at Barclays when I was 18. You can withdraw it at 35, so I’m looking around to see what I can do with that fund. I’ll probably push it into a long-term pension.

Property is normally a safe bet as well, though. Even if prices drop, it’s not by massive margins, and they tend to come back up.

What’s been your best investment?
For the return of money, and fun, it is Monbeg Dude. I bought him with a couple of friends at a charity auction for £12,000 four years ago and he’s won £120,000 in prize money since. If we sold him he’d probably be worth at least £200,000. Not bad.

And the worst?
I started my own company, Poker 52, in 2004. The idea was to have at least 52 sports people who you might not be able to beat on the field but could beat at poker. I lost about £20,000.

Do you manage your own financial affairs?
I have an accountant and also a bank manager who helps me with my pension and Isa, things like that.

What’s the most extravagant thing you have ever bought?
Probably the Dude. He was an accidental purchase, but he’s done all right for us.

What’s your money weakness?
Gadgets. I like TVs, sound systems, and a nice cinema room where it’s all wired in properly. We always upgrade quickly with tablets and smartphones.

What aspect of the tax system would you change?
I’m not that adverse to the tax system. You earn money and unfortunately you have to pay tax. If you change or make something better in one situation, you’ll probably end up making it worse in another.

What’s your financial priority?
Family, making sure we’re all right for the future. We’ve just had Mia, so school fees come into it, college, a wedding. If you can keep filling Isas each year with high-risk investments returning 10% or 15%, you should have a nice pot of cash.

What would you do if you won the lottery jackpot?
Not turn up to training.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt about money?
Enjoy it. Life comes and goes pretty quickly.

Link to article in the Sunday Times

PDF – Mike Tindall

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