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My Money… Ross King

The TV presenter on property, E-Type Jags and why he’ll never give up flying first class…

What was your first job?

I was a Saturday boy at Radio Clyde when I was 16. I was paid £10 per day, to do everything from making tea to editing. It was a great way to get experience working at a radio station. Then I started doing a midweek sport show on Wednesdays and got another £10 for that. I spent the money on Levi’s 501s — they were the thing to have at the time and built up a little collection.

What’s been your best investment?

Property. I’ve been really fortunate over the years. I was 19 when I bought my first place — a four-bedroom house in Bearsden in Glasgow. At that time I was working on Radio Clyde and also doing DJ gigs. Then a couple of years later, I moved to London and bought a flat in Earl’s Court. Everyone thought I was mad. I now live in Los Angeles, where I own two houses.

What would be your money-no-object purchase?

An E-Type Jaguar — but now there’s a company that sells classic E-types, which have been refitted with modern engines, so I’d have one of those.

What luxury wouldn’t you give up?

Business or first-class travel — I travel so much and I’m ridiculously used to being first on the plane. I once went from LA to the UK for one day just to see the first Take That reunion gig in Glasgow. I was working at an American TV station and they wouldn’t give me time off so I got on a plane, went to the gig, saw the boys after, and got on another plane and came back. I also like travelling around the US now I live here — I try to see as much of it as I can. I love Hawaii and Mexico.

What’s been your biggest financial regret?

When I was first thinking of buying a house, I was told only to spend the money I wouldn’t miss each week — and I was doing a few gigs a week so said I wouldn’t miss all that money. So the person I was talking to said to buy a house for £40,000, which I could afford, but I really should have spent more money. I would have struggled a bit, but the value of the house would have been much greater.

Are you a spender or a saver?

A bit of both. When I’m out with my friends, there’s always a fight over who is first to pay the bill — my parents taught me to be generous but then my friends are generous, too. As you get older, you realise how important it is to save — especially when you’re self employed.

Do you consider yourself savvy with your finances?

I have a business manager and dabble a bit with stocks and shares, but I’m on top of it and know where all my money is. Hopefully I won’t be one of these people who get ripped off by their accountant. As a freelancer, you have to be aware of what you’re earning and where it’s going. I hear so often from business managers about how irresponsible some of their clients are. They don’t seem to realise how much of a percentage their managers and agents are getting and some people love having an entourage — and that costs a lot of money.

What was your last impulse purchase?

An expensive watch. I love watches. It’s an interesting market to be involved in — if you choose wisely you can do well with watches. There are certain watches that won’t go down in value, and you know you’ll always be able to sell them. I saw this watch in a shop and bought it. But I think I’d subliminally seen it in a magazine and it lured me in.

Cash or card?

I use an American Express card and then pay the whole thing off at the end of the month — so it’s really a charge card. And since I live in Los Angeles, I use money for tipping as that’s quite a big thing and parking is all done with cash as well.

Ross King presents showbusiness coverage on Good Morning Britain and Lorraine. Ross receives an MBE on July 3