Relationships expert Annabelle Knight tells ME & MY MONEY how investing in training paid off: ‘I earned £950 in an hour… to say what TV stars might be like in bed’
Focus: Annabelle Knight invested £9,000 in her studies
The best financial decision that relationships expert Annabelle Knight ever made was to invest in herself and her career.
Knight tells Donna Ferguson that the thousands of pounds she spent on student fees, gaining her psychosexual and couples’ counselling qualifications, was money well spent.
Knight, 37, who regularly appears on TV shows talking about relationships, is a bestselling romantic novelist. She lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband Matthew, 42, a filmmaker. Her latest book, The Matchmaker’s Match, is out now.
What did your parents teach you about money?
To save as much as you can. Neither of my parents came from particularly wealthy backgrounds, so saving was always encouraged. My mum was a stay-at-home mother and my dad was a builder who worked as a one-man band. We were a working-class family and I was taught to be careful with money. The phrase ‘waste not, want not’ was definitely heard in our house when I was a kid.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yes. When I was in my 20s, I was studying to be a couples coach while working part-time as a freelance presenter doing in-house corporate videos and hosting conferences. Often, I wasn’t paid, but instead I would receive copies of what I had done for the showreel. I also did promotional modelling. At one point, during a heatwave, I got a job standing around at Oxford Circus in London, handing out leaflets for free drinks at nightclubs dressed as a mermaid.
Have you ever been paid silly money?
Yes. The silliest was when I was paid £950 by MTV to write a couple of sentences about the faces of each of the cast members of reality show Geordie Shore. Each of them had pulled a ‘sexy pose’ during a photoshoot and I had to use these photos to give insights into their personalities and say what they might be like in the bedroom.
It’s called face mapping. It was all tongue-in-cheek and it took me just under an hour to do it. I closed my laptop, looked at the time and couldn’t believe I’d earned nearly £1,000 – and I really loved doing it.
What was the best year of your financial life?
It was 2018, the year my first novel, The 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 pay cheque, it was substantial. Way more than I’d ever thought I’d earn. When I first started writing the novel, I never thought I’d get a publisher. But it got to number one on the Amazon romance chart. That was such an amazing feeling. To make money out of it as well – I couldn’t ask for anything more.
What is the most expensive thing you bought for fun?
A pair of stiletto Louboutins for £700 after my book came out. They are coloured nude with the Louboutin red sole. I bought them to say ‘well done’ to myself, but I got them second-hand off eBay because I’m a bargain hunter. I wear them on special occasions.
What is your biggest money mistake?
I wouldn’t say I have made any catastrophic money mistakes, but I almost did. I nearly bought a house right before lockdown. We were due to exchange and complete at the end of March 2020. But the chain fell through because of the pandemic. My husband, who works in the film industry, and I would have tripled the size of our mortgage if that sale had gone through. That would have left us financially stretched over lockdown when neither of us could work for a while.
Star quality: Annabelle Knight (centre) has appeared on the ITV television programme Loose Women
Do you save into a pension or invest in the stock market?
No. I have a two-bedroom, semi-detached buy-to-let house in the Midlands which I bought with an inheritance 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 now it’s worth around £120,000. I have no pension. I’m risk-averse and I don’t know enough about stocks and shares to invest right now.
Do you own any other property?
Yes, my home in a little village in Nottinghamshire. We bought it at auction for around £70,000 when it was a derelict barn. With my dad’s help, we renovated it and turned it into a three-bedroom house. It’s probably now worth more than £300,000.
What is the one little luxury you treat yourself to?
I like a sports massage from my friend Vikki. They cost £45 a time and I have one or two a month. I sleep better because of them and feel more comfortable writing at my desk.
If you were Chancellor what is the first thing you’d do?
I would put more money into mental health services. They are currently underfunded and that is short-sighted because so many problems – including many physical health issues that cost the NHS money – could be avoided if you looked after people’s minds.
Do you donate money to charity?
Yes, I donate to several animal charities.
What is your number one financial priority?
To buy a bigger house in a better location. I feel we’ve outgrown the current one and want to move closer to London for work.