Suits you sir: Broadcaster Toby Anstis
Broadcaster Toby Anstis made a sizeable six-figure sum last year, but when he started out as a children’s BBC TV presenter in the early 1990s he was paid just £8,000.
The popular radio DJ tells Donna Ferguson he thinks pensions are ‘absolutely brilliant’, although his best financial move was getting on the property ladder in London at 21. Now 52, his home in West London is valued at £1.7 million.
Toby presents the Breakfast Show on Heart Dance Radio every morning from 7am to 10am, and club classics on Heart every Friday night, 7pm till 11pm. He is an ambassador for Asthma + Lung UK (asthmaandlung.org.uk).
What did your parents teach you about money?
Not to spend more than you earn. My parents were always responsible and careful with their money. My dad was a pretty successful lawyer, who was boss of a company in Mayfair. My mother ran a conciliation service in Windsor, helping families and children through difficult times.
We were quite lucky. Being comfortably off, it never felt like there wasn’t enough money to do things. But that said, my parents never threw their money around, they were never flash or ostentatious and they didn’t spoil their children.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yes, when I graduated from university. It was the early 90s and there was a recession, so jobs were tight. For about six months, I stayed at different friends’ places in South London and slept on people’s floors.
I got my job at the BBC by luck, the April after I graduated. I was DJing for my father’s office party and got chatting to someone who worked on Going Live, the children’s TV show. He invited me to watch it being recorded. I did, and afterwards the producer came up to me and asked me if I had ever thought of doing TV. I said, no, not in a million years. All my experience was in hospital radio.
A few days later, I was told this producer wanted a new male presenter for CBBC, and he thought I looked right and talked well. So I went for an audition. Although I was rubbish, it was laughable, they must have seen something, as I got a call offering me the job. I almost fainted. It was the most amazing day. I’ll never forget it.
How much did the BBC pay you back then?
£8,000 for a six-month contract on The O-Zone music show, which was way less than all my mates were earning. No one could believe how little I was paid. But the money didn’t matter. I got to travel around the world interviewing famous bands – it was so exciting. I was blown away by it all.
Have you ever been paid silly money?
Yes. I got a nice lump sum for doing I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I spent two weeks in the jungle, lost two stone and went slightly mad.
In terms of my best hourly rate, I did a voiceover for Nokia mobile phones where I had to read two lines off a bit of paper.
I was in the studio for about two and a half minutes and I got paid £10,000.
What was the best year of your financial life?
Last year. I was booked to play many gigs, on top of my radio work for Heart and Heart Dance. I was also on a few TV shows. In total, I earned a very good, sizeable six-figure sum.
The most expensive thing you bought for fun?
A little Mercedes SLK for £15,000. It was about five years old when I bought it, five years ago. I hardly use it because I cycle everywhere – I like to keep fit. But it’s fun to drive in the summer with the roof down.
What is your biggest money mistake?
Investing in a Bitcoin mining company after I got a ‘tip’ about it from a friend. My investment doubled in value and then it started dropping until I pretty much lost all my money. Thankfully, I only put in what I could afford to lose – about £1,000. I won’t be investing in any kind of cryptocurrency ever again.
The best money decision you have made?
Buying my first property at the age of 21. I purchased a tiny one-bed flat on the top floor of a block in West London for £60,000 in 1992. It was a 15-minute walk to TV centre. When I sold it three years later, the flat had easily quadrupled in value. So I learned very early on that property was the way to go.
Money talk: Toby in a Mail Plus podcast after his appearance on I’m A Celebrity
Do you save in a pension and invest in shares?
Yes. I have saved into a pension for about 20 years. I think pensions are absolutely brilliant. They are such a tax efficient way of saving. I’ve told my financial adviser I don’t like anything high risk – I’ve worked hard for so long, I don’t want to mess up my retirement by making a stupid investment.
Outside of my pension, I’ve got shares in Deliveroo and Soho House, a private club of which I’m a member.
Do you own any property?
I own my home in West London, which is a three-bed terraced cottage I bought for £620,000 15 years ago. I have spent about £150,000 on it and used up all my planning permission that I’m allowed. It was recently valued at £1.7 million.
I’ve also got a small buy-to-let flat around the corner, which I have had for 15 years. It is worth about £600,000.
I adore Ibiza so I’m also in the process of buying a two-bed flat on the island with a view of the sea, for £375,000.
What little luxury do you treat yourself to?
A two-day spa break at Champneys two or three times a year. I’ll have a massage, a couple of treatments, swim, eat nice food and drink loads of water. It revitalises and re-energises me.
If you were Chancellor what would you do?
I would abolish inheritance tax. It seems so unfair to take money away from a family member at such an emotional time.
Do you donate money to charity?
Yes. I’ve got asthma and I support Asthma + Lung UK. They do a lot of research into asthma and lung conditions, and pollution. They also have a dedicated helpline – I think they are doing a brilliant job. I also donate to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
What is your number one financial priority?
To make sure I can live comfortably when I’m not working any more.
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