Former cricketer Matthew Hoggard has struggled to make ends meet since pandemic lockdowns destroyed his income.
Hoggard, who helped England win the Ashes in 2005, opened a barbecue cookery school, Hoggy’s Grill, last year.
The 44-year-old told Donna Ferguson that takings from the school dried up – along with money he usually makes from corporate entertainment and after-dinner speaking.
He lives in Leicestershire with wife Sarah, 43, and son Ernie, 14.
Hard times: Matthew at Hoggy’s Grill, the barbecue cookery school he opened last year
What did your parents teach you about money?
Once you’ve spent it, you’ve spent it. My dad was a maths teacher and mum was a lab technician. We were more working than middle class. We didn’t struggle, but money wasn’t abundant.
My parents would plan their spending carefully. Holidays, for example, were spent camping in the UK or France – and I loved every minute of them. I learnt that you don’t need to spend a lot on something to value it.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yes. The worst time was recently, during the pandemic. Since I retired from cricket, a lot of my income has come from corporate entertainment and after-dinner speaking. That stopped for a year.
On top of that, my wife and I tried to open up a barbecue cookery school, Hoggy’s Grill, last year. I was going to teach people how to cook properly on barbecues, running courses and gourmet classes at Rutland Water, in the East Midlands. But, due to the pandemic, I had to shut down pretty quickly.
It’s now open again, but it has been tough and we’re only crawling along at the moment. I went from being a higher rate taxpayer who could support my whole family, to having no money coming in at all. And I wasn’t entitled to any grants from the Government.
Luckily, we had savings and as a retired sportsman, I could dip into my pension. It wasn’t ideal, but of course other people have been far worse off. I plan to build my pension back up again by running a successful business.
Have you ever been paid silly money?
Yes. The silliest money I ever earned was when I was paid a couple of grand, I think, to take part in a panel event for Barratt Homes.
All I did was answer one question, which took me 30 seconds. But, when I was testing my mic at the start, I mentioned I was sitting at a table with the boss of a kitchen company and joked that if anyone wants a new kitchen, to come over. He was so pleased with my comment that he gave me a free kitchen.
What was the best year of your financial life?
It was 2005. We managed to win the Ashes for the first time in 19 years. That meant I got a win bonus, plus loads of people wanted to hire me. I earned a six-figure sum and I’m sure I still get contracts now because of that win.
The most expensive thing you bought for fun?
A two-week holiday in the Maldives, around the time we won the Ashes. We stayed in a house on stilts by the water, in a luxury resort. It cost several thousand pounds.
What is your biggest money mistake?
Investing in film tax schemes to fund British films. We were encouraged to invest by our financial adviser, and did it in good faith – to the point that we borrowed money to invest. Now ten years later, Revenue & Customs has said we need to pay back all the tax we saved.
I’d rather not say how much I’ve been asked to repay, but I’m facing a six-figure tax bill.
There is a big ongoing court battle about whether the scheme was legitimate or not, so I’m still in negotiations about whether I will pay it. But it has been quite a blow to my finances.
Bouncing back: Matthew bowling for England in 2006
The best money decision you have made?
Getting on the property ladder at the age of 22, thanks to the money I was earning playing cricket. I bought a four-bedroom detached house in Baildon in West Yorkshire. It cost me £165,000 in 1998 and I sold it for £210,000 three or four years later.
Do you save into a pension or invest in the stock market?
I used to save into a pension when I was earning money, and I plan to do so again. I don’t invest in the stock market. I haven’t got the spare cash to do that right now. But I might consider investing one day, if I did.
Do you own any property?
Yes, I own my home with my wife, Sarah. It’s a three-bedroom house in Leicestershire with a beautiful view of farmland. We’ve got a three-quarter length cricket net in the garden so I play a lot there with our son Ernie. We bought the house six years ago for about £500,000.
What is the one little luxury you like to treat yourself to?
A nice drop of Tomintoul whisky once a week. I’m lucky enough to be an ambassador so I get it for free as a perk.
If you were Chancellor, what would you do?
I would resign because I’m in the wrong job. If I wasn’t allowed to resign, then I would offer more support to people who struggled during the pandemic because they work in arts and entertainment, and in the catering industry.
Do you donate money to charity?
Yes. I fundraise and am an ambassador for Rainbows Hospice in Loughborough.
What is your number one financial priority?
To be financially stable again and make Hoggy’s Grill work.
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