Former cricketer Matthew Hoggard has struggled to make ends meet since pandemic lockdowns destroyed his earnings.
Hoggard, who helped England win the Ashes in 2005, last year opened a barbecue cooking school, Hoggy’s Grill. The 44-year-old told Donna Ferguson that school earnings are slowing down – along with the money he usually earns from corporate entertainment and after-dinner speeches.
He lives in Leicestershire with his wife Sarah, 43, and son Ernie, 14.
Hard times: Matthew at Hoggy’s Grill, the barbecue cooking school he opened last year
What did your parents teach you about money?
Once you’ve spent it, you’ve spent it. My father was a math teacher and my mother was a lab technician. We were working more than the middle class. We did not struggle, but the money was not plentiful.
My parents planned their expenses carefully. Holidays, for example, were spent camping in the UK or France – and I loved every minute of it. I’ve learned that you don’t have to spend a lot on something to make it worth it.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Yes. The worst moment was recently, during the pandemic. Since I retired from cricket, a large portion of my income has come from corporate entertainment and after dinner speeches. It stopped for a year. On top of that, my wife and I tried to open a barbecue cooking school, Hoggy’s Grill, last year. I was going to teach people how to cook properly on barbecues, running classes and food classes at Rutland Water in the East Midlands. But, due to the pandemic, I had to shut down quite quickly.
It’s open again, but it’s been tough and we’re just crawling for now. I went from a higher rate taxpayer who could support my whole family to zero income. And I was not entitled to any government subsidy.
Fortunately we had savings and as a retired athlete I could draw on my pension. It wasn’t ideal, but of course other people were much worse. I intend to replenish my pension by running a successful business.
Have you ever been paid ridiculous money?
Yes. Dumbest money I ever made was when I got a couple thousand dollars, I think, to sit on a panel for Barratt Homes. All I did was answer a question, which took me 30 seconds. But, when I tested my mic at first, I mentioned that I was sitting at a table with the boss of a kitchen company and joked that if anyone wanted a new kitchen, he should come. He was so happy with my comment that he offered me free cooking.
What has been the best year of your financial life?
It was 2005. We managed to win the Ashes for the first time in 19 years. It meant I had a win bonus, and lots of people wanted to hire me. I won six figures and I’m sure I’m still getting contracts now because of this win.
The most expensive thing you bought for fun?
Two weeks vacation in the Maldives, when we won the Ashes. We stayed in a waterfront stilt house in a luxury resort. It cost several thousand pounds.
What’s your biggest money mistake?
Invest in film tax regimes to fund UK films. We were encouraged to invest by our financial advisor, and we did so in good faith – to the point that we borrowed money to invest. Ten years later, Revenue & Customs said we had to refund any taxes we saved.
I’d rather not say how much I was asked to repay, but I’m faced with a six-figure tax bill.
There is a big legal battle going on as to whether the scheme was legitimate or not, so I am still in negotiations as to whether I will pay for it. But it was a huge blow to my finances.
Bounce back: Matthew bowling for England in 2006
The best financial decision you’ve ever made?
Climb the property ladder at the age of 22, thanks to the money I made playing cricket. I bought a four bedroom detached house in Baildon West Yorkshire. It cost me £ 165,000 in 1998 and I sold it for £ 210,000 three or four years later.
Are you saving in a pension or investing in the stock market?
I used to save in a pension when I was earning money, and plan to do so again. I do not invest in the stock market. I don’t have the money available to do it at this time. But I might consider investing someday, if I did.
Do you own a property?
Yes, I own my house with my wife, Sarah. This is a three bedroom house in Leicestershire with wonderful views over farmland. We have a three quarter cricket net in the garden so I play a lot there with our son Ernie. We bought the house six years ago for around £ 500,000.
What is the little luxury that you like to treat yourself to?
A nice drop of Tomintoul whiskey once a week. I am fortunate enough to be an Ambassador, so I get it for free as a benefit.
If you were chancellor, what would you do?
I would quit because I’m in the wrong job. If I wasn’t allowed to quit, then I would be offering more support to people who struggled during the pandemic because they work in the arts and entertainment, and in the restaurant industry.
Do you donate money to charity?
Yes. I fundraise and am an ambassador for Rainbows Hospice in Loughborough.
What’s your number one financial priority?
To be financially stable again and operate Hoggy’s Grill.
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