Business Personal Finance

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Carol Decker: 'I earned more in a few years than my dad earned in his life'

My Money

Carol Decker
Carol Decker

Carol Decker is best known as the lead singer of T'Pau, which scored international success in the late 1980s. Some of the band's most successful hits include China in Your Hand and Heart and Soul.

She will be performing in the Forever Young Festival on Sunday July 7. For tickets, and more details on the festival, which runs in Naas from July 5 to July 7, visitforeveryoungfestival.ie

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The most important lesson about money which your career as a musician has taught you?

I was skint until I was in my late twenties when we got our deal - so I value money. I can still remember not being able to make ends meet. Being a musician is a precarious job. Though I eventually did quite well, I don't spend out of my means. When I first made some dosh, I bought a Mazda MX5 - not a Ferrari. It can all end tomorrow.

What's your favourite song about money?

Money don't matter 2 Night by Prince.

The most expensive country you ever visited?

I've been to a few swanky places and you can spend a fortune anywhere really - depending on what you're doing. I might say Verbier in the Swiss Alps. We had the free use of a friend's chalet but still couldn't afford the drinks and restaurants. You could kiss goodbye to £30 on a couple of cocktails

What's the most you've ever spent on musical equipment?

I don't really buy any. I have my dad's old piano.

What's the most expensive thing about being a parent?

For us, it's holidays when the children are on adult fare - and university. I am currently paying my daughter's rent and paying for her car.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

Outside of property, I don't go crazy. I don't collect art or anything exotic but what I can do is find the money quite comfortably for a new Mac, or a car, or a weekend away with a posh restaurant and a hotel.

What was your worst job?

It would have to be working in the butchery department of Tesco back in the 1980s. I had to pull the lambs' kidneys away from their carcasses, weigh them, and put them in the polystyrene container with the cling film and a sticker.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Buying a giant ancient Citroen Light 15 car which weighed two tonnes, had no power steering, and had a left-hand wooden steering wheel the size of a Ferris wheel. We then found out the guy who sold it to us did not have the right to do so in the UK, and so we had to pay a substantial import duty and beg our way out of a fine with HM Revenue and Customs.

What was your best financial killing?

Buying a three-storey Victorian house with a small garden in a scruffy part of north London in 1988 near Parliament Fields at the bottom of Highgate Hill. The area 'gentrified' as they say and it was worth a pretty penny when I sold it in 2005.

Are you better off than your parents?

God, yes. Being in T'pau and co-writing those hits was like winning the lottery. I went from being on the dole to quickly earning more money in a couple of years than my dad had probably earned in his life. I think my dad found this overwhelming.

What's the best advice you ever got about money?

Neither a lender nor a borrower be - from my dad.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes - for floods in our house. Since we moved to Henley in 2013, we've had three sets of burst pipes in our house - the pipe had been sunk into the concrete floor without any cladding and the concrete ate through the pipes. We practically had to dig the house up.

Do you ever haggle?

I try but I'm not good at taking a no - I get upset.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

My car, my wine, and my freedom to do as I please.

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