Wealth Management: How They Spend it

What do the seriously wealthy spend their cash on, and who do they trust for advice? Tara Craig asked four of MT's Top 100 Entrepreneurs to reveal their attitude to money and what use they put it to.

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

CHEY GARLAND

Garland, 50, started her first business when she was 23, with £600 of savings. In 1997, she launched CJ Garland & Co, her Hartlepool-based call-centre operation. Today, it has 3,000 staff, a range of blue-chip clients and a turnover of £43m a year.

Money comes with success, and everything depends on how you use both the success and the money. I've always ploughed a lot of money back into the business - I managed to grow it from a one-man-band start-up to quite a big business by constantly reinvesting profits.

I've never regretted my financial success. I have twin 14-year-old sons, and have been able to give them a good education. We have a beautiful house in North Yorkshire, with a fantastic garden, and we enjoy nice holidays. We're still a very down-to-earth family, with friends from all walks of life. My ordinary start in life keeps me grounded, though I enjoy a glass of good champagne - Veuve Clicquot, of course [she won the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year award in 2005].

I've changed, but it's the passage of time that has changed me, rather than wealth. I don't think my attitude towards risk has changed. I still take risks, but I'm not cavalier. We have a superb financial director and a very open culture at the company, so I'm able to bounce ideas off both colleagues and family.

I value money. I'll still keep a car for six years. And as my mum says: "Shrouds don't have pockets".'

MICHAEL CLARE

Clare, 52, refers to Dreams, his 150-store chain of bed shops, as his 'fifth child'. Dreams made a £7m profit on £140m of sales in 2006 and is now Britain's leading bed specialist.

- Suddenly coming into money can be a problem, as people lurch from one lifestyle to another, but I've built up my wealth incrementally over the last 20 years. You have to know how to handle money - people begin to look at you in a different way when you're well off.

I like reinvesting in other businesses, particularly start-ups. I believe that people with dreams need money to get started. I take greater risks with money now than when I had less. I've become more philosophical - not all investments will work. I speak to high-net-worth advisers for financial know-how, but I also tend to discuss business on a less formal basis with friends who've got a bob or two. It's good to see what they do, how they work.

Most of my money is tied up in the business. I'm educating my children, and we're hoping to buy an apartment on The World this year, so that we can join the ship whenever we want to. One of my family extravagances is relatively cheap. When we go to the cinema on Sundays, we book not only our own seats, but also those in front, so that we can be sure of a good view.

Success hasn't changed my attitude to money. I'm very much driven by looking after the pennies, and everyone knows it.'

PENNY STREETER

Ambition24Hours, wholly owned by Streeter and her family, provides staff across the social-care sector. The agency has 19 UK branches and has moved into South Africa, where Streeter, 40, spent her childhood. Profits were £6.8m in '04-'05.

- I don't regret my financial success - not for a second. It has given me further opportunities to grow. Providing for my children has always been a driver. Money has been a blessing in that it has allowed me to indulge them. In hindsight, that may be a bad thing!

I like to live somewhere nice, to have a nice house, to drive a nice car. And as a woman, I like to have new clothes. I'm not hugely materialistic, but money allows me to divide my time between South Africa and England.

I don't ask family or friends for financial advice. I speak to my management team, particularly my finance director. Financial success hasn't changed my attitude towards risk. I have one business failure behind me, so I feel that you should never go into anything unless you are 100% sure that it is going to succeed. I do my research very, very carefully before moving into anything new.

One of my sales team asked whether I was aiming to be the richest person in the graveyard. But I am driven by the need to do better than other entrepreneurs. I get restless after a couple of days relaxing at home.

Where I'm concerned, a pound is definitely still a pound.

BHARAT SHAH

Kenyan-born Indian Bharat Shah, 58, and his family built Sigma Pharmaceuticals from a single pharmacy in Watford into a £73m business making generic drugs.

Being an Indian, I've always believed that money came to me because somebody up there was looking after me. This is typical of Indian culture. Few Indian entrepreneurs will admit that they are wealthy because of something they've done - like me, they will all say: "Somebody up there is looking after me."

Money has allowed me to educate my children, but now that they've grown up, I will spend more on travelling. I want to see exotic places, places that people don't generally get to see, like China, Russia and Mongolia. But I want to travel like an ordinary tourist. Luxury is for me important only to a certain extent - it's not the most significant thing in my life. Again, this is because I'm Indian. For us, flaunting wealth would set us apart from the rest of the community. That's not a good thing.

This is very much a family business, so my relatives are my first port of call when I need financial advice. They usually say: "Fine, but could you run it past the accountant?" Our accountants have been with us since the beginning - they're a family firm, like us, and have grown in the same way. We have a shared ethos.

I don't think wealth has changed me - although perhaps others should be the judge of that - but there is a danger of taking money for granted. It's a struggle for me to believe "I worked for it, therefore I deserve it". I'm much more inclined to think: "Watch it, Bharat, you've got to earn what you spend." I'm a great believer in not spending beyond your means.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Subscribe

Get your essential reading delivered. Subscribe to Management Today