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Money lessons from Chesney Hawkes

Published 21 May 2015 by

Chesney Hawkes might have hit the big time with his number one single ‘The One and Only’ in 1991, but he ended up spending all the money he made, and getting into a whole lot of debt too.

He revealed all to journalist Donna Ferguson from The Telegraph: “My income started to dry-up a couple of years after I had the big success with The One and Only. My record label dropped me, and I’d been spending way too much money. I remember buying all my family a car, a studio… I wasn’t very sensible about money. I’d bought a house in West London and I was at a point where I couldn’t afford to even pay the mortgage. I was only about 23 at the time.

“I missed a couple of payments, but I wasn’t in danger of losing the house. It was more that I was in the red with the bank I got myself into an overdraft situation. I was probably £20,000 in debt at the worst point.

“A friend of mine took over a room, which helped to pay the mortgage. It was a lifesaver. And then I started writing songs for other people and got a publishing deal, which got me out of the hole. Not long after that, in 1995, I met my wife. She came from a different background. Her dad was in the banking business. She was a bit more sensible.”

What can this teach us?

If you’re struggling with your bills and overspending, maybe you could take a leaf out of Chesney’s book. The first thing is to be realistic about your money situation. You need to draw up a budget and look at how much money you have coming in and how much money you have going out. Focus on paying priority bills – like your mortgage or rent – to ensure that you keep a roof over your head.

Can I do what Chesney did?

If you own your property and are interested in renting out a room in your home to a lodger, the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme lets you earn up to a threshold of £4,250 per year tax-free, which could prove to be really handy if money’s tight.

Chesney also got himself out of trouble by looking for new work opportunities. If you want to retrain or change jobs, why not head over to our Jobs’ section for advice and support?

Is there any other help?

If you find managing your money is difficult, then you might benefit from opening a thinkmoney personal account. Our Money Managers can help you to budget and plan ahead, and there’ll be no unexpected bank charges for missed or late payments. There’s no chance of you racking up a huge overdraft like Chesney either, as our account doesn’t have an overdraft facility.

Image credit: Helga Esteb/