Money Matters – John Foster

Name: John Foster

Age: 45…(honest)

Job: Freelance radio presenter, voiceover, event host and media trainer at

Tees Life: Money make you happy?

John Foster: I thought having a well-paid job with a comfortable amount of money would but it doesn’t. As I’ve got older and the kids have come along, yes cash is important to make sure they have the basics  but true happiness comes from seeing them smile and having fun and you don’t need vast amounts for that.

TL: First paid job?

JF: I’ve always been in radio from the age of 14 starting at hospital radio at, what was then, South Cleveland Hospital and at the age of 15 I managed to get a ‘Saturday job’ at BBC Radio Cleveland on the sports programme. I worked from 1-5pm for the sum of £4.  It was paid cash and they only ever had £5 notes.. so I always had to make sure I had a £1 on me. ‘You got a pound, John?’ was always the first question from the sports editor, John Allard.

TL: Best Financial Tip?

JF: I’ve got two!

  1. If you haven’t got it, don’t spend it! I grew up in the age of the credit card and I did go a bit daft with it. I remember seeing the credit card statement come through the door and I didn’t open it, it went straight in the files. I was trying to fool myself it would go away… The day of reckoning came and it wasn’t nice. I thought the bank wouldn’t help me but a lovely lady at Lloyds Bank in Middlesbrough was just great. Thank You
  2. If you’re self-employed, put enough aside for tax. The HMRC, they come… they coming to your town!

TL: Saver or a spender?

JF: I’m a lot more frugal now because of wild days earlier! Other factors are having children. I think that’s a real wake up call to your spending habits and because I left a well-paid job at the BBC through health issues, I’ve gone freelance and trying to build a business from scratch takes some time.  Anna, my wife is an absolute rock and I couldn’t have done the last 12 months without her.

TL: Drain on resources?

JF: Childcare, without a doubt. We moved to Yorkshire in 2014 and up until 2016 both our children were in nursery and the fees are BIG! Our eldest is now at school and the youngest will be joining him in September. The nursery has been fantastic for them and we were very lucky to find such a fabulous one near us so wouldn’t change anything.

TL: Done anything for money, you wish you hadn’t?

JF: No…. I’ve done things where I thought I should have been paid more. When I was young I said ‘yes’ to everything that was offered, then you find out what other people get paid. Maybe it would’ve been good to hold out for a better fee?

TL: Most you’ve splashed out on a single item?

JF: BC (Before Children) Anna and I loved to travel and explore new places, so we have been very lucky to have been able to facilitate this. Australia, Hong Kong, Maldives, lots of places in America. We went to the UAE for a wedding anniversary stayed in Oman for a couple of days and then to Dubai. As a massive treat we booked ONE night at the Burj Al Arab. To this day I don’t know the cost exactly but we had dinner etc and I believe there wasn’t much change out of £1,000. Has to be said we were the first to check-in that, last to check out and we didn’t leave the hotel at all!! You can take the boy out of Middlesbrough but………

TL: Biggest financial mistake?

JF: Selling my house in Sedgefield when I did. Six –nine months later it had nearly doubled in price. I had a very low mortgage. DOH!

TL: Best Investment

JF: Where we live now in West Yorkshire, I have a proper man cave which has been made into a little studio. A lot of the kit has come from radio stations which have upgraded so it’s been little or no cost to me. I’ve presented radio shows from here and recorded voiceovers too. Within five minutes of a production company ringing asking if I can do an advert, say in Australia, I can be on the microphone talking to them and doing the job. The technology is amazing and from having a 200 mile commute every-day I can now walk downstairs and make a coffee while the file is sending. It’s definitely paid for itself.