Magician Richard Jones talks to ME & MY MONEY

Magician Richard Jones says the best financial year of his life was 2016, when he won ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent competition. 

He told Donna Ferguson he used the £250,000 prize to buy his home outright, which meant he did not panic when work disappeared overnight once the pandemic struck in 2020. 

The 31-year-old former Household Cavalry bandsman, who lives in Essex with girlfriend Ria, 30, recently became an ambassador for Spread a Smile, a charity which provides entertainment for sick children in hospital. He goes on tour in September. For more information, visit 

That’s magic: Richard Jones says the best financial year of his life was 2016, when he won ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent competition

What did your parents teach you about money? 

I was taught to always spend less than you earn, and save as much as possible. My dad was a policeman and mum was a childminder when my brother and sister and I were growing up. Money wasn’t tight. We were comfortable because my parents worked really hard. 

Have you ever struggled to make ends meet? 

Luckily, I haven’t. I did have a terrifying moment though when Covid struck in 2020. I was just about to start the biggest UK tour I’d ever done as a magician when everything got cancelled. Overnight, all the dates on my tour disappeared and so did all my corporate bookings and weddings I was booked to appear at. 

At the time I had a lot of savings, so I didn’t panic. I bought my home outright for £295,000 when I won Britain’s Got Talent in 2016, so I didn’t have a mortgage. That was a big comfort to me during the pandemic and I felt lucky and grateful I was in that situation. 

But as time went on, I started to worry quite a lot. I didn’t like living off my savings. So, about six months in, I started putting on virtual shows and my regular corporate clients started booking me to appear at their online conferences and events. Now I look back and think – the online world saved me.

Have you ever been paid silly money? 

Yes. I’m extremely fortunate that I do high profile events around the world – on private yachts in the Middle East, for example. The most I was ever paid was for a show in the Ritz Carlton in Saudi Arabia in 2019. I earned a substantial five-figure sum for a performance – I’d rather not say how much, but it worked out at roughly £1,000 a minute. 

What was the best year of your financial life? 

It was 2016, the year I won Britain’s Got Talent. It was a mind-blowing experience. As well as winning £250,000, tax-free, I started getting bookings to do corporate shows. It was obviously a really good year.

The most expensive thing you bought for fun? 

In 2018, I purchased a very flashy Lexus F Sport car for just over £40,000. It wasn’t something I really wanted. It was a car I thought people would expect me to drive, rather than a car I enjoyed driving. So earlier this year, I sold it and got a Mercedes campervan, which is much more fun. 

What is your biggest money mistake? 

Not keeping an eye on the money I was spending the year after I won Britain’s Got Talent. I was eating out pretty much every night. I was also regularly going in and out of London for events in Addison Lee taxis. I live in Essex, so each journey probably cost between £100 and £150. 

Nowadays, I usually get the train. And I enjoy it. I take a book and read.

The craziest thing you spent money on at that time? 

New shirts. After I won Britain’s Got Talent, I lived in a hotel near London Bridge for six weeks. I was busy going to and from interviews, events and TV appearances, and I didn’t have a washing machine. So I would go to the closest shop which sold white shirts for more than £100 each. Every time I needed a fresh shirt, I would buy one instead of washing the ones I already had. 

I look back now and think: what a waste of money.

The best money decision you have made? 

Investing 70 per cent of my savings in shares and investment funds in November 2020. 

As I had more time on my hands during the pandemic than usual, I researched how the stock market works. If it hadn’t been for Covid, I probably never would have tried to understand the world of investing. But I got really interested and read books about it. 

I’ve invested the majority of my money in the S&P500 Index, the 500 largest companies listed on the stock market of the United States. I’ve also invested in companies such as Apple and Tesla. I think I’ve done fairly well. Overall, I’ve seen my savings increase by around 18 per cent, although they’ve taken a hit in recent months. I see my holdings as long-term investments – and I’ll probably leave my money invested for at least ten years.

Career change: Richard Jones when he was in the Household Cavalry

Career change: Richard Jones when he was in the Household Cavalry

Do you save into a pension? 

No. That’s not something I’ve had time to look into. But it’s something I’m planning to do soon. 

Do you own any property? 

Yes, my home in Essex. It’s a three-bedroom house close to my mum and dad’s. I bought it with my winnings from Britain’s Got Talent and some money I had saved from my Army career. I had previously earned just under £30,000 a year as a Lance Corporal. 

My home has probably gone up in value from £295,000 to between £400,000 and £430,000. Being mortgage-free takes a lot of financial pressure off me. I feel lucky. 

What is the one little luxury you treat yourself to?

Coffee. On a day when I’m performing in a show, I’ll probably have five or six cups. I’m a big cappuccino lover. Each time I buy one, it costs around £4. 

If you were Chancellor what would you do first? 

I would increase funding for the NHS. I feel that people working for the NHS don’t get paid enough money for the work they do.

Do you donate money to charity? 

Yes I do, but I mainly give my time. I do hospital visits regularly on behalf of the charity Spread a Smile. It uses entertainers such as myself to go into hospitals to get seriously ill children to smile. 

I also work with Rainbow Trust which provides emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness. I’m also an ambassador for the Royal British Legion and a children’s hospice charity called Together for Short Lives. 

Plus, I work closely with Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a children’s charity which supports the families of servicemen and women who lost their lives on duty. 

For these charities, I’ll do magic for amazing kids. When I go into hospitals, I always leave feeling great. Sometimes, I’ll teach a kid a couple of tricks. It’s so rewarding the next time I visit – when the nurses tell me how that child has loved doing the magic tricks I taught them. 

What is your number one financial priority? 

I probably save 70 per cent of everything I earn. My plan is to keep doing that for at least the next 10 years. One day, I’d like to retire and not have to worry too much about money.