On cue: Dennis Taylor is crowned world champion in 1985
Snooker champion Dennis Taylor will never forget the day he potted the black against Steve Davis in the 1985 World Championship and made £60,000 in just ten seconds.
Taylor, the son of a lorry driver, grew up in a two-bedroom terrace house with his six siblings in Northern Ireland and now lives in a six-bedroom country house in Wales with a river running through it and a three-arch bridge.
He reveals he once bought himself a £60,000 BMW 750 just for fun and says his biggest luxury nowadays is playing golf twice a week.
It was appearing on Pot Black, the TV show, in 1975 which transformed his fortunes and turned him into the well-known professional snooker player he is today.
But he has never forgotten how it feels to have to scrimp and save. He says if he were Chancellor of the Exchequer he would make sure no one would have to use their life savings to pay for care in old age.
Aged 69, he lives in North Wales with his wife Louise, 52, and their son Cameron, 13, and 11-year-old daughter Amber.
What did your parents teach you about money?
To try and save a little bit. I was brought up in Coalisland, a little town in Northern Ireland. We did not have a great deal of money. My dad was a lorry driver and my mum stayed at home to look after us kids. With seven children, she did not have much of a chance to do anything else. We lived in a small two-bedroom house with an outside toilet. When I was very young, I used to share a bed with my brother and a bedroom with two of my sisters. In those days, that was quite common. Then when I was 12, we moved into a four-bedroom council house. It was like heaven.
What was the first paid work you ever did?
Selling ice cream in the local cinema at the age of 13. I had to walk around with an ice cream tray around my neck. I cannot remember how much I made, but it was not a lot – maybe £2 a week. Any money I managed to save from my part-time job I would spend playing snooker. There was a local pub with just two snooker tables in it, and you had to pay to play if you lost. So I learned quickly how to win.
Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?
Passion: Dennis plays golf twice a week in summer
I did not have much money but I always had enough to pay my bills. I left school at 15 and got a job at the pipeworks. I would set the pipes into an extremely hot stove to dry out. It was a tough job, especially in the summer. With overtime, I must have worked more than 60 hours a week and took home just over £5.
How did you turn your fortunes around?
I took a big risk. In 1974, I decided to pack in my job as the manager of a snooker club and paid my own way to go and play in the Canadian Open Championships. I was married with two young children by then and had just £200 in the bank. That was all the money I had in the world and I spent it going to Canada. But I managed to get to the final and thanks to my performance, I got invited to play on Pot Black, the TV series which helped to make snooker what it is today. I never had any money worries again after that.
Have you ever been paid silly money for a job?
Yes, when I knocked that final black in against Steve Davis to win the World Championship in 1985. It took me ten seconds to pot that black, and I won £60,000, which would be like winning £172,000 today. Later that year I made silly money again when I won the World Grand Prix and picked up another £40,000.
What was the best year of your life in terms of the money you made?
It was 1986. In just five weeks, I won around £180,000 playing in different tournaments around the world. That was an awful lot of money back then – the equivalent of half a million pounds today.
What is the most expensive thing you have ever bought, just for fun?
A dark blue BMW 750, which I bought in 1986 for £60,000. I never dreamt I would be able to afford a car like that. My first car cost me £15 and I drove it for years.
Taylor says if he were Chancellor of the Exchequer he would make sure no one would have to use their life savings to pay for care in old age
What is the biggest money mistake you have ever made?
I have not made any big mistakes. I am generally very careful. But I once had a tip from a friend to invest in a company that meant I lost £2,000. It was supposed to float and it did not. That put me off investing.
What is your best money decision?
Spending that £200 I had in the bank and going to Canada to play snooker in 1974. Otherwise, I have played things pretty safe in my life. But I think at some stage you have to take a risk if you want to be successful at what you do. I wanted to get to the top of snooker.
In any walk of life, people get into a comfort zone in their jobs and many are quite happy being there. But the ones who get to the top are the ones who take risks.
Do you save into a pension or invest in the stock market?
Property: Taylor owns a holiday apartment near a golf course in Spain and a buy-to-let property in the UK
No, not for many years. I used to invest my money in both pensions and the stock market from the mid-1980s. I took professional advice and then just left everything in the hands of my financial adviser.
Do you own any property?
Yes. I live in a six-bedroom house in a little village in North Wales. I have lived here for 30 years. It has an acre and a half of garden and a river runs through it, with a three-arch bridge over it. If someone had told me that I would be living in a place like this when I bought my first house, a two-bed terrace in Blackburn with an outside toilet, I would not have believed them. I have also got a holiday apartment near a golf course in Spain and a buy-to-let property in the UK. I wish I owned more rental properties.
How much did your first house cost?
It was £950 in 1971. I was 22 years old and already married. We took out a £650 mortgage to buy it and spread it out over 15 years. Seems ridiculous now.
What is your one little luxury that you like to treat yourself to?
Playing golf. It is a passion for me. I will play a couple of times a week in the summer. I must spend a couple of grand a year on golf.
If you were Chancellor of the Exchequer, what is the first thing you would do?
I would make sure that people who have saved all their life and then have to go into a nursing home do not have to sell everything they have worked hard for to pay for their care.
Do you think it is important to give to charity?
Yes. It makes you realise how lucky you are. Charities often ask me to help them raise money and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to do so.
What is your number one financial priority?
My family. I learned that when I filmed the reality television programme The Real Marigold Hotel last year. As I went around the world to places such as India and Thailand, I realised your whole life is about your family and so my top financial priority is making sure they are looked after and secure.
Three of my kids are in their 40s now but the other two are still quite young. I like knowing my children will never want for the things I did not have as a child.