Music and performing was an important part of our family. She also taught me to trust my intuition; it was almost like The X-Files when she had this feeling that something good or bad was about to happen. Dad was a GP and a respected member of the local community. When I went out on calls with him, I used to see how grateful the patients were, so that taught me the value of giving and service to other people.
From an early age, music was like an alternative reality to me and the sounds were characters. I also regularly did "bob-a-job" stints with my brother and sister, doing odd jobs for the locals and then donating the money to a charity, like the Red Cross or St John's Ambulance. I was also generously given two shillings pocket money a week, which I'd spend on chocolate or a model aeroplane from Woolworths.
Are you a saver or a spender?
A saver, because I'm very, very careful with money. The reason is that I went from being penniless and living in Tottenham, where I recorded the demo for Tubular Bells, to the other extreme afterwards.
I was so poor, to my shame I remember walking past my local greengrocer and shoving a potato in my pocket just so I'd have something to eat. And then when Tubular Bells came out, I was massively successful and I thought I wouldn't have to worry about money any more. But with success comes all sorts of problems.
The tax rate was horrendously high in the Seventies, and the royalties, especially those from abroad, took years to filter through. So even though Tubular Bells was a worldwide number one album, I had to ask to be put onto the Virgin payroll at £25 a week and to get luncheon vouchers to use in cafeterias for a free lunch. Then when the first million came in, I remember having to pay £860,000 in tax. Can you believe it?
What did you do in those circumstances?
Richard Branson provided me with an accountant and a lawyer, who both told me to go and live abroad. The thought of leaving my country then was too much to bear, so I stayed and with the £140,000 left I bought a house in Gloucestershire for £80,000 and built a studio with the rest.
Slowly the royalties began to trickle in so I could cover my day-to-day expenses. I did become a limited company to offset some of my expenses. I had to really train myself to think and act like an accountant. For instance, at the end of a three-month tour I'd aim to have made a £150,000 profit, of which half would go towards corporation tax. Tour after tour, I started to build up my savings and put some of it on the money market to help grow it further. It's taken 40 years of my professional life to build up my bank balance, little by little.
Did you make mistakes along the way?
I made a very big mistake on my first large-scale tour. When I went on the road I wanted to have every single safeguard that it would go off without a hitch, so I took 80 people and masses of equipment. When I got the final bill at the end I was very deep in debt, so I had to do a deal with the record company that I could pay it back over 10 years. You can be sure, the next time around I was a lot more careful.
But there was actually a period in the late Seventies when I thought I wasn't going to make it. There's an assumption that when you're famous you're automatically super-rich, so there are always people floating around looking to take advantage. The golden rule I've had is that whenever I need something, whether for work or personal stuff, I get quotes from three companies and always let them know they're in competition with the others to provide the best package.
Is there anything you hate about dealing with money?
Luckily I have a good accountant and lawyer now, but it's all the mountains of paperwork I have to handle to keep my affairs in order. It's almost like it's designed to keep the knowledge in the hands of a select group.
What has been your best business decision?
It's a bit complicated, but it was actually to wait in releasing Tubular Bells II. I hadn't read the contract thoroughly that I'd signed with Virgin when I was 19, which was for six albums and then an option for another four. I didn't realise how long that was going to take.
Towards the late Eighties I started thinking about making a sequel to Tubular Bells because no one had ever done a sequel to a piece of music, only movies. Then my original contract got extended by another three albums because the royalty rate was even better.
So I did my 13 albums in 17 years and at the end I felt like I'd been released from a prison sentence. I was in a fondue restaurant in Switzerland on New Year's Eve when I realised I was free. So I went shopping for a manager, a record company, a producer, Trevor Horn, and the sequel went in at number one.
Do you prefer to pay by cash, credit card or debit card?
Well, whatever Amazon takes, I use it. I do pretty much all my shopping on Amazon, apart from the basics that I can get easily in the local area. Because we're very near to the US and I have a mailing address in Florida, they get sent there and then a shipping agent forwards them on to me. I end up buying lots of model helicopters or toys for the boys on it. It can be a bit of a shock when I get the bill at the end of the month, but I don't have any real extravagances.
Do you invest in stocks and shares?
Not after a particular unfortunate mistake. Twenty years ago I had about £1m that I was looking to invest and then suddenly I got a panicked call from my accountant saying: "The pound is going to fall against the dollar!" So I went and sold all my pounds and turned them into dollars, only to get a follow-up call from my accountant saying: "Oops, my mistake."
Cue another panic and I ended up losing thousands trying to stem my losses. I never dealt with him again. I now have an accountant back in England and a local lawyer. I've been lucky with houses, though; whenever I've moved I've always made some sort of profit.
What sort of tipper are you?
They always add the tip here on the bill, but I top it up as well, so I'm a pretty good tipper. Because the economy in the Bahamas depends on the tourism industry, the level of service is really good.
Do you bank online?
Oh yes, I definitely do it, but the only thing is these blasted little security fobs that you have to keep keying in. I used mine so much that the battery ran out so I had to go and find a replacement locally. But I guess having the extra security is good.
What are your financial priorities?
Well, luckily, the royalties from all my various bits of music help pay for my life, as I get paid every time they get used in a show or in an ad. I feel like the luckiest person alive. Being involved in the London Olympics last year has also given me a new lease of life.