Millionaire who spends £20,000 on holidays a year and a single mother who's left with £5 at the end of the month discover an unexpected bond as they swap lives on Rich House, Poor House
A self-made millionaire and a single-mother-of-two bonded over their similar family histories as they swap lives for a TV experiment.
Property developer Immanuel Ezekiel and his daughter Chelsea, 29 and son Joel, 22, from North London, swap houses, lives and budgets with Amy Impey, Stacey, 17 and Brandon, eight on Channel 5's Rich House, Poor House.
School cook Amy and her two children, from Hertfordshire, struggle to make ends meet on £140 a week, which includes paying for gas and water, and sometimes end the month with only £5 in the bank,
Meanwhile, Immanuel lives in a three-bedroom penthouse and enjoys a disposable income of £1,225 a week.
But in spite of their different circumstances, the families realise they're not so different after a week spent living in each other's shoes.
Immanuel built his own property empire from scratch, and now enjoys a life of luxury, spending up to £20,000 on holidays per year and buying designer clothes.
However, he's also been through some tough times after losing it all during the 2007 financial crisis and a nasty divorce from Joel and Chelsea's mother.
This separation strained Immanuel's relationship with his daughter Chelsea, who didn't speak to him for two years, but they have since reconciled.
Turning over millions thanks to his business, the father is left with a disposable income of £1,200 a week after tax and bills.
He admits he 'wants for nothing,' and only works six months a year to make his fortune, spending the rest of his time spent on holidays and relaxing.
Because he's had to bounce back and reinvent himself, the father-of-two, says he's built resilience, and hopes the house and budget swap will do the same for his children.
'What I hope to get from this week is just regrounding myself and my children, for them to really see what a great life they have and not take it for granted,' he says.
'Because I've had difficult periods before, I've had some tools to work through that process and I want them to have the same.'
Meanwhile, Amy admits she's a bit overwhelmed by trying to look after her children and running her house, which she rents.
However, Amy is a self-describe bargain hunter who hunts at car boot sales and knows how to be savvy with her money.
She dreams of buying a house for herself and her children, but cannot afford it.
On top of her financial hurdles, Amy went through a painful breakup from Brandon's dad in Christmas 2018, and the family is still reeling from the separation.
The single mother says she is 'living day-by-day,' and admits being on her own 'does hurt.
She hopes the house swap will help her 'find out' who she is.
As the two families settle into each other's routines, the financial discrepancies become evident to both parties.
Eight-year-old Brandon, who loves cars, is particularly impressed by the fact that Immanuel owns a Ferrari, and is equally amazed by the kitchen's electric bin.
Meanwhile, the father-of-two's wardrobe is so fancy, it leads Amy to wrongly believe he must be working in showbiz.
On the first day of the swap, dedicated mother Amy decides to spoil the children with a trip to London, visiting Oxford Street and Buckingham Palace for the first time.
Meanwhile, Immanuel adapts to Amy's tight budget by staying in and enjoying a free workout in the garden to keep up with his fitness.
In order to test his children's budgeting skills, he sends them on a food shopping mission at the local supermarket.
He hands them £56 to buy food for the whole week and warns them they can't go over budget.
'I'm starting to realise the life for the poorest ten per cent,' he says in an aside to the camera, 'They have to think about everything they do with their money.'
'Hopefully over the years I've taught them the value of money and how to budget when they need to,' he adds.
Joel and Chelsea do him proud when the shop comes in at £46.
They also meet Amy's brother, Immanuel who tells them about the tough separation from her former partner.
'It's a similar story to my family, but the difference is we don't have to worry about money,' observes Immanuel.
'If you need help, the best thing is asking for help, showing vulnerability,' he adds, suddenly tearing up.
Rob also tells them that Amy would love to buy a house, but cannot afford it for the time being.
The Ezekiels decide to help any way they can, and start by helping renovating Brandon's room.
With the money they have left, the Ezekiels head to car boot sale where they focus on finding cheap furniture for Amy's home.
They buy a chest of drawers for Stacey and a cabinet for Brandon's room, as well as a bin for the kitchen.
He also does some research online, and finds a government scheme offering 50 per cent returns on every pound saved through the month, for which Amy qualifies for.
When the two families eventually meet, Ezekiel shares a sweet moment with Amy, who breaks down in tears.
Immanuel tells the mother-of-two: 'It wasn't easy to live how you live. But we were pleasantly surprised.
Chelsea chimes in: 'We can all understand and relate to you being a single mother with your kids.'
When Amy tears up, Immanuel offers a sympathetic hand and says: ' You must be proud of yourself already, you're doing an amazing job already.'
'I'm fighting every single day,' the single another says through tears.
Immanuel offers to help her so that she can make her dream of buying a house come true and Amy is very grateful.
'I know where I wanna go, I'd love to have the help,' she says.
The Ezekiel and Amy then toast to 'new friendships' as Amy cheers up.
Reflecting on the experience, Immanuel says: 'I think both Chelsea and Joel have grown over the last week, seeing just how little somebody can live on and how much of a struggle they can have.'
'If you're not happy with where you're at now, it's gonna be very difficult to be happy wherever you're actually at,' he adds.
Amy says the experience wasn't about money or budgeting, and that she realises she needed to show her children she cared about them.
'I believe that money can enrich your life but doesn't buy happiness,' she concludes.
Rich House, Poor House aired Thursday 7th Nov 2019 on Channel 5 at 9pm.
Above article courtesy of Daily Mail