Me & My Money: ‘Amazon is hard to beat for convenience’

Mark Higgins, Senior MD of FTI Consulting Performance Analytics

Mark Higgins, senior managing director of the  performance analytics division at FTI Consulting. Photograph: Silver Image

Mark Higgins, senior managing director of the performance analytics division at FTI Consulting. Photograph: Silver Image

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

I used to be a spender. Over the past decade I’ve become more of a saver. I still spend, but typically after the savings quota has been squirrelled away. I’ve also become more considered on what I purchase – fewer items but higher quality. Except for property, I favour spending money that I have versus credit that I need to repay.

 Do you shop around for better value?

Yes, but I could be much better in this regard. I’m time-poor, with a busy job and a young family, so I often use this as an excuse to compromise on the “shopping around” front. My wife is far better than me, so this helps.

What has been your most extravagant purchase ever and how much did it cost?

I’ll define extravagant here as “exceeding what is reasonable”, so won’t include higher cost items, like a family home. One item that does fall into this category is a completely impractical Jaguar sports car I bought in my 20s. It cost €25,000, all of which I borrowed, and it depreciated to 20 per cent of its sale price in about three years. Great fun, though!

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

A recent example, in 2015, was when I spent two weeks in a large, beach front villa on the Med with the family. It was five-star quality, so it wasn’t cheap, but the owner had only just started renting it and wasn’t really aware of its rental value potential. I got it for less that 50 per cent of the market price and we had a fantastic family break, creating some great memories in the process.

What ways do you prefer to shop - online or local? 

It depends on the product. For most commodity items, Amazon is hard to beat for convenience, but for anything tactile I prefer bricks and mortar outlets. Plus, I like to support local businesses when I can.

 Do you haggle over prices?

Yes. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

No. My spending habits have improved since the recession, but that’s more to do with becoming a husband and father – plus a general if not overdue financial maturing.

 Do you invest in shares?

I have done and will do again. I enjoy the process, and forming a view of underlying asset value. I’m not holding much of a portfolio currently, though.

Cash or card?

Card generally, but I always like to have some cash in my pocket, too.

 What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

A coffee, and I can’t remember the price, but I badly needed the caffeine, so I’ll say yes, it was good value.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Yes, bought a new family home in 2016 (with a new mortgage), but had the deposit. Plus, my last three cars were driven off the lot without credit.

Have you ever lost money?

No. Apart from negative equity in property, and I’ll guess I’m in good company on this.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?

I’m not a frequent gambler, but I have had a few flutters in Las Vegas on the high-stakes tables and come out on top. For me, gambling is about the experience, and my general advice is to apportion an amount of money to gamble that you’re okay with losing. And when it’s gone, leave the table.

Is money important to you?

It’s not my primary motivator, but independence and autonomy matter to me and money facilitates this, so yes, it is important. Except for its use as a measure of success (if self-made) I feel its relative importance diminishes as accumulation increases.

How much money do you have on you now?

€64.