Are you a saver or a spender?
A true saver. I’ll never buy anything until I have the money set aside for it. This was instilled into us as young fellows.
Do you shop around for better value?
Absolutely, but it has to be coupled with quality. I’ll often buy the more expensive option based on quality and longevity.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Two items, but they’re relative – back in the day, as 17-year-old, I spent a whole week’s wages on a book on the Titanic. More recently, it’s a helicopter, and it cost plenty. However, it’s 50 years old and still worth the same as what I paid for it 11 years ago.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
A Classic car – a 1965 Corvette Stingray that has trebled in value and I get to drive it occasionally. The real joy is that I paid for it with bank shares.
How do you prefer to shop - online or local?
Always local. My business survives off local so I’m happy to give back.
Do you haggle over prices?
Unfortunately, I used to, but it costs you more in the long run. The next time around it will be marked up to bring the price down. Perceived value in reverse.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
Yes. I would be more aware of repairing or repurposing and make purchasing decisions a bit more slowly.
Do you invest in shares?
Conservatively in a pension fund.
Cash or card?
My wife does most of the personal shopping and it’s the card all the way – a sign of the times.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
My hiking boots. Best money ever spent. I’ve become an avid hiker in the last few years, even doing a three-week trek in the Himalayas, climbing to Everest base camp at 17,600ft, summiting Kala Patthar at 18,600ft, and then finally summitting Island Peak at 20,305ft. Hiking provides a great escape from work and business and lets me have a complete digital detox.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, many times.
Have you ever lost money?
Every time I buy a modern-day car. Also on our first house – we bought at the top of the boom and sold it recently for 20 per cent less.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
Not really. As a young fellow I used to go the races with my father. He was well in with the owners and trainers so I used to eavesdrop for the insider information. The few quid I got for sweets went on the horse. The arrangement made a nice profit for me and saved my father a fortune on dental fees.
Is money important to you?
Of course it’s important, but is it the most important thing to me? Nowhere close. It’s rewarding in that it’s a by-product of success in business. It’s not that long ago that I had no money and worked week to week, so I’ve seen both sides. My health, family and friends are important to me and neither family and friends care how much money I have.
How much money do you have on you now?
I have €20. Any chance of a loan?
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea