‘I lived in Denmark and it is, pretty much, a cashless society’

Me & My Money: Shane Quinlan, head of financial wellbeing, Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland’a head of financial wellbeing Shane Quinlan: ‘I’m a big believer in experiences and being able to bring the family on holidays.’ Photograph: Conor McCabe

Are you a saver or a spender?

I try my best to get the balance right but at my current stage of life with three young kids and plenty of bills, it is definitely weighted more towards spending. In my current role with Bank of Ireland, we recommend that people, where possible, apply the 50:30:20 rule to managing their finances; 50 per cent on needs (mortgage, rent, utilities), 30 per cent on wants (holidays, hobbies) and 20 per cent on savings.

Do you shop around for better value?

It really depends. Patience is not one of my strong points and I’m fairly time poor so, if I see something I need and it’s not extortionate, I usually don’t bother looking any further.


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

I don’t really do extravagance and I’m not into tech gadgets or fancy cars. I have put money aside to attend some big sporting events over the years, such as the Champions League as well as saving up for holidays to South America and New Zealand.

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

A second-hand family car that was paid off in two years and has never given us a problem in the five years since we bought it.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

Online, where possible. I don’t like going shopping because I usually lose interest after about 10 minutes.

Do you haggle over prices?

Sometimes, especially with things like holiday car rental, insurances and TV/broadband. In general, though, I usually only buy things that I really need rather than luxuries.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I lived outside of Ireland for the worst years of the recession so it didn't impact me as much as some of my friends and family. However, I definitely became more conscious of my discretionary spend during those years.

Do you invest in shares?

I have invested in shares in the past and in general had a positive experience. I need to think more about investing for my kid’s education.

Cash or card?

Card. I lived in Denmark for a few years and it is, pretty much, a cashless society so I rarely carry cash since I’ve returned to Ireland. This has resulted in a few embarrassing moments in some bars and retailers but I always manage to find an alternative.

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

I had to buy a new tyre for my car yesterday for €100. I was happy enough to pay that as it had inconveniently kept me off the road for a few days.

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

Yes. We saved the deposit for our family home, which we bought a few years ago. It felt great to get the keys after a number of years saving hard.

Have you ever lost money?

Yes. On the rare occasion I have cash laying around the house, my kids usually swipe it for their piggy bank. Great savers of the future!

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

Like many people I enjoy a small bet on the big sporting events from time to time. My biggest win was on Germany to win the Fifa World Cup in 2014.

Is money important to you?

I look at the importance of money in the context of how it can enable me to offer my family a better life. I’m a big believer in experiences and being able to bring the family on holidays or to a match to see their favourite team – money plays a part in that. I’m also a big believer in your health is your wealth, and that trumps any materialistic ambitions.

How much money do you have on you now?

Zero cash, but I always carry a debit and credit card.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea