‘I’m one of those people who does the weekly shop in four stores’

Me and My Money: Kieran McKeown, managing director of Matrix Recruitment

Kieran McKeown: “I am definitely a gambler”

Kieran McKeown: “I am definitely a gambler”


Are you a saver or a spender?

I’m not a great saver, and I never really have been, despite advocating that every business should have a strong cash reserve to allow for planning, expansion and for a rainy day. However, with impending retirement, pension funds have certainly come to the fore and the notion of saving is now high on the priority list.

 Do you shop around for better value?

I enjoy shopping around for both small and large value items. It’s probably a terrible waste of time, but I’m one of those people who will get the weekly shop in four different stores.

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

I recently purchased my very first new car with all the bells and whistles, and I’m delighted with myself. The technology in these latest motors is amazing, and the price tag reflects that. 

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

I recently hired a landscape gardener to redesign our garden and add all the features that we’ve been coveting for many years. This investment is already paying dividends, as the garden has given us tremendous enjoyment – if only the weather was a little better. Needless to say that while I funded and supported this project, I avoided all of the hard labour involved.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I am totally into shopping local. I like to be able to see what I am going to buy and I enjoy meeting others when I’m out and about. The only things I will buy online are concert tickets. I sometimes even find that to be a bit of a chore, and I even end up paying for ticket insurance that I don’t really want.

Do you haggle over prices?

I’m not a great haggler. I might ask for a reduction on an item once, but I won’t keep asking for more. I think it’s a reflection of the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy anyone haggling with me. 

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I suppose it has taught me not to waste money on things that I don’t need. I now always check to make sure I am getting something that is worthwhile. I also try to buy Irish as often as I can. All of our businesses felt the pain in the recession, and we need to continue to support each other as much as possible.

Do you invest in shares?

I do not actively purchase shares. I leave that to the guys in the pension funds.

Cash or card?

Mainly cash for all the small purchases that I make. I cannot stand the delays at the checkout when someone has to insert a card for something that costs less than a tenner. I guess the new card “tap” feature might help. I certainly hope that it does. 

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

I bought a Karcher system to clean up the pathways at home, but I don’t know if it was good value for money, as I’ve not got around to using it.

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

This is a rarity, but I did save enough money to take the whole family (five of us) to New York for an amazing holiday where some great memories were shared. New York is where my wife and father were born.

 Have you ever lost money?

I put money into an education policy for 18 years to cover my children’s college fees. We had a minimum amount guaranteed but expected a lot more. However, there was a definite cash-in date for the policy, which happened to be in the middle of the recession, and our excess disappeared.

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

I am definitely a gambler. My father was a turf accountant, so I started early. I backed Gay Future when it won nearly 40 years ago at 10/1 in one of the great gambles and infamous wins of the time. More recently, I backed Arctic Fire at 25/1 at Cheltenham, a great thrill.

Is money important to you?

I will take a direct quote on this one from Barack Obama: “Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.”

How much money do you have on you now?

About €100, just in case a good bet comes up.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea