‘I set up an investment club many years ago with a bunch of friends’
Me & My Money: Michael Doorley, president, Irish Travel Agents Association
Michael Doorley: ‘Giving our five sons a good college education was our priority, and money is needed to achieve that ambition.’
Are you a saver or a spender?
I’m a bit of a hybrid. I like to know that I have a little saved and I spend casually. I don’t spend liberally. I suppose being a farmer’s son from back in the days when farming was not at the same level as today, spending was very limited.
Do you shop around for better value?
Yes, especially for large purchases such as changing my car, or house and car insurance cover, domestic gas and heating. But even for small shopping, I like to browse through different shops or stores, not just looking for value but also for choice.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
A beautiful engagement ring for my wife. I couldn’t afford the one that she spotted in an antique shop in South Anne Street, Dublin, so we clubbed our money together. I can’t remember how much it cost – it was more than 46 years ago – but I’m still in hock! The extravagance was worth every penny.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
A Nissan Juke car that I bought for my wife. I spotted it in the UK and did a quick journey over to London, bought it on the day and drove back that evening via Holyhead. I knew from that drive that she would love it – and she won’t change it for any new model.
How do you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
I like to browse online for shopping, but I mostly shop local.
Do you haggle over prices?
Yes, for the bigger purchases. I’ll shop around first, but even then, when I decide on a final supplier, I still haggle with them.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
My habits have changed to buy only what is really necessary; spontaneous buying is finished. I’ve also stopped buying more of the same article than is necessary. Previously, if I went shopping for household items, I’d inevitably bring back two of the same items, but now it is only the necessary essentials. It’s good discipline, actually.
Do you invest in shares?
Yes, I did and was lucky, but I don’t do it anymore. I had AIB and BOI shares and sold them off in the good times. I set up an investment club many years ago with a bunch of friends, just to learn about the whole shares process. We all put in €2,000 and met in a pub monthly to discuss our investments and new potential purchases. It didn’t work out, but we’re still all friends, and it was good fun while it lasted.
Cash or card?
Mostly card and a little cash in case I lose my golf match. I use my debit card even for the smallest purchase, like a cup of coffee or milk or the newspaper. It saves having to go to the ATM and the contactless process makes it an even easier process. I never overspend on my credit card. I also use my American Express corporate card for travel bookings as it builds up my air miles for future use.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
The very last thing that I bought was a takeaway meal. I tried a local Chinese for the first time on Monday; it was tasty and great value. I’m also a fan of Indian food and luckily we have a good restaurant in my town.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, for our first home. Both of us were working back then. We bought our first house for £8,500 at the time and sold it six years later for £24,500. We were helped out a little bit by my father-in-law, but we were good at putting money away together. The friendly local bank manager, who also was a keen golfer, helped to make the process easy. Oh, how times have changed.
Have you ever lost money?
I can’t remember losing cash money, but yes, I’ve lost money on some business ventures. I have travelled a lot over the years but was always careful not to have too much cash on me and to leave some in the hotel safe.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I gamble a bit on sport but not enough to get a big win – it’s just for fun and interest. I’m up about €465 on golf competitions, up € 190 on soccer. My betting on horses is based on a foreign name – if a horse has a foreign destination name and if the jockey/trainer is known, then I’ll have a flutter. So far, I’m at a loss of €320.
Is money important to you?
Yes, very, but only to enjoy life and look after my family. Giving our five sons a good college education was our priority, and money is needed to achieve that ambition. I never had a fixation with having loads of money; we don’t live extravagantly, but I have worked hard all my life to have enough money to keep a nice home and to enjoy a modest lifestyle. The future will look after itself.
How much money do you have on you now?
I have €65 – just in case I lose my next round of golf.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea