‘I think cash is a thing of the past’
Me & My Money: Harry Parkinson, managing director of Convertibill
Are you a saver or a spender?
It’s a bit of a cliche but I would say I’m both. When I’m determined to purchase something, I will save for it; yet at the same time nothing cheers me up more than spending money on my family and on holidays, cars and clothes.
Do you shop around for better value?
If I like something I will pay for it. I am not great at shopping around – with the exception of insurance. Without fail, if you compare prices you will most certainly receive a better deal at renewal, even if it’s just to force your existing insurer to lower their price.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Apart from a holiday home, I purchased my prize possession – an Aston Martin DB9 at a cost of £145,000.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I bought a two-year-old CLS Diesel Mercedes, which is now 10 years old and has over 200km on the clock. It runs like a complete dream, costing me relatively nothing in repairs and servicing. It truly is a workhorse and I am hoping to get another 100km before I sell.
How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
I’m not a great shopper and I’m well looked after by my wife. During Covid-19, she undertook all food and clothes shopping for the entire family.
Do you haggle over prices?
I enjoy haggling over prices, and when I was in Moroccan souks, it was great fun driving down the prices.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
From a social aspect, it has changed beyond recognition, as my wife and I would have dined out every week and taken a weekend break once a month. All of that has stopped, but I’m looking forward to starting again!
Do you invest in shares?
I did when I was in my 20s. I’m showing my age, but when they privatised Northern Ireland Electricity, followed by British Telecom, it got me started. I then invested in a goldmine, and the shares trebled in three weeks. Unfortunately they were my only successes as the market crashed and I had to hold my portfolio for two years to break even. Needless to say, I didn’t invest again.
Cash or card?
Most definitely card – I think cash is a thing of the past.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I bought myself a new golf trolley, as my previous one, which never caused me a single problem, was seven years old. I bought the same model again.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I did save for a holiday home.
Have you ever lost money?
I lost a considerable amount of money, like everyone else, when the market crashed in 2007, as I bought two investment houses at the peak of the market.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
I’m not a gambler. Even when I bet on the Grand National, I would bet on three or four horses at £5 each way.
Is money important to you?
Money is very important to me, as it is a means to an end. It can bring stability and happiness, particularly if you share it with your family and close friends.
How much money do you have on you now?
€100 and £60.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea