Me & My Money: ‘I think I’ve always been a saver’

Paul Connolly, Managing Director, Motivation Weight Management

Paul Connolly: “I now look to fund as many of my purchases as possible from existing savings rather than to look for an overdraft or borrowing facility.”

Paul Connolly: “I now look to fund as many of my purchases as possible from existing savings rather than to look for an overdraft or borrowing facility.”


Are you a saver or a spender?

 I think I’ve always been a saver and that is standing me in good stead as I have three beautiful girls who will soon be third-level students. There isn’t much scope to save after all the bills are paid.

 Do you shop around for better value?

It depends on the product. I believe you get what you pay for, so sometimes it is better to pay a little more for something if you know it will last. It’s not very often you buy something really really good that’s cheap!

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

That’s easy. It was the family home in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow. We built it for €350k and the mortgage is a constant reminder of this.

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

Not so much a purchase but an investment. I sold my first house to start our first Motivation Weight Management Clinic as the bank would not loan us the money. Those were the days! Now we employ over 100 people who help over 5,000 clients to reach their goals each year.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

It depends on the product, but I make every effort to shop locally wherever I can. I would still be using the local agent to book flights if I could, as I much prefer the personal touch.

 Do you haggle over prices?

Where work is concerned, yes. As we are an Irish franchise, we need to get the best prices for our franchisees. Other than that, you will only find me haggling at the markets when on holidays.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

Most definitely. A big change for me is that I now look to fund as many of my purchases as possible from existing savings rather than to look for an overdraft or borrowing facility. And with our children growing up, I need to be careful with my spending habits.

Do you invest in shares?

I have no interest in the stock market. My pension scheme would be the nearest I get to investing in shares.

Cash or card?

Card usually. I don’t carry much cash on me. Any cash that I usually have is cleaned out of my wallet by my darling daughters! 

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

The Bluetooth system in my car stopped working and, as a result and wanting to avoid penalty points, I invested in a Bose Bluetooth speaker so that I can make and receive calls on my mobile. It’s been a lifesaver as I spend a lot of my time on the road visiting our clinics around the country. The sound is great and it sits perfectly on the dashboard of the car. All in all, a great purchase and superb value for money.

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

Yes, I saved for my first house. I have been a saver since I was a child so it is something that I automatically do. Nowadays, I am saving for my daughters’ education.

Have you ever lost money?

I bought our head office, in the Beacon, Sandyford, at the height of the boom and like most commercial properties in Dublin, the recession reduced its value quite considerably. I am proud to say that through hard work, loyalty and support of my wife, and business partner, Aisling, and the Motivation team, we survived.

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

Apart from doing the Lotto, no. However, I did get a tip at Leopardstown about 38 years ago on a horse called Major Bee and it won at 20-1. I had a fiver on it and the winnings would have been about €1,500 in today’s money. A very memorable win, obviously.

Is money important to you?

Not really. Some of the things that money can provide are important in life – a nice home, being able to pay bills, go on holidays and, of course, being able to pay for the childrens’ education. Having said that, I wouldn’t say no to winning the Lotto.

 How much money do you have on you now?

A €10 note and €5 in coins for my two coffees tomorrow. I will just have to wait and see if I still have it tomorrow. It might be swiped tonight when I get home.

 in conversation with Tony Clayton Lea