Me & My Money: ‘Money can’t buy you happiness but it can make life a lot easier’
Fiona O’Regan, private banker, Barclays Ireland
Fiona O’Regan: ‘Gambling does not appeal to me as I would feel the losses much more than I would enjoy the gains’
Are you a saver or a spender?
I spend money on things I value, such as travel, good food and wine, shoes and other important services, but I am also a committed saver. I always take my savings off at the start of the month, rather than waiting to see what is left over at the end.
Do you shop around for better value?
Yes, while I am happy to spend the money to get high-quality items, I don’t like paying materially more for the same thing. For any large purchases I will always carry out some research.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
My greatest extravagance is probably travel. Over the years, I have always spent a lot of money on exploring the world and experiences associated with that.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
I think any investment in your physical and mental health will always represent value for money. I have a subscription to a meditation app that focuses on teaching mindfulness. I think in today’s environment, when we are all so busy juggling many competing demands, the skill of being able to slow down and be in the moment is more relevant than ever.
How you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
Local. The crisis has made me even more conscious of supporting local businesses. They are what contributes to creating a sense of community and make an area more pleasant to live in.
Do you haggle over prices?
Not normally, but I am in the middle of renovating our new family home and haggling is definitely par for the course of this process! I have found, more often than not, that simply asking the question results in a saving.
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
The main change it has made to my spending habits is the lack of money being spent on eating out. This has been replaced with spending more on gourmet food to eat at home.
Do you invest in shares?
Yes, investing can be a powerful way to increase savings and wealth, as long as you have the right time horizon and can cope with the volatility that comes with investing in shares. The challenge, of course, is choosing which companies to invest in and also making sure you have sufficient diversification so that if some companies don’t perform this doesn’t have a material impact on your overall portfolio.
Cash or card?
Card. I rarely use cash anymore as I find cards, and more recently my mobile wallet, much more convenient. It also enables you to see clearly what you are spending your money on.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
A very nice bottle of wine to go with some delicious steaks. It represented good value to me based on the enjoyment it brought.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Yes, I am not keen on debt so any large purchases, apart from our home, would have been purchased from savings.
Have you ever lost money?
Yes, we lost money on our last home, which we bought at the top of the market. We were moving back from London and were conscious at the time that the market was heated but, like most, we did not anticipate how severe the decline would be.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
No, excluding the very odd modest bet on a horse of a friend of mine, and once at the tables on my one and only visit to Las Vegas. Gambling does not appeal to me as I would feel the losses much more than I would enjoy the gains.
Is money important to you?
Yes, while I absolutely believe money cannot buy you happiness, as a private banker I know it can make life a lot easier by allowing you to indulge yourself in things you enjoy and pursue interests and ventures that you’re passionate about.
How much money do you have on you now?
Some loose change, which amounts to less than €5. I tap for everything these days!
in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea