Me & My Money: ‘The financial crisis obliterated most of my shareholdings’

John Ring, senior lending manager, Onate

Are you a saver or a spender?
I am definitely a spender, although I have gotten better over time. I try to put money aside for different reasons and milestone events. The comfort of having some money in the bank for unexpected expenses has motivated me to become more of a saver.

Do you shop around for better value?
I'd be good at shopping around for large outgoings like motor, health or home insurance. I am probably not as disciplined about shopping for less expensive or everyday items, and I would take a more relaxed approach to smaller expenses.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
My most extravagant purchase was a second hand two-door BMW coupé that was very much bought with no practicalities thought through, such as having a small child at the time. It was a real impulse purchase that I had to sell a couple of years later when I needed to be more practical.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Our house seemed very expensive at the time, but I feel very lucky to have a nice home while many are struggling to get a foothold in the property market.


How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
I would like to say local but the practicalities of online shopping, particularly during Covid-19 times, won out for me. Most non-grocery items were purchased online and I think that this is a growing trend in Ireland.

Do you haggle over prices?
I enjoy haggling over prices. The opportunity to do this is getting less and less, particularly as many purchases are online, without personal interactions.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?
There was obviously less spending on entertainment, with no bars or restaurants open, and we also spent less on travel. I am looking forward to the ability to travel more freely again and to holiday with family.

Do you invest in shares?
Not so much in recent years. I once worked as a stockbroker and would have had a greater interest in investing in shares then. Through my pension I have exposure to shares and the equity markets.

Cash or card?
Definitely card. I very rarely carry cash now. The arrival of Revolut is a game changer as it is so easy to use and send money to friends and family.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
The last thing I bought was some camping equipment. I haven't got to use it yet, but am hopeful that it was good value and will last the test of time.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
I would have probably always leaned on loans to finance big purchases. Over the last 10 years, however, I have become more structured in my spending and now I wouldn't make a big purchase unless I had the money saved to do so.

Have you ever lost money?
I have lost money previously by investing in shares and this has probably, perhaps wrongly, coloured my view of investing in the equity markets. I would have been active in purchasing shares until 2008 when the financial crisis took hold and obliterated most of my shareholdings.

Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I like an occasional flutter, although probably not as much in recent years as previously. I had a good win on Pádraig Harrington in 2007 when I backed him, as a long shot, in the British Open. He duly obliged.

Is money important to you?
My dear mum, who passed away recently, always told us that 'money won't buy you your health or happiness', and I think this is sage advice.

How much money do you have on you now?
Zero in cash, but with Apple wallet, bank and credit cards, I have access to it.

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea