Me & My Money: ‘When I was broke I became obsessed with money’
Pat Divilly, Galway-based author and high-performance coach
Pat Divilly: “I wouldn’t have the patience or interest in keeping an eye on shares or stocks.”
Are you a saver or a spender?
By nature, I’m a spender but my parents have taught me the value of money from an early age and I’ve always seen how hard they’ve worked to provide security for us. I’ve got a bit of sense in me somewhere, thanks to them, but maybe next year the resolution could be to work on the saving side of things!
Do you shop around for better value?
I don’t ever shop around. My life is focused around work, training and travel. I don’t like accumulating more “stuff”, so the majority of my spending is probably in cafes and restaurants or on international travel and trips.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
Probably a trip to Aconcagua in Argentina at the start of this year. It’s the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas and involved three weeks in a tent while gradually ascending to 6,962 metres above sea level. The climb itself set me back about €7,000 alongside a few thousand for gear suitable for the temperatures, which can drop to -20 degrees. You can’t cut corners on quality equipment when its purpose is in keeping you alive.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Facebook ads. I had a huge return on investment with people investing in online coaching with me after seeing my content.
How do you prefer to shop – online or local?
Online. Outside of food, clothes and travel I only really ever buy books, training courses or fitness/meditation tools, and they are typically bought online. I book and plan all of my trips abroad online, too.
Do you haggle over prices?
No! I think of the value something will bring to my life and, if I think it makes sense, I’ll buy it; if I don’t, I won’t.
Has the recession changed your spending habits?
I was in college in Galway during the recession, living at home, working a part-time job, and so I probably didn’t feel the weight of the recession in the same way as new homeowners or professionals. If I had a few euro for the college bar, I was happy.
Do you invest in shares?
I wouldn’t have the patience or interest in keeping an eye on shares or stocks. As a business owner, the money I put into marketing my business or money in personal development, working with coaches or mentors, is a permanent personal investment and won’t diminish in value due to a crash in another area of trade markets that I don’t fully understand, anyway.
Cash or card?
Card! I rarely carry cash.
What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?
I’ve just bought an Inner Balance Trainer for €129 from Heart Math. It’s a meditation tool that clips on to your ear and measures your heart rate variability, then links up to an app and gives you some feedback. If it makes me more consistent with my meditation practice it will have been worth every penny.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
My house. I moved home to Galway from Dublin in 2011 and back in with my parents at 24 because I wasn’t making enough money to pay the rent. When I got back to Galway, I started teaching fitness classes, then opened a gym and began training a lot of clients online. I really got the head down for a few years, lived off a very small wage and was soon able to buy a house in the area I grew up. A dream come true.
Have you ever lost money?
I don’t know if you’d consider it “lost”, but I invested money in some consultants and “mentors” to help me grow my business and regretted throwing the money away. Equally, I’ve had some great mentors but I think sometimes we can throw our money at other people in the hope they’ll bring us clarity – when in fact we know ourselves and our businesses better than anyone.
Are you a gambler and if so have you ever had a big win?
I might be living in the hometown of the Galway Races but gambling doesn’t interest me at all, thankfully.
Is money important to you?
I think when I was broke I became obsessed with money and it was all I could think about. I was in my mid-20s and felt a pressure to be “successful” and, to me, that meant financial success. When I made some money, it showed me that it’s definitely not the secret to happiness or confidence or anything else. Usually the things we want in life are right in front of us.
How much money do you have on you now?
Do you take cards?
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea
Pat Divilly is supporting Make-A-Wish Ireland’s Christmas appeal makeawish.ie