‘When you manage money, life is a little easier’

Me and my Money: Angela O’Leary, MD, AG Associates

Angela O’Leary, managing director of AG Associates: “Like many people around the country, I sacrificed the night out for a takeaway at home as a treat.”

Angela O’Leary, managing director of AG Associates: “Like many people around the country, I sacrificed the night out for a takeaway at home as a treat.”


Are you a saver or a spender?

I think I’m a bit of both. There always has to be a bit of balance. If you can make your money go further, then I’d always encourage that. When I’m spending, I try to do it wisely.

Do you shop around for better value?

Yes, I would but not to the extreme. As an accountant, I place value on time, so often I would shop online, particularly the groceries. You don’t get distracted by special offers and, quite often, it saves you money.

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

I wouldn’t be an extravagant shopper by any means but years ago, just out of college, some friends and I went to London. We didn’t stay anywhere fancy, we were just taking in the sights. We kept passing a sign for a roof top bar when we left our little hostel. So on the last day, we went upstairs and ordered cocktails. It was so extravagant at the time, our whole budget was blown, but we still talk about it and plan to go back one day.

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

This may seem nerdy, but it was investing in my CPA tuition and exams. I studied business and IT in my college days, and worked as a computer programmer after I graduated from college. Then I began training accountants on how to use accounting software. I loved it so much that I decided to go back to college and do the CPA accountancy exams. That purchase was the best value for money, well worth it.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

A bit of both, really, depending on time. I get a real Cheers sense when I pop into my local shops. You can’t beat that face-to-face contact. However, online is easy. Sometimes because of work and the family, I sit down at 9pm and do my shopping online. 

Do you haggle over prices?

It depends. If I am somewhere where it is accepted, like on holidays, then yes I will haggle and I’ll love it. If I’m buying in bulk or expensive items, like electrical items, then yes, I’ll haggle. Other than that, I won’t.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

No, I never went crazy in the “good ole days”. I think it’s the accountant in me that stopped me as well – I’m very conscious of cash flow. I think it’s in my DNA. That’s what I share with my clients, so I practise what I preach. 

Do you invest in shares?

Whenever I think of investing, I can’t help but think of the late father of value investing, Benjamin Graham. He said: “The real money in investing will have to be made – as most of it has been in the past – not out of buying and selling, but out of owning and holding securities, receiving interest and dividends, and benefiting from their long-term increase in value.” It’s something that I haven’t done just yet, but it is something that is on my radar.

Cash or card?

Definitely card. It’s so convenient and, as an accountant, it’s great that all your transactions are online. They are easy to manage, compute and you can see straight away how your cashflow is. Have I mentioned that it’s important to be conscious of cashflow?

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

The last thing I bought was a dress for the Business Cork Awards. I was undecided whether to wear something I had or buy something new, and I’m glad I did. I won the prestigious Chairman’s Award for my new accounting service, Clarity. So it was excellent value for money, I’m so glad I bought it.

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

Yes, I have, my home. Like many people around the country, I sacrificed the night out for a takeaway at home as a treat. But it was worth it, even though it seemed like the deposit took forever to come together.

Have you ever lost money?

No. Unless you count the odd quick pick when the EuroMillions reaches the big numbers!

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

No. However, I got a really great tip a few years ago now on a horse to win. Whatever way it was told to me, I just knew it was a winner. I believed it so much that I called my dad and my sisters. This was at 4.45pm, the bookies closed at 5pm. So at 4.55pm, there was a bunch of us writing the little slips in the bookies. We ended up winning about €2,000 between us!

Is money important to you?

Yes, it is. It’s important for security for my family, my business and me. It’s also good for planning. You need money to plan for the future. I also think if you’re working so hard that you need to treat yourself. So money is important in that regards. I think when you manage money – cash flow, pensions, planning – life is a little easier.

How much money do you have on you now?