‘When you try to buy a horse, sellers tend not to have a card machine’

Me & My Money: Robert Hoban, CEO and co-founder of Offr

Offr CEO Robert Hoban: ‘I rarely have cash on me – a tenner at most.’ Photograph: Keith Arkins

Offr CEO Robert Hoban: ‘I rarely have cash on me – a tenner at most.’ Photograph: Keith Arkins

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

Definitely the latter. I’ve listened to every sage in my life – brothers, friends, ex-girlfriends, but I will always be someone who values money as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. I take after my mum in that regard. When her parents gave her the children’s allowance that they had saved for 18 years, she immediately bought a television for the family. In 1960.

Do you shop around for better value?

For work-related things, I’ll always get three quotes. But in my personal life, I never do. If I see something I like, it’s in DHL before I know it.

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

A fabulous chestnut hunter gelding from a great friend at Brazil Stables in Swords. I paid €4,000. However, nine months later, I sold it for €6,000 to put the cash into my new prop-tech start-up!

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

My Microsoft Surface Laptop (€1,300) and Display Adapter (€80). Literally, the greatest things ever. I am forever making on-the-spot presentations and I can cast wirelessly to any large screen, anywhere, without having to plug in anything.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

Online. Always. With the exception of pints in Gormley’s pub in Garristown, Co Meath. 

Do you haggle over prices?

Never, although my dad was a demon for it. An Aer Lingus captain who flew all over the world, he would drive from Dublin to his home town of Westport if he could save a tenner buying bales of hay. Even though the diesel would cost him treble that.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

In theory, yes, but in practice, no. I had nothing to spend, of course, but I would still find a way of spending it.

Do you invest in shares?

No, but I’ve always been curious. I don’t know enough about the vagaries of the equity markets to do it seriously, but I think the explosion of online trading has made it much more accessible and less mysterious.

Cash or card?

Always card. I rarely have cash on me – a tenner at most. That is a problem when you try to buy a horse, as the sellers tend not to have a card machine on them.

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

I bought a set of Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils for €120. I love drawing and they are the best quality drawing materials on the market. They will last me a lifetime.

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

Despite being in the property game, thankfully I didn’t speculate on the property market during the boom, so now it’s all about saving for the dream home.

Have you ever lost money?

No, not that I am aware of.

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

I enjoy a punt at the races, but typically only on the course. I don’t have the time for off-course betting. I used to travel to the UK races a lot with a good friend of mine in the racing industry, but then he got married and I had to get used to watching it on the television.

Is money important to you?

Not for money’s sake. I don’t have a family of my own, so any money I earn is to make life easy for friends and extended family around me.

How much money do you have on you now?

One €5 note.

In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

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