Busy making ends meet


A group of singers, broadcasters, comedians and writers discuss their personal finances as the new year starts with CONOR POPEand RUTH O’CONNOR

Maria Tecce, singer and actor

I consider myself quite a frugal person as that’s how I was brought up. As one of five children in a Catholic middle class family in Boston the motto was: “If you work hard you can achieve anything”. I would like to buy a house at some point but at the moment renting suits me, is good value and avoids all the additional costs that homeowners have, especially since the budget.

I’m a saver by nature and always worry about financial stability so I’ve had to learn to spend money – buying myself a nice bottle of perfume or going out to eat. I used to think that I had to save every penny but realise now that if you’ve grafted all year it’s okay to treat yourself.

For 2013, splurging for me would be getting to visit my family in the US more than once or going on holiday. I tend to spend money on experiential things, money to me is a facilitator. The big investment for me this year will be the making of my new album.

Joanne Hynes, fashion designer

I don’t feel that great materialistic urge anymore, but I do have an urge to create. If I was to consider treating myself to anything in 2013 I think it would be to doing a night course or something intellectual or creative rather than buying something.

I’ve always been interested in the value of things rather than in always needing new things. I think less is more for 2013 – smart people want less stuff but more meaningful, beautiful and hand-crafted. There’s a shift towards this in design.

For 2013 my biggest financial investment will be my export business – we’ve been selling well in Japan, China, Kuwait and Korea and we also want to look at expanding into Saudi Arabia.

I’ll be spending on travel to artisan producers in places like Tuscany and to the shows in Paris. It’s investment in the business but I always try to take at least one day for fun when I visit these places. A skiing trip in March is also booked!

Brendan Courtney, broadcaster and designer

I’m pretty good at saving and I’m really good at spending. To be honest, I used to be very extravagant, sometimes to the point of being wasteful but I’ve calmed down a lot in the past few years. I have wasted a lot of money. I have a spare room in my apartment full of clothes and own 180 suits (I once spent €2,500 on a Gucci suit) so I don’t think I really need to spend any money this year on clothes.

This year I will be investing all my money in my new clothing design business, Lennon Courtney, which I run with Sonya Lennon (colleague and Off the Rails co-presenter). My biggest financial goal this year is to keep this going and to break even in the first year. The biggest problem in the design business is cash flow as you only really get paid twice a year and need to invest that money back into the business.

My biggest extravagance this year will be a trip to California with my partner. We’ll do things sensibly though – we’ll stay in cheaper hotels and it’s no more business class flights for me. Because I’ve worked in travel and fashion broadcasting for so long, I fly almost every week so my usual holiday begins in business class with a glass of champagne, but not this time.

David McSavage, comedy writer and performer

I’d say I’m both a spender and a saver, but any money I have, eventually gets spent, so I guess I’d say I’m a spender. Of course any money I have got in my life is as a result of other people spending it, so I think it’s right to be a spender, within reason. I feel spending money is indirectly a way of getting it. I’m always optimistic about money, I genuinely feel like I am money, a side effect of being brilliant at something is earning money and I believe very strongly, one day, I will experience vast sums of money pouring into my bank account like a flowing river.

Buying a well-made guitar, to me, is investing in my career and I’m taking acting classes starting this month. I think that’s what keeps me so young and vibrant, always doing new things and learning new things. I’m not very good around things like pensions, to the point of being reckless. But like I said, I feel I am money, and it’s only a matter of time before it starts flowing my way!

Charlie Connelly, author

I would like to reach a position where I’m able to wear something other than this barrel held up by braces. Getting to grips with my overdraft would probably help with that. Money is definitely behind personal happiness and career fulfilment but enjoying what I do is more important than the price tag on it, which can make for the occasional sleepless night but I think it’s worth it. That’s an argument I’d never put to the bank, mind.

As a self-employed author my income arrives irregularly, at the whims of others and I frequently don’t know how much it’ll be until it arrives. This makes budgeting tricky to say the least but the signs are that this year may well be much better than the last couple. When money does arrive I tend to get a bit giddy and persuade myself I deserve a treat.

This year though I’m recalibrating “treat” to mean not having to put on a funny voice saying “sorry, wrong number” when the bank phones and count that as investing. We’re trying to save to get married so any surplus will go towards that and my overdraft.

I’m thinking of killing two birds with one stone by getting married in the bank. I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive fiancée who understands the, erm, unconventional financial nature of being a writer. If there are any camel trains loaded with ivory and peacocks to be delivered, she’ll be the recipient.

Unless I write an unexpected international bestseller I think we’ll be renting for the foreseeable future – when writers reveal our occupation to mortgage people we usually have to wait a few minutes for the helpless laughter to die down a bit.

Pat O’Mahony, broadcaster/producer

My only financial resolution is financial survival. Money doesn’t mean a lot to me. I’ve never particularly chased it, mostly having gone after interesting rather than well-paid work, or not had enough of it to contemplate investing or splurging it. As a freelancer, how much money I have this year is completely in the lap of the gods. A couple of lucky breaks and I’ll be able to pay off a few small debts and save a little; otherwise it’ll be as is.

Richie Ryan, Phantom 105.2 presenter

The only resolution I have is to pay as little as possible to the bank in account fees. I haven’t got around to switching yet, so in the interim I’m making as few transactions as possible in order to pay the least amount possible in fees.

I cannot put into words how reprehensible I find it that my bank have moved the goalposts so many times in relation to current account fees, and have now cynically fixed it so that anyone who doesn’t constantly have three grand in their account will not get free banking.It makes my blood boil just to think of it!

I would be a saver, but there isn’t really very much to do that with at the end of the month. I think it’s always wise to save a bit if you can, which I’ve always tried to do. Money to me is the representation of hard work and something to be taken seriously.

I was brought up to believe that if you wanted something you had to work for it; apart from a mortgage, my mum never had a loan in her life and I think that’s something she instilled in me.

A holiday is really the only big purchase I ever make – apart from a car – and I think I will have some sort of a holiday, probably a week or two in the sun somewhere. You need something to look forward to

Rick O’Shea 2FM DJ

I don’t know if I believe in resolutions of any kind. I have to classify myself in the spender bracket, if only because I’ve never had enough money coming in at any one time in life to save anything more than a small amount.

Money is paper or numbers on a screen, a means to an end, the thing you have to earn so you can do the things you want to do in life and take care of the people you love. I will have less this year. Taxes go up, inflation goes up, prices go up, pay stays the same. Travel is something I save up for so yes, probably I will travel.

But big purchases like a car? A collection of Fabergé eggs? Unless I win it big in some sort of bet (and I don’t bet) that’s unlikely. I’m lucky enough not to have enormous debts really so I’m paying off the ones I do have little by little by little.