Yvonne Tchrakian is a corporate lawyer with Ireland-based Prothena Biosciences and also founder of mindfulness brand www.pausepenny.com
Are you a saver or a spender?
Spender! My husband says I’m talented at spending money. Luckily, he is more savvy with money or we would be bankrupt.
Do you shop around for better value?
Not really. If I have the money for it, I tend to buy what I want or need. I don’t have the time or patience to shop around and compare. I do think you have to put a price on your time, but I accept I can be overly impulsive and extravagant at times.
What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?
We went on a family holiday to Crete for five weeks during the summer. I just had twins and wanted a bathing suit that was comfortable and slimming. I was told about Hunza G swimsuits, which are about €200 each, and I bought a few of them. I spilled coffee on one of them when one of my kids bumped into me, and one of the twins got sick on another one. That’s what you get for buying expensive swimsuits with small kids.
What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?
Hands down it’s the consultations with a paediatric sleep expert Kelly Geoghegan from Sleepy Stars. When we had our first child, she came highly recommended as someone that helps put a routine in place for babies. We used her for all of our kids and they all sleep well – all night. I think this is the best value for money because if your kids sleep, then you are more productive and efficient at work and at home. Sleep is priceless.
How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?
We shopped locally for food and still do. During Covid, we shopped online for clothes. Now, I generally go to the shops for clothes.
Do you haggle over prices?
I negotiate when it comes to buying in bulk or large quantities. If I went to a market, I wouldn’t haggle over prices. I appreciate how hard it is to make money on products and the margins are already small.
How did the Covid-19 crisis change your spending habits?
During Covid, we stopped our gym memberships and bought all the equipment we needed for a home gym. This has been a game-changer for us because, with four small kids, it’s great to be able to exercise at home early in the morning. I’m not sure I will ever go back to having a gym membership again.
Do you invest in shares?
I am a corporate lawyer for a Nasdaq-listed company and I get share options as part of my remuneration package. I would sell my options on the same day as the tax to revenue is due within 30 days. To date, I have not held them. Other than this, I don’t invest in shares.
Cash or card?
Card. I always use card on my phone (or my watch). I rarely take the actual card out any more.
Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?
Our biggest purchases would have been our house, which we bought and then renovated, our home office and gym, and our 7-seater car, which we have recently bought. Other than a mortgage, we would not put ourselves into debt to purchase something. If my share options are at a good price, I would exercise those to give us some additional funds for what we need.
Have you ever lost money?
Not that I am aware of.
Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?
When I was 13, my family moved back to Listowel from Los Angeles. As a teenager, I would go to the Listowel Races and place small bets on horses. That’s the extent of my gambling.
Is money important to you?
Yes. My mom was a stay-at-home parent and my dad was a carpenter. My mom always had to ask my dad for money and I remember thinking that I never wanted to have to rely on anyone else for money. I wanted to ensure that I was always financially independent, so, yes, money is important to me.
How much money do you have on you now?
I have my phone with me, and I have €166.01 in my Revolut account.
In conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea