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‘Kids have a way of making wallets disappear’

Me & My Money - Hazel Rock, head of insurance services at Brokers Ireland

Hazel Rock is head of insurance services at Brokers Ireland. She has an MSc in strategic management and a BSc in business management. Brokers Ireland is the leading representative body for insurance brokers in the State.

Are a saver or a spender?

I would be a bit of both. Christmas time definitely brings out the spender in me!

Do you shop around for better value?


I do at times, depending on the purchase. Shopping around for car and home insurance has saved me some money to spend elsewhere. My younger self would just pay and not think about it, but the older I get the wiser I’ve become.

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

Probably my first car, a Peugeot 206. It would have cost around the €3,000-€4,000 mark during my college years. I just remember the incredible feeling of something that I had worked hard to get, and the freedom to be able to travel on a whim.

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

Probably our seven-seater Skoda Kodiaq. With four young children and lots of sporting activities and birthday parties to go to, the comfort, space and safety of it is great. Also, no more little feet digging into the back of your seat as you drive!

How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

I definitely became more accustomed to online shopping during Covid-19, and I still shop this way today.

Do you haggle over prices?

It is something I wish I was better at, but I did manage to cut €2,000 off the asking price for a recent car purchase. I guess if you don’t ask, you will never get.

How did the Covid-19 crisis change your spending habits?

That time definitely opened my eyes as to where I was spending money unnecessarily, and also where I wasn’t putting my money. Online grocery shopping helped us plan our meals per week and avoided a lot of wastage. It also helped in not having to bring kids with you to the weekly shop when invariably there would be a surprise in the basket at checkout!

Do you invest in shares?

So far this is not something I’ve done, but that’s not to say I can’t start in the future. Given current market uncertainty, I may wait a while.

Cash or card?

Card or phone these days.

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

A trampoline. The kids spend hours on it outdoors and the added bonus is that it tires them out!

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

Yes, my trip to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the US after I finished my master’s. I worked part-time in Boots and saved for two years. My best friend from home and college set off with me on a five-month adventure and, from that, I have memories I will cherish for life.

Have you ever lost money?

Kids have a way of making wallets disappear but, no, I haven’t had any big financial mishaps.

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

I’m not much of a gambler, so no big wins to report.

Is money important to you?

Money matters, there is no doubt. For me, it’s all about knowing what kind of life you want without trying to live beyond your means. Working in financial services, that thinking is omnipresent. I believe health is the real wealth, however. Money can’t buy that, but it can help you get the right nutrition and gym membership!

How much money do you have on you now?


in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture