Sunday 23 July 2017

'I wish someone had told me it's possible to combine a successful career with raising a family'

Caitriona MacGuinness - Senior investment consultant, Mercer

Stay active and busy says Caitriona MacGuinness
Stay active and busy says Caitriona MacGuinness

Caitriona MacGuinness

'I wish I'd known that it's fine to travel before starting a 'proper job'.

"I moved abroad after college to work in bars in Germany and Spain. At the time, I was a little concerned that future employers might categorise me as being prone to extended holidays. In hindsight, I know these varied experiences made me a better, more independent and more employable person. They also meant I would concentrate fully on my job when I came back to Ireland.

"I wish I'd mentally prepared myself sufficiently for the CFA exams. I waltzed in with my Masters in Finance, thinking they'd be a walk in the park - boy, was I wrong! The exams are a huge challenge, though they are completely worth it.

"Irish students spend over 300 hours on each exam while working full-time, which really proves their mettle. I got my charter in 2007 and the scars have faded now - almost!

"I wish I'd started saving for my pension earlier. After studying and my stint abroad, I was a little late to the workforce.

"When I started my first job in Ireland, I succumbed to the temptation to enjoy the positive cash situation and just enjoy life. Now, with my Mercer hat on, I know that employees under 30 are losing out on around €80m each year by not taking up the defined contribution pension benefits their employers are offering - and that I was one of those people.

"I wish someone had told me that it is possible to combine a successful career with raising a family. I worried before having my children that this wouldn't be achievable, especially given my husband also works in finance.

"I wouldn't say I have a quiet life, with an active career and two kids aged two and four, but I'm glad my worries were unfounded.

"It would be good to see more positive role models who do this and speak up - though perhaps they're just too busy fitting everything in! While my daughters are unlikely to experience spectacular Pinterest-friendly birthday parties, we have a happy and fulfilling family life that I wouldn't change for the world.

"I also believe my kids will see the positives of having parents who enjoy their jobs and are successful in what they do.

Caitriona MacGuinness is also the president of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of Ireland

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