Wednesday 26 October 2016

Alison Comyn: 'My mum was a financial wizard with a monthly budget'

Money Talks

Published 17/04/2016 | 02:30

UTV Ireland's Alison Comyn
UTV Ireland's Alison Comyn

Alison Comyn is news anchor with UTV Ireland. In the past, she has worked as a presenter for RTE, Sky, Channel 4 and the BBC. The mother of two has about 20 years' experience as a television and radio presenter, newsreader and print journalist. We caught up with her to find out her thoughts on money.

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What is the most important lesson about money which the world of being a news anchor has taught you?

Well I suppose regular interviews with UTV Ireland's economics editor Paul Colgan have certainly increased my understanding of quantitative easing and fiscal policies. But I'm not sure that has helped much with my personal finances.

Seriously, being constantly immersed in news and current affairs does show you the importance of minding your money and how easy it can be to fall into financial difficulty.

You're a working mother. What is the most expensive thing about raising children?

Without a doubt, the most expensive part is paying for good-quality childcare when they're young.

Now that my children are older, it is the plethora of extra-curricular activities that are expensive - from sport to music and beyond.

Do you think that you are better off than your parents?

That is difficult to quantify, as I think my generation has more expectations and demands on our finances.

I always felt we were very comfortable when I was growing up, but I also know my mum was an absolute wizard with her monthly budget.

Both my husband and I work, so inevitably two salaries do go further.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

BC (Before Children), I had a penchant for completely impractical but beautiful cars which depreciated before you even got home. Can't say I won't do it again, but not at the moment.

What was the worst job you've ever had?

Any job where you got paid at the end of the week for an honest day's work was good. If I had to pick anything, it would be bar or restaurant work - for sore feet and anti-social hours.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Investing in items that didn't appreciate, like cars, clothing, shoes, bags or jewellery - unless you never used them and kept them pristine until they're vintage (which I never did).

What was the biggest financial killing you've made?

My husband and I made some small property investments before the crash and hopefully some shares I've had for years will do well in the future.

You're no doubt computer literate, do you use any money-saving apps?

No, what should I be using?

Do you have a preference for Android or iPhone?

I'm a one-phone woman. And it's iPhone all the way.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

Generally, always.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

No, unless you count maternity cover with private health insurance.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

I always compare when it comes to renewal time or keep a constant eye on who is providing the best value.

Do you use iTunes or Spotify?

Spotify - it's a great way to discover new music.

What was the last thing you bought online?

I booked a hotel reservation.

Do you have a mortgage? Is it fixed, variable or tracker?

Yes - variable.

Would you buy Irish property now?

Yes, but I get the feeling vendors are getting very greedy again.

Do you pay in cash or card?

Mostly card - easier to keep a tally on what's going out.

Do you ever haggle?

All the time! If you don't ask, you don't get.

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