Sunday 25 September 2016

'I still have bad dreams about the crash and its consequences'

Money talks Brian Hayes

Published 04/09/2016 | 02:30

Brian Hayes. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Brian Hayes. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes was elected to the European Parliament more than two years ago. A former secondary school teacher, Hayes has held a number of senior positions on the Fine Gael front bench. He was also a TD for Dublin south-west until May 2014.

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He is married with three children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and tennis.

What is the most important lesson about money that your career as a politician has taught you?

To put money aside in good days if you have it. I still have bad dreams about the crash and its consequences. Whether you are running a house or an economy - unless you put money aside and save for that rainy day, you are asking for trouble.

Do you think the ordinary Irish person will be better or worse off after Brexit?

Worse off - but hopefully only marginally. However, if we play this right, we can mitigate the negative effects of Brexit. It will be next year before the effects are felt. Unfortunately there are very few upsides to all this. Every time the British economy tanks, we are effected and suffer the tailwinds. The British economy's relatively good performance in recent years helped us recover.

Are you better off than your parents?

Yes, I think so. Average pay in Ireland now is so much higher than in my parents' generation. However, my parents' generation has access now to defined benefit pensions - which are not available to the great majority of my generation.

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

My car - and I hate spending money on cars. Always buy second hand and never take out a loan. Buy a car you can afford. If you have €500 for a car, that's the one for you.

What was your worst job?

Pot boy in Bewleys. The people were great to work with but I never left the kitchens. Learnt how to scrub pots though.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Buying shares in Smartforce - wasn't very smart as it turned out.

What was your best financial killing?

Sword Fighter at 33/1 in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot last June.

Do you use any money-saving apps?

One week in four, I'm in Strasbourg, and I'm a great fan of Airbnb as I can avoid the extortionate hotel prices in the city. I'm also a big fan of Skyscanner - it's great for finding cheap flights and for comparisons. Skype is a genius money-saving app as it allows me to do digital interviews with great sound quality while away.

Android or iPhone?

iPhone.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

Yes, online banking has made a big difference in me seeing my outgoings.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes, after my car was stolen some years ago.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

Yes, I'm a switcher. I have gas and electricity in a bundle. Paying by direct debit is also cheaper and easier.

iTunes or Spotify?

Spotify definitely - it's good value for what you get.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Flights, flights and more flights - in my line of work, it's an occupational hazard.

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

I'm one of the lucky majority with a tracker mortgage and the bank isn't getting it back.

Would you buy Irish property now?

Yes, I would. Property in my view is still undervalued in large sections of the market. Basically our economy is sound - and even with Brexit, house prices will continue to increase.

Cash or card?

Card.

Do you ever haggle?

Yes, always, and I'm always surprised by what you can save. My mother is a haggler and it has rubbed off on us all.

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