Business Personal Finance

Wednesday 23 October 2019

'15 years after buying critical illness cover, I was diagnosed with stage-3 bowel cancer'

My money

Gavin Ralston. Photo: David Keegan
Gavin Ralston. Photo: David Keegan newsdesk

Gavin Ralston is a Dublin guitarist and music producer who has been involved in the Irish music industry for about 25 years. He has performed and toured with Sharon Shannon, Eimear Quinn, The Waterboys, Clannad and Bagatelle.

He has recorded and produced a wide range of artists, including Ronnie Drew, Bagatelle and The Coronas. His brother is Aongus Ralston, the bass player in The Waterboys.

Gavin was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014 and a show, The Gig for Gav, is being held in Vicar Street on April 1 to help raise funds for his treatment. The gig will feature Mundy, Mary Black, The Waterboys, Paul Harrington, Cormac Begley and others. For more details on the gig,

What's the most important lesson about money which your career as a musician has taught you?

It's important to think long-term as well as short-term about money, work and career. I often give extra free studio time towards a musical project if I think it needs it to help it sound as good as it can.

What's your favourite song about money?

Gold Digger by Kanye West. It's a cool tune and great beat from an era when Kanye was cool.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

Japan is frighteningly expensive. The biggest indicator of this was the double per diems (expenses per day) we were given while on tour there. On my first trip in 1997, I had a burger in a hotel which cost me £14 -which I'd guess is the equivalent of €25 to €30 today.

What's the most you've ever spent on a musical equipment?

I set up a recording studio ( Over the last 25 years, I've invested close to €100,000 buying instruments and recording equipment.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

The €2 coin, as it makes a great alternative to a plectrum for the guitar. Brian May of Queen has been using a sixpence coin as a plectrum for years.

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

My recording studio.

What was your worst job?

Busking for Valentine's Day in Stillorgan Shopping Centre in the cold playing How Much is that Doggie in the Window with a violinist for four hours.

What was your best financial killing?

I did some international Irish dance tours which paid very well - even if they didn't offer much creative fulfilment. Marrying a beautiful school teacher with a good regular salary has also helped me hugely.

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

Take my amazing wife on a shopping spree. Go on holiday somewhere amazing with the family. Then I'd go back to recording and gigging until the money ran out.

The best advice you ever got about money?

My father told me to invoice recording clients - even if I was doing something for free. He said just to mention that I needed to invoice for my own accounts.

We can get all lost in the creative process, but an invoice reminds everyone that there's a business to be run and bills to pay.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

I signed up for optional critical illness cover when I took out my mortgage in 1999 - then I promptly forgot all about it until 15 years later when I was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.

The payout helped me recover and rest from the treatment and surgery for a number of years. Having this cover made a massive difference as my capacity to work has been severely impacted.

What was the last thing you bought online?

A new bin lid for the Brabantia bin that my son broke with a judo kick.

Would you buy property now?

I would certainly consider a property on Inisbofin because it's a magical place.

Sunday Indo Business

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