Business Personal Finance

Thursday 19 September 2019

'Don't complicate life, or money, unnecessarily'

My money

Journalist Michael Moynihan
Journalist Michael Moynihan

The journalist Michael Moynihan was born and raised in Cork, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is the author of several successful books and has twice been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.

His new book, 'Crisis and Comeback - Cork in the Eighties' has just been published.

What's the most important lesson about money which your career in writing has taught you?

That writing isn't about money. That's no shock to anyone involved in writing, but it amazes me that people are amazed to hear that.

What's the best advice you ever got about money?

'Don't complicate your life unnecessarily.' My father told me that. I apply it to every area of my life - financial and otherwise.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

I know there are dearer places, but my wife and I went to Paris years ago and had a drink in Johnny Depp's bar, Man Ray. A glass of whiskey and a glass of orange cost about IR£20.

What's the most expensive thing about being a parent?

I'd forgotten completely that children outgrow clothes almost immediately. Some shoes don't even make it home from the shop and they're already too small.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

The old 20p. It was so exotic when it came out.

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

If I left out cars, it would be the nice coat my wife suggested I buy with the first few bob I earned writing. I went to Brown Thomas and saw a Michael Mortell overcoat for IR£300. I hummed and hawed but bought it, and still have it.

What was your worst job?

As a student, I made sandwiches for delivery all over the country. Sometimes you'd have a thousand to make in a day. The money wasn't great, and the smell from a 20lb tub of tuna and sweetcorn was no cure for a hangover.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Not buying a house sooner, probably.

What was your best financial killing?

Buying a house. I wouldn't be smug or complacent about it. The housing crisis is a national shame and, unfortunately, I don't think it can be solved by a legislature with so many landlords in it.

Are you better off than your parents?

Financially maybe. However, when I remember the freedom kids had in the 1970s in Cork - and what that meant for my parents specifically - maybe I'm not so much better off.

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

Buy an apartment in San Sebastian. Clean out The Strand bookstore in New York. Build an extension. Get another Michael Mortell coat.

iTunes or Spotify?

Sadly, I'm more into CDs. In my day job as a sportswriter a couple of years ago, I asked a rugby player in his 20s what the last CD he bought was. I thought he was going to call security on me.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Books. They're my weakness. I think the last one I bought was The Powers That Be by David Halberstam. Or The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead.

Do you ever haggle?

I'm a pathetic haggler. Years ago, I bought a laptop and 'negotiated' a free laptop cover from the shop worth about €10. That's still my greatest haggling win.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

My phone. A couple of new books. Cold milk and plain chocolate digestives.

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