Marcus Horan is a former player with the Ireland and Munster rugby squads. He won 67 caps for Ireland – as well as three Triple Crowns and a Grand Slam at senior international level. He is currently the player development manager for Munster with Rugby Players Ireland – where his role is to support the entire Munster squad. He recently announced details of ‘Smart Money Habits’ – a financial wellbeing programme for professional and elite rugby players which is being provided by the educational association, LIA and Rugby Players Ireland. Originally from Co Clare, Horan now lives in Castleconnell in Limerick with his wife and three daughters.
What’s the most important lesson about money that your sports career has taught you?
My earning capacity during my rugby career was very different to what it is now. You can earn a good wage at the higher level of rugby – and it’s important to get into good financial habits then, such as saving and starting a pension. A lot of players retire from rugby in their thirties – often at the top of their rugby career. Earnings dip substantially when you leave rugby.
What has the coronavirus crisis taught you about money?
It taught me how much I was spending on petrol and travel – as we were at home a lot and not travelling. The crisis also taught me how vulnerable the sports industry is – and why it’s so important to save up for a rainy day.
The best money advice you ever got?
I remember my mum getting me to open a Post Office savings account when I was very young. So the importance of savings was installed into me from a young age.
What’s the most expensive country you ever visited?
My wife and I went to Dubai for our honeymoon and it was expensive. Ireland can be very expensive too, especially when you’ve a young family.
What’s your favourite Irish coin?
The old 20p coin with the horse on it. There was great excitement when that coin first came out – so that coin brings back nice memories for me.
Apart from property, what’s the most expensive thing you have bought?
A car. As a rugby player, I was lucky as I had a sponsored car. So it was a real shock to the system when I had to buy my first car late in life.
What was your worst job?
When I came out of rugby, I got into insurance sales. It was an experience and I’m glad I did it but it wasn’t for me.
Your biggest financial mistake?
There was a culture back in the boom of people investing in holiday homes and property. I got caught up in one or two property investments that went wrong. There were a lot of guys worse off though.
What was your best financial killing?
I’ve had one or two good property investments. However, my best financial killing is probably building up a nice nest egg in my pension when I was earning well. That allowed me to take a break from saving into my pension when my family were young and I needed to redirect my finances.
If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?
I’d pay down a lot of the debt I have and I’d try and help close family friends. I’d also heavily invest in sports clubs that helped me during my career as I’d love to give something back.
Have you ever made an insurance claim?
Yes – for windscreen damage.
Do you still carry cash?
As a result of Covid and lockdowns, everything has just gone on the card.
What’s the most you’d pay for a bottle of wine?
On a special occasion, I’d pay up to €50 – but only if it’s recommended.
What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?
Coffee. Training. Eating out – especially with the kids.