Business Personal Finance

Wednesday 26 June 2019

'My dad said not to buy a car if I didn't need one'

My money

Pat O'Mahony
Pat O'Mahony newsdesk

The TV and radio producer Pat O'Mahony, appeared on RTE's First Dates earlier this month in a quest to find love.

Well-known for presenting the RTE fashion show, Head to Toe, in the 1990s, O'Mahony has also produced and presented various TV and radio shows, including the award-winning Reporters at War series.

He is originally from Kildare Town and now living in Dublin. For more information - or to read his Off Message blog, visit

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

To respect whatever money you might have in your bank account at any point - it's not there to be spent right now as there may well be quiet periods ahead. I learnt this not so much in broadcasting but from freelancing in general.

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

The cost of third-level education.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

No idea. I was lucky enough to travel throughout Europe and to the US when working with Head 2 Toe - our expenses were covered so I was cosseted then from real world costs in places like Milan, Paris and New York. But I've also gone to many of these same places on my own. I hitched around Europe twice as a kid and did a summer J1 trip to Boston while at college. I have no great memories of everyday ridiculous prices - mostly I imagine because wherever I go, I tend to avoid the places that charge top dollar.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

I don't have one. But I have a small collection of old Irish coins: a bunch of half crowns, a couple of silver shillings, and some copper from the 1960s. These were given to me by my mum a while back. Someday they may be worth a small fortune because they sure aren't now.

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

I imagine if you added up all the hard cash I've spent on my music collection and equipment over the years, it would be head and shoulders above everything else.

What was your worst job?

I've had many. I've sold insurance door-to-door around the country, washed and packed offal in a meat factory in my hometown of Kildare, and packed gherkins in Germany. But if I was to pick one, it would be the insurance sales gig.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Probably leaving Head 2 Toe in 1994 after five years - but from a sanity perspective, it was a no-brainer.

What was your best financial killing?

Getting the high-budget Reporters At War documentary series commissioned by Discovery in 2003. It was undoubtedly the best gig I've ever worked on. Not only did I get to work on it for eight months, as it was (mostly) my idea, I got a very healthy cut of the production fee and of subsequent international sales.

Your favourite song or tune about money?

Cash Money by Prince Charles and The City Beat Band. It's a cracking tune from my youth.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Plane and train tickets.

Do you ever haggle?

No. My dad used to haggle all the time when we were kids which used to embarrass the crap out of us. I tend to shop around for major purchases anyway, so hopefully get the best price that way.

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

My old man always told me not to buy a car as long as I could get by without one as it would eat up all my money. As soon as he died, I bought my first car, though in fairness it was a cheap yoke so I could get down to mum whenever I wanted. It quickly turned out I needed it for work then anyway.

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