Wednesday 21 March 2018

'My income is not always reliable ... budgeting for the future has been my biggest lesson'

Money talks - Ciara Mageean

Ciara Mageean Photo: Sportsfile
Ciara Mageean Photo: Sportsfile
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Ciara Mageean became only the third Irish woman to win a medal at the European Athletics Championships when she took bronze in the 1500m last July. The 24-year-old athlete, from Co Down, made her Olympic debut at the Rio Games last August.

Mageean will compete in the Irish Life National Championships next month - and in the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Belgrade in March.


What is the most important lesson about money which your career as an athlete has taught you?

To budget. As an athlete, my income is not always reliable and consistent.

Some years, I may be comfortable; in other years, not so.

In my pre-Olympic year, my funding was €500 - as I had a number of years where I was unable to compete due to injury and your grant is performance-dependent.

It is hard to live on that for a year when your rent in Dublin is €600 a month.

So budgeting and planning for future weeks, months and years has been my biggest lesson.


What's the most expensive country you have ever competed in?

All the Scandinavian countries are quite expensive.

Those countries have very good social care and their taxes are higher than ours - but equally their average income reflects that. That's my understanding - though I'm no economist. Luckily, when I travel to races, most expenses are covered.


What's your favourite coin?

I have a few old punts from when Ireland changed to the euro. I like to think that maybe they'll be worth something one day!

Are you better off than your parents?

No. My parents have a house of their own - I am not in a position to purchase a house.

As a 24-year-old who doesn't have any responsibilities, I probably do have a larger disposable income than my parents at times.

My income fluctuates - it's one of the downsides of being a professional athlete.


What's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

My very first car - a wee Toyota Yaris.


What was your worst job?

I've enjoyed all the jobs that I've had. I worked part-time in a sports shop while I was at college so that I could afford to live in Dublin.

I didn't have time for a part-time job while I was in secondary school because I played so much sport.

I've just finished my physiotherapy degree in UCD and I am looking forward to working as a physiotherapist - I love working with people. I also love my running career.

I don't view it as a job, although it is my profession - as well as being a physiotherapist.


What was your biggest financial mistake?

Thankfully I haven't made any major financial mistakes. None that I would lose sleep over. I would like to be a better saver though - that is something I am working on.


What was your best financial killing?

Signing my professional contract with New Balance.


Do you use any money saving apps?

No - my mother sends me advice regularly. I tend to ask for advice when needed.


Android or iPhone?

I was previously using an iPhone before being given a lovely Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge in Rio.


Do you know how much is in your current account?

Yes I do - I use online banking so can see this at the click of a button. Very handy when you are travelling the world for races.


Have you ever made an insurance claim?



Have you ever switched utility provider?

My landlord usually deals with this. However, I have changed bin companies in Dublin - as well as my internet provider. We saved a bit.


Itunes or Spotify?



What was the last thing you bought online?

The Speak Out game - for Christmas.


Do you have a mortgage?



Would you buy property now?

I would love to be on the property ladder but I am not in a position to do so.


Cash or card?



Do you ever haggle?

I'm not much of a haggler - I wish I was.

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