Friday 14 December 2018

My Money: 'I paid $40 for a glass of ordinary whiskey in NY'


Mary Hegarty
Mary Hegarty Business

Renowned soprano Mary Hegarty was born in Cork. She studied singing in the Cork School of Music and then went on to represent her country internationally - and to build up an impressive career throughout Europe on the operatic stage and in regular broadcasts with RTE and the BBC.

She has her own solo album, A Voice Is Calling. Hegarty will be performing at the 'Finding a Voice' festival in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, which runs from March 8 to 10. For more details, visit


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

Save when things are good, as the income in this profession is precarious and inconsistent from month to month.

What's your favourite song about money?

Money, Money, from the movie Cabaret. It's a terrific, acerbic song, dripping in irony.

What's the most expensive country you ever visited?

It's certainly possible to go through money quickly in the United States. I've had recent experiences of $40 (€32) for a glass of pretty ordinary whiskey in a New York Jazz Club, $120 for a smart-casual lunch, and $240 for a ticket to the opera - though that was worth every penny to hear Renee Fleming at her best. Other recent breath-takers include a train ticket in Britain and a glass of table wine in Helsinki.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

I've just bought my husband a birthday present of the first set of Irish coins from 1928. They have those beautiful animal designs. I particularly love the half-crown with the horse.

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

My first, and only brand-new car - a lovely gold-coloured Opel Corsa I called Vera!

What was your worst job?

I've been very fortunate to have been working as a performer since I was a teenager, and I still love every minute of it.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Buying a house at the height of the bubble.

What was your best financial killing?

Buying a house in the depths of the recession.

Are you better off than your parents?

Money wasn't an issue growing up. We were happy with what we had - and I'm lucky to be still in that position.

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

Secure family and friends as much as possible, do good works, and have a little fun.

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

My first accountant told me to put away as close to half as possible of my earnings in a separate tax account. Sad, but true.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes, I made a minor house insurance claim for water damage.

iTunes or Spotify?

iTunes at the moment - I love the serendipity and the ability to access a whole world of music. I still have squillions of CDs and records though.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Musical equipment.

Would you buy property now?

No - I'm happy with what I have.

Do you ever haggle?

I always haggle. Recently I got a good discount on household appliances - very satisfying!

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

Proper coffee, old-world wine, and Cadbury's chocolate.

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