Wednesday 16 October 2019

My money: 'I sold my car so that I could afford the travel for a head coach role'

Jennifer Kwan of the Irish woman's Ultimate frisbee team
Jennifer Kwan of the Irish woman's Ultimate frisbee team

Jennifer Kwan is a member of the Irish women's ultimate frisbee team which beat Switzerland to win gold at the European Ultimate Frisbee Championships last July. Kwan, who moved to Ireland more than 10 years ago, also acted as assistant coach to the Irish women's squad.

Ultimate frisbee has three divisions - men's, women's and mixed. For more information on the teams, visit

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

The importance of budgeting and saving. Ultimate frisbee is 100pc self-funded and the season calendar means that I spend a lot of money in the first half of the year on travel and tournament costs. I try to save a lot in the second half of the year to cover the costs of the upcoming season.

What's the biggest financial challenge you have come across as part of the Irish women's ultimate frisbee team?

During the season (which is the nine months of the year when we're training, playing matches and tournaments), the biggest challenge we have is finding affordable and appropriate training facilities.

There are between 20 and 25 players training on a national team, and we train for at least 10 hours a weekend for between six and eight weekends in a season.

We consider ourselves lucky to train somewhere with a toilet or changing facilities.

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

My dad taught me to recognise what was important to me and to spend my money on that - and to save well so I could do what's important to me.

At the end of the day, I'd rather budget like a student to do things with other people, than to have money and do things alone.

What's the most expensive country you have ever visited?

Switzerland. You could pay €20 for a sandwich and €8 for a pack of crisps - such prices are quite tough when you're playing a tournament for a full weekend and want to eat well.

What's your favourite Irish coin or note?

The €500 note - because then you know you have loads of money! Not that I've had one myself yet.

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

I bought a car a few years ago but I sold it this year so that I could afford the travel and costs to take on the role of head coach for the under-24 men's ultimate team.

What was your worst job?

Any job that has made it difficult to train. I've had long commutes and worked in service jobs with awkward hours. Getting to training with such jobs has been very stressful.

What was your best financial killing?

Well, I lost my Bitcoin account details years ago, so definitely not that!

Are you better off than your parents?

No - I think that our priorities in life so far have been pretty different.

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

I would try to buy and manage training facilities in Dublin for ultimate frisbee and other minority sports - as training facilities are scarce and unaffordable. And I'd buy a house by the sea.

iTunes or Spotify?

Spotify - although my iPod hasn't been updated since 2009.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Frisbee gear.

Would you buy property now?

I have an apartment that I am very happy in, but I wouldn't say no to a house somewhere by the sea so I could go for constant sea swims.

Do you ever haggle?

I try. I grew up in Asia, so haggling is just part of shopping. I don't think that I've got an exceptionally good deal haggling, but I am good at asking for upgrades and discounts and getting them.

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