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My money: 'We bought at height of boom and now find it tricky to move'



Clare McKenna

Clare McKenna

Clare McKenna

TV and radio broadcaster Clare McKenna presents Newstalk's health and wellness show, Alive and Kicking. She has previously presented the morning television show Ireland AM and co-presented Spin 103.8's talk show for seven years.

Alive and Kicking airs on Sundays from 9am and can also be watched on podcasts on newstalk.com.

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

That you need to go with the flow. Sometimes the waters run high and sometimes things ebb a little - but it all works out in the end!

The best advice you ever got about money?

Neither a borrower nor lender be - I got that advice from my dad. Though I've borrowed from him and my mum many times over the years.

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

Childcare, clothing, activities, extra seats and beds on holidays. It's all expensive, but they're oh so worth it.

The most expensive country you ever visited?

Los Angeles was pretty pricey when myself and my husband were there, pre-kids, a few years back.

What's your favourite Irish coin or note?

A hundred-euro note is always exciting, but you're usually getting one in a bunch from the bank to pay for something big - so they never seem to last long. More common in my day-to-day is the €2 coin, which is good and chunky.

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

Aside from a car purchase, I did splash out on my wedding shoes and recently bought what I'd call an investment winter coat. I nearly bought the coat five seasons in a row, but thought it was too extravagant.

However, after years of freezing early starts for Ireland AM and hours in parks and playgrounds, I treated myself this winter and I haven't looked back.

What was your worst job?

I worked in a city centre night club collecting glasses one night. I'd no flat shoes so borrowed my flatmate's who was a full size smaller. They felt fine for the first hour but four hours later, I was literally crippled. Worst of all, it was my first night and when I limped out of there after a six-hour shift, I was told that you don't get paid for a trial night. I never went back.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

We bought at the height of the boom and are now finding it tricky to move on to something that would suit our changing family. However, there wasn't another option at the time and I know we're in a better position than many.

What was your best financial killing?

I'm fussy about how bags are packed in a supermarket - my husband isn't though and he would have eggs and cleaning products together.

So one afternoon, to get him to leave the bag packing to me, I told him to enter a competition the shopping centre was running. His name was picked out and a few weeks later he won €10,000 in vouchers for the centre. I was pregnant with our son so it came at a great time. We bought loads of baby stuff, treated some family and friends, and went on a holiday. So it pays to be fussy about bag packing!

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

Sort the house issue I just mentioned; live debt-free; take the kids to Disney; and help people out through charity and also closer to home. I'd still want to work.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

When we lived in a duplex, one of the empty apartments above us had a leak and vast amounts of water seeped into our house. Block insurance paid for us to get dried out, repainted and some floors replaced and we were only in a few weeks. I never knew water could cause so much damage.

Would you buy Irish property now?

Yes - but as a second-time buyer, I need a 20pc deposit and it takes time to save for that when paying a high rent, subsidising the mortgage for our house which we rent out, as well as paying the tax on that [rental] income.

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