Thursday 19 April 2018

'Never take money for granted - it's easier to mind it than to make it...'

Money talks... Eleanor McEvoy

Eleanor McEvoy of Dragons' Den
Eleanor McEvoy of Dragons' Den
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Eleanor McEvoy, one of the two new Dragons on the latest series of RTE's Dragons Den, is founder and chief executive of Budget Energy - an electricity provider in Northern Ireland.

A serial entrepreneur, she previously set up and sold two successful businesses - Pembroke Distributors and Phonecard Warehouse. McEvoy, who is from Limerick, is the eldest of six children - and the only daughter in the family.

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

Never take money for granted. You should always apply the principle that it's much easier to mind it than to make it.

Have you learnt any good financial tricks on Dragons' Den?

No. The part we played in the Den was in an artificial environment. You consider whether or not you would invest in a business in a way you would never do in a normal life. You largely invest on the basis of an interview. Only time will tell if I will learn anything from what I invested in on the Den.

Are you better off than your parents?

Yes. I come from a background where my father worked in Aer Lingus all his life and had six children.

My parents grew up in an era where you didn't spend what you didn't have. They never did things which people do now - such as using credit cards. They lived within their means - and there's nothing wrong with that of course.

What was your worst job?

I detested school so much that work was a joy. There was no job I disliked as such and more importantly, there was no job which I didn't learn from.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

When I do things wrong, I take the view that as long as you survive it, it wasn't much of a mistake. I haven't been perfect but to me a financial mistake is one which hurts you unforgivably. I have never made a financial mistake I haven't recovered from.

What was your best financial killing?

Getting into the electricity business when I did was probably the smartest move I've made - because at the time, it was the beginning of deregulation in the industry. The electricity business is a tough one but we're doing very well in it.

Do you use any money-saving apps?


Android or iPhone?


Do you know how much is in your current account?


Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Yes - after a fire in my home in Dublin.

Have you ever switched utility provider?

Not until I got into the electricity business did I realise the benefit of switching - and I switched after that. In fact, I became my own customer. This can have some unusual advantages - for example, should my bank need a copy of a recent utility statement for any reason, I can ring back to the office and get one produced.

Itunes or Spotify?

Spotify. I try to avoid anything to do with Apple.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Some clothes from

Do you have a mortgage? Is it fixed, variable or tracker?

I am very fortunate not to have a mortgage. I settled my mortgage when I made money from selling Phonecard Warehouse in 2006.

Would you buy Irish property now?

Yes, I think Ireland is in a good place economically, and that we'll be in a good place for a few years - as long as Brexit doesn't go the wrong way. I don't think Brexit is very likely to happen though.

Cash or card?

Always card - I hate carrying cash.

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