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'No matter what you earn, save something'

MY MONEY

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RTE journalist Justin McCarthy

RTE journalist Justin McCarthy

RTE journalist Justin McCarthy

Justin McCarthy has worked as a journalist with RTÉ for several years. He is well-known as the co-presenter of This Week, which airs Sundays at 1pm on RTÉ Radio 1.

McCarthy is from Cork and now lives in Dublin with his wife Kathyann, and has two daughters, Ella and Molly.

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

I try to listen to expert advice and act on it if I can. Working in radio, you find yourself speaking regularly with experts who often have very sensible suggestions like switching electricity and gas providers, changing health insurers or moving mortgage provider - all of which can save you a lot of money. I make time once a year to switch my energy suppliers, and contact my bank to make sure I'm on the best mortgage rate.

The best advice you ever got about money?

My dad always drilled it into us: no matter what you earn, save something. It's good advice which has served me well.

The most expensive country you ever visited?

A long time before my wife and I were married, I took her to Copenhagen for her birthday. We were living on a small budget at the time, and quickly realised Copenhagen is not cheap.

After miscalculating the exchange rate, we ended up blowing most of our spending money on a meal on our first night there. We spent the next few days living on hot-dogs and the free beer we got from the Carlsberg brewery tour.

What's your favourite Irish coin or note?

My mum has a small collection of old pounds, shillings and pence.

They're not worth much, but every now and again, she takes them out when we visit Cork to show my daughters, and tells them stories from her own childhood.

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

My car. It's a 2004 Toyota Avensis. It's like a battered old workhorse. My friends laugh because despite being 16 years old, it keeps passing the NCT and refuses to die. It's probably been the best investment I ever made.

What was your worst job?

I spent a summer cleaning bricks from an old building which had been knocked down so they could be reused. The people I worked with were great, but the pay was terrible and the work was so repetitive I often get a recurring dream that I'm still doing it.

What was your best financial killing?

I don't hold any shares or anything like that, but I benefited from the Special Savings Incentive Account scheme introduced by Charlie McCreevey in 2001. It helped me save for a deposit on my home.

Are you better off than your parents?

I always think that there is more than one currency, and having time away from work has a value of its own. I grew up in a one-income household where my dad worked and my mum minded four children.

I'm probably financially better off because both myself and my wife work. But because we both work, it means we can be time-poor.

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

I would look after my family, and make sure my daughters had enough money for the future so that they could do anything they wanted - but not so much that they would do nothing at all.

iTunes or Spotify?

Spotify. My girls love music - our house would be less fun if I stopped my subscription.

Would you buy Irish property now?

No. I don't want to be a landlord.

Do you ever haggle?

I'm not sure if it counts as haggling, but if you ring your cable TV provider and tell them they're charging too much, they usually reduce your bill for a few months. It works for me.

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

My phone, my bike and health insurance.

Sunday Independent