Spending Habits: I grew up with a clear idea about money

Orla Cooney is General Manager at Magico.com, an agency that has been providing ecommerce solutions to the Irish and UK markets for 20 years.
Spending Habits: I grew up with a clear idea about money

Orla Cooney, General Manager at Magico. Photograph by John Kelly

Orla Cooney is General Manager at Magico.com, an agency that has been providing e-commerce solutions to the Irish and UK markets for 20 years.

What is your relationship with money?

Money isn’t my primary motivator, but that said it is important to me. Like everyone, not having it makes me uncomfortable.

I was raised in a family business so I was lucky enough to grow up with a very clear understanding of the value of money from an early age. I understood where money came from and that you worked hard to have some. It’s a lesson that has served me well throughout my life and career to date.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I’m definitely not a spender when it comes to spending money on myself. I’m well able to spend on others though!

Do you find it hard to splurge?

Yes! I have always procrastinated over purchases for myself (but I've been working on challenging that thinking over the last 18 months!) I remember 6 weeks before my wedding staring longingly at a beautiful brown leather jacket in Massimo Dutti. 

My mother and mother-in-law-to-be were with me and both suggested I buy it. It took two days of procrastinating, but I finally went back to the shop to buy it. In my mind, I just couldn’t justify spending a few hundred euro on an impulse buy, at such an expensive time in our lives. They thought I was daft! 

I still wear the jacket so there's a lesson in that. Invest in good pieces, that will be staples in your wardrobe for years to come.

What is the best money-related advice you were ever given?

I was raised with the mantra of spending only what you could afford and paying off your credit card every month! While I didn’t always adhere to it, it was great advice that I only really appreciated when the credit card bill mounted up!

Do you follow a budget and what is your process?

I can't say I have anything written down but our monthly incomings and outgoings are pretty routine, so I stick to that and anything outside of it would be well considered.

What's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

Our home, where I live with my husband, Ronan and our 3 children. Seeing hard-earned euros being invested in foundations, insulation and building materials instead of clothes, dinners and holidays was hard, but looking back we were lucky. We built our once-off home in the last 10 years. 

At that time, the cost of materials and labour was a fraction of today’s cost. We are so delighted to be settled in our home now and while it was a big investment for us, we realise how privileged we were to be able to do it.

What is the most important thing you have ever bought?

A drink for the guy I met at a party in the upstairs bar of Busker Browns in Galway 17 years ago. He bought me chips after that. We are 10 years married this month!

What age did you start your pension and did you know it was important at the time?

I started a pension when I started working with Magico. I can't say that it was important to me at the time, it was more that I appreciated it was something I should do. 

As my husband and I get older, and we see our own parents retiring, we as a couple are already more aware of our pension investments and thinking to the future.

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made financially and what is the lesson you take from it?

I invested in an apartment at the height of the boom. It was a bad investment as there have been numerous issues with the quality of the build and the property is now in negative equity, unlikely to ever return to the price I paid for it. 

Like many my age, I thought I was doing the sensible thing, getting started with a good career, moving back in home to save and starting out on the property ladder. 

It has taught me to stop and think. Life doesn’t always have to follow a pre-defined path. Do what makes you happy and what fits with your life. It may work out just as well, or even better for you in the end.

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