“My biggest financial mistake was losing money to a fund managed by Anglo Irish”

Before becoming a bestselling author, Sheila O’Flanagan worked in banking. She became Ireland’s first female chief trader and wrote her first books while maintaining her job as a trader. O’Flanagan’s 30th book, What Eden Did Next, has been shortlisted for Popular Fiction Book of the Year at the An Post Irish Book Awards and the winners will be announced on Wednesday. O’Flanagan lives in Dublin with her husband Colm.

What lessons from your time in banking have you carried with you to this day?

That bankers don’t know everything about money and make forecasts just as wrong as everyone else. It is important to make your own financial decisions.

Was there a financial sacrifice in leaving the banking industry to pursue writing full-time?

Yes, because although I got an advance from my publishers when I left, it was a lot less than what I was earning at the time. However, I returned that in royalties, so it worked out in the end, although there was an initial sacrifice.

Have you made changes to your energy consumption due to the energy crisis?

I was there during the oil crisis in the 1970’s, so I grew up in a home where we didn’t leave lights on or doors open. I’ve never really lost that mentality and I’ve always kept the thermostats relatively low and just put on a heavier sweater when I was cold. I also keep some heavy throws at home to wrap up warm in front of the TV.

What was the most expensive place you have ever visited?

Everyone says the cost of living in the States is low, but I found San Francisco expensive.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about money?

‘Always leave something for the other man.’ It’s a quote we used in finance and it meant “never try to buy at the absolute lowest price or sell at the absolute highest”. Leave something for someone else. I have adapted this into my everyday life by being aware of the effort people put into their work and also recognizing it financially.

Aside from real estate, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

my cars My first car was an absolute rust bucket but the first time I could afford to buy a brand new car I did it despite everyone saying it’s a crazy thing. But I like driving and I like comfort. My current car is a Lexus EV and it’s lovely to drive.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

I had some money in a fund managed by Anglo Irish Bank and when it collapsed the money in the fund was liquidated.

Are you a donor or a saver?

A bit of both. I’m not a frivolous shopper, but if I have a nice chunk of money I’m happy to spend it on something valuable (see new cars!).

Would you buy Irish property now?

Real estate is a long-term investment and will only increase in value over time. I remember buying my second house around the downturn and it went down in value. But I ended up selling it for a profit.

Do you have a pension?

I have a small pension from my time in financial services, but I have no private pension.

What was your biggest career mistake?

Not being more aggressive about taking on certain roles when I was in finance. To believe that the loudest voices knew the most.

What was your best financial murder?

I bought a really small number of Apple stock years ago because I loved the products. I’ve probably reinvested much of the profits into Apple products since then, but I still have a few left.

What did you learn about money from your parents?

That it’s not the most important thing in life, it gives you choices.

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/my-biggest-financial-mistake-was-losing-money-to-a-fund-managed-by-anglo-irish-42158055.html “My biggest financial mistake was losing money to a fund managed by Anglo Irish”

Fry Electronics Team

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