Belfast Telegraph

I'm careful with money except when it comes to caravans

By Staff Reporter

Every week we ask a businessperson about their finances. This time around, we talk to Richard Gardiner, partner of assurance, forensic and transaction services at accountants RSM, tells us why he’s definitely not an impulse buyer

Q: Are you a plastic or cash person?

A: Definitely a plastic person.

Q: How much money do you usually carry around with you?

A: None. I rely entirely on plastic. I am a huge fan of contactless technology. Plastic makes it easier to keep track of everything you have spent during the month.

Q: Do you see personal debt (ie: credit card, personal loans) as inevitable, or best avoided?

A: I think it is more about you managing your debt and not your debt managing you. Sometimes you need debt, but the key thing is to make sure you are able to pay it back within a reasonable time.

Q: Apart from a house or car, what's the most expensive thing you've ever bought?

A: A caravan in Donegal - well, three, actually, over 20 years. They have been our best investment as a family and have given us many memorable holidays.

Q: Are you a saver or a spender?

A: Tough one. Like most people I am a bit of both. Finding a balance is key.

Q: What are your best - and worst - spending habits?

A: Best is that I am generally not impulsive, which can sometimes drive my wife crazy. Worst is that I tend to have to buy products of the best quality, which has its downside in terms of cost.

Q: Did you get pocket money as a child and, if so, what was the first sum you received in pocket money?

A: I did indeed. I got 10p a week, which seems like so little now but back then I could buy a magazine and sweets and still have change left,over. The Beezer was only 5p.

Q: If you had a huge fortune, would you leave it to your children?

A: I'd certainly leave part of it to them and make sure they were provided for - but there are a lot of other things I'd do too. I've had the opportunity to work with communities in countries like India, Ghana and South Africa over the years and a small portion would make a huge difference to those communities.

Q: Did you have a part-time job as a youngster?

A: The short answer to that is no...

Q: Where do you do your food shopping?

A: We live in Ballyhackamore, which has some great local shops. The fruit and veg shop and the deli are particularly good and I often go to the farm shop for meat. Supporting the local economy is hugely important.

Q: Did the recession teach you anything about personal finances that you're bringing with you into the recovery?

A: Yes, it clearly demonstrated that planning ahead for whatever uncertainties the future might hold is key.

Richard Gardiner at RSM is available at tel: 028 9023 4343 and

Belfast Telegraph

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