“When I was fired during confinement, I had the chance to spend more time with my wife and my son”

John Fulham has competed at the Paralympic Games four times. In 2003, he won the European Paralympic 100m and 200m sprint championships – and he broke the European 100m sprint record at the time. Originally from Castletroy in County Limerick, he now lives in Donabate in Dublin with his wife Mary and their five year old son Harry. He was President of Paralympics Ireland for several years and he works with the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA). Earlier this month, he kicked off the Liberty Race, a virtual race that runs between December 2-5. The race will help raise funds for IWA – Liberty Ireland donating € 1 to IWA for each participant who completes the race. . For more information, visit www.carreraliberty.es.

What is the most important lesson about money this Has your sports career taught you?

Prioritize and improvise. In sports, money is hard to come by, so you need to prioritize how you spend it. If you don’t have enough money to enter a contest, you find ways to get it – hence improvisation.

What did the coronavirus crisis teach you about money?

It taught me how easily you can waste money – if you’re not careful. With Covid, you couldn’t casually spend disposable money. Covid
suddenly made us realize how much we had spent on other things before. I was fired for five months during the lockdown – but it gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my wife and Harry.

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

That you have to work for your money and it doesn’t come easily. My parents would have taught us that.

Do you always carry cash?

I always have a small amount of money in my wallet because a card is not accepted everywhere. I have always been aware of the joy of electronic payments, having managed the AIB payment suite for many years.

How much would you pay the most for a bottle of wine?

€ 100 is the highest price I paid for a bottle of wine – but this was an exception and for a special occasion. You don’t have to spend a lot to buy good wine.

What’s your favorite room?

I loved the 50p and the kicking piece with the deer on it. I like old coins. I’m not that crazy about new parts.

If you could design your own euro banknote, who would you put on it?

Being from Limerick, it would be Anthony Foley, the former [and late] Munster Rugby player and coach.

What is the most expensive country you have visited?

Switzerland. It is generally a very expensive country. Eating out and drinking out was expensive there.

Your biggest financial mistake?

I did not start a pension early enough in life. When you’re young, you don’t want to think about it. I bought my house in 2008 and am glad I did.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I am a saver – I am quite thrifty. I have no problem paying money for quality, but I wouldn’t spend money willy-nilly.

The last thing you bought online?

Books – and a Top Trumps card game for my son.

Would you buy Irish property now?

I wouldn’t buy in Dublin – because you don’t get what you pay for there. I can see the value for money in property in the country however.

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

For the first six months, I wouldn’t do anything. I would keep him quiet. I would invest a good part of it. I would help my loved ones. I wouldn’t go crazy spending. I would give some to charity.

What three things could you not do without if you tighten your belt (i.e. save money)?

My TV. Warmth (for a warm home). Food. Everything else is dispensable.

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