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The one question that determines your future wealth




Inflation is an inherently personal thing. We quantify it in general terms with headline figures, but don't be fooled. Inflation isn't the same for everyone.

In Ireland, the inflation rate has fallen over the past few months from 9.6% in July to 7.7% in December, but this doesn't mean that everyone's life is now 7.7% more expensive.

How inflation affects you will differ depending on your age, location, job, savings and investments.

There will be winners and losers: net buyers and net sellers.

Let's take an example.

You bought a house before 2020 vs. you're looking to buy a home in 2023.

For those who bought pre-2020:

Initial fixed rate at 3% or lower (many of these will be approaching their fixed rate cliff)
Up to 40% increase in home value since purchase
Your mortgage repayments have remained constant while the value of your home has increased dramatically.

Yes, you're paying more for eggs, but your debt as a percentage of household net worth is considerably lower.

You're wealthier now than you were before the pandemic, in both absolute and relative terms, due to the inflation tied to your most significant asset.

Over two thirds of the Irish population have a mortgage or own their home outright.

For many of these, inflation has been a net positive due to the housing effect - a wealth-creation event.

For those looking to buy a home now, the past three years have created a very different scenario.

Wealth destruction

According to the Central Statistics Office, the average house price index has gone from €293,000 to €359,000 since 2019, an increase of €66k. Mortgage rates are now starting to increase. This is set to continue as the ECB looks to raise its deposit rate to 3.5%. (ECB rates were negative in 2019). As such, recent inflation has had a materially negative impact on both the purchasing power of the savings accumulated to buy a house and the future debt burden that the mortgage represents. The same inflation. Two very different outcomes.

The property divide

This is the very essence of how wealth gaps materialise, playing out in real time at an accelerated pace.

Many factors drive wealth inequality in Ireland, but it's bizarre to think that the side of the wealth divide you find yourself on may be determined by simply asking the question.

Did you own a home before the pandemic started or not?

With 70% of Irish wealth tied up in housing, the wealth effect of rising house prices is particularly strong relative to the rest of the world.


Don't just listen to the headline numbers. Figure out how inflation is affecting you personally.

Are you being crushed by rising prices, or are you a net benefactor as prices increase?

Everyone isn't on the same boat here. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you can do something about it.

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Killarney to feature on TG4’s Country Music show

By Sean Moriarty A song about Killarney – once made famous by local Country Music hero Dermot Moriarty – will feature on TG4 tomorrow night (Tuesday). The second series of […]




By Sean Moriarty

A song about Killarney – once made famous by local Country Music hero Dermot Moriarty – will feature on TG4 tomorrow night (Tuesday).

The second series of the Irish channel’s County Music show ‘Viva Ceol Tire’, which highlights emerging Country Music talent in Ireland, airs every Tuesday night at 9.30pm.

The next programme will feature Donegal singer David James’ version of ‘Oh Killarney’.

The programme was filmed entirely on location in Killarney including Torc Waterfall, Ladies View Moll’s Gap and Kate Kearney’s Cottage.

“The song was written by Dennis Allen. However, it was a hit for Dermot Moriarty in the 1980s. The first time I heard it I loved it and I was thrilled with the reaction my version has got,” James, who is from the small village of Killean in Donegal, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It’s pretty rural but I love it. I’ll be in Country Music 10 years this May. My first gig was in the local GAA hall for my aunt’s 50th birthday. I was 14 and I’ve been at it ever since.”



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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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