Quentin Reynolds interview in The Sunday Times
What a Magic way to Make a Living!
AS a school boy, Quentin Reynolds discovered a fascinating hobby: magic. While his friends were busy playing rugby at weekends, he performed at birthday parties, earning money and developing his skills. Quentin studied to be a teacher but soon realised that he could earn more from his hobby so he left college and became a professional magician. Early in his career he specialised in children s shows and polished five-minute acts using only a handkerchief, but he later moved on to perform mind-reading tricks
In his recent show in Dublin Adventures in Astonishment, he amazed audiences by describing objects while blindfolded
and identifying audience-chosen cards by "telepathy".
How much money do you normally have in your wallet? Do you carry anything unusual?
I deliberately don't carry money in my wallet to confuse pick-pockets. The money that I carry
on me, usually €100, is kept in my trouser pocket. I have a playing card in my wallet. When I
meet someone new, I place it on their hand and try to project the name of the card to them. Nine
times out of ten it works.
Do you have a credit cards or store cards? Do you pay them off every month?
I've had a Visa card for 20 years and I use it solely for business purchases. The
statements help with my year-end tax returns I pay it off every month.
Are you a saver or a spender?
The words saver and spender are such labels. I prefer to say that I'm a borrower and an investor. Money spent is gone. Money invested can give returns for the rest of your life. Material things don't mean much to me and I wouldn't care if your new armchair cost €5,000 or came from a skip, as long as it was comfortable.
Have you ever been really broke?
There's a big difference between being broke and being poor. Broke is a temporary situation, while poor is an ongoing mindset.
What is the most lucrative work you have done? Did you use the fee for something special?
I was booked to perform at a private party in Killiney. I've been in thousands of homes but
this one really stood out. It was like Batman's mansion. It was very gothic with giant candelabras throughout the house. I was booked by a Mrs Hewson (Ali Hewson, married to U2's Bono) and it was only after the show that I realised who her husband was.
Do you own your home?
I bought my first house in the1980s. A few years ago I decided to buy an apartment in Dublin city centre which I planned on renting out. I liked it so much, however, that I moved in and I now rent my house. Living in the city, I walk a lot more and all the best shops are on my doorstep.
Do you invest in stocks or have any unit-linked or wrth-profit funds?
Buying stocks means you invest in other people's companies. I believe that the best company is
your own business and that's where I have invested my money. At least I can never be
accused of insider dealing.
What was your worst/best investment?
The worst was purchasing 100 An Post collector stamp packs many years ago. A while back I was having a clear-out and decided to sell them. I was lucky to get my original money back. Tile moral from this story is don't invest in the government. The best investment I ever made was writing and publishing my book.
Do you have a pension or other retirement plan?
I have no plans to retire because I love what I do. However, it is important to be in a position
where you don't have to work if you don't want to.
I have a pension fund but I have little confidence in its performance. Remember, economists predicted 18 of the last two recessions. It's important for people to have something to retire to, otherwise your spirit shrivels. I know many people whose most productive years were over 70.
If you came into money and could Hve anywhere in the worl d, where would it be?
I have friends in Santa Monica, who live six blocks from the Pacific ocean. The weather is
warm and, because they are close to the sea. they don't need air conditioning. You can walk
to the town centre which is pedestrianised, sit out in the morning sunshine and enjoy breakfast.
Do you worry about the future?
I look forward to the future and I am constantly making plans for my golden'years. Many of
them are being brought to fruition. I think it's important to adapt to what life throws at you.
By doing this, you can unearth opportunities that were hidden before you started. Often you
end up somewhere better than you planned. The future is where you'll spend the rest of
your life. Right now, I'm completing a course for entertainers and then I'll begin to write my
next book on how to read minds, which'isn't as difficult as you might think.
Do you manage your own financial affairs? tf not, who does and why?
I manage all my affairs, financial and otherwise.
What is your top financial priority?
That the income from my investments more than covers all my outgoings. This is being independently wealthy. I know a lot of self-employed people who made no provision for their later years and as a result they were forced into a position where they had to continue working, often accepting jobs they detested. If you don't have to worry about the money, you can pick and choose as you see fit.
Do you have a money weakness?
Books and self-help audio tapes. You can turn your car into a rolling university and get the equivalent of a third-level degree listening to tapes while you're stuck in traffic jams.
Have you ever won or surprisingly come into a sum of money?
I've won a few prices in raffles but I have yet to win anything substantial.
Do you play the lottery? What would you do if you won?
I play occasionally, but I usually forget to check the results. If I won, I'd continue doing what I do now — performing, writing and speaking. I'm a man of modest needs, in contrast with my personality which is by no means modest.
Do you donate to charity? If so, which one and why?
Philosophically, it is better to give than receive. It's important to give away up to 10% of your
earnings, financial or otherwise, to a good cause that will have no direct benefit to you.
I usually give to St Vincent de Paul. While in school, and for a few years after, I was a conference member. I saw a lot of poverty and witnessed the benefitsof the St Vincent de Paul weekly visits. They help relieve the financial frustrations and loneliness of people.
What has been your best and worst purchase?
I've just bought a wooden table that came from a haunted house. So far it hasn't done anything spooky.
Anything you buy that doesn't fulfill its intended function is a bad purchase. I hate dealing with people who are completely unprofessional with themselves and their dealings with others. Avoid them at all costs. In return for your money they give you stress and drain your energy.
Do you believe income is a useful barometer of success?
Ever since the Phoenicians invented money there has been been no other way. Truly though, success is what you want it to be. It might be improving your golf handicap or helping someone to read. It might be teaching in school or climbing a mountain. Success is very personal. Money is a useful barometer but it's not the only one.
Where did you learn your attitude towards money?
In Belvedere College, mugging younger pupils for their sandwich money!
If you had an unlimited supply of money for one week, what would be tile iop three items
on your shopping list?
Fort Knox, the Mona Lisa, a juicy fillet steak in Shanahan's restaurant.