60 seconds with: Ted Dwyer, Founder, Ted Dwyer Family Business

Business, Interviews | Tue 5 Dec | Author – Business & Finance ted dwyer ted dwyer family business
Ted Dwyer, Founder, Ted Dwyer Family Business Free (Photo: Gerard McCarthy)

Ted Dwyer, Founder, Ted Dwyer Family Business, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

Trainee financial advisor with Pat Dineen in Cork in 1967.

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Being the oldest financial advisor in Ireland to qualify as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) at UCD in 2011 when Ireland’s first CFPs graduated. The fact that my son Eamon, who now runs City Life, which I founded in 1971, also qualified that day (as one of the youngest in Ireland!) was very special.

Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?

Enjoying your work.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

50 years ago, a work colleague, Tom Jackson, said: “You would spend your entire working life building a good reputation, but you could lose it in a moment by doing something stupid.”

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

I love working so I don’t need motivation. I try to get the people I work with to enjoy their work, too.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?

Definitely horse trainer Aidan O’Brien. What a fascinating man and what a wonderful Irish family business success story. This year Aidan has won more Group 1 winners than any trainer has ever done and his son Joseph beats him into second place in perhaps the biggest race in the world, the Melbourne Cup. You couldn’t script that story!

Q. How do you relax?

That’s easy – I play golf, walk the dog, fish sometimes by the bank of the River Blackwater; I don’t catch much, so it’s very relaxing! Cricket or horse racing or rugby on the TV is something my wife Mary says I do a lot of!

Q. What’s your motto?

Always put yourself in danger of doing business with someone.

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

My son Eamon runs City Life in Cork, while Pat O’Dwyer runs the Galway operation. City Life is now nearly 47 years in business, and after a few tough years, Eamon and Pat are driving the businesses on better than I even did, so that is very satisfying. I am still very much involved but I am also building a family business succession consultancy. I started this new business in early 2017 and it’s called Ted Dwyer Family Business. For this business I hope to work with a small number of family businesses each year, to help them move their business, like I did, to the next generation. Family businesses are my passion.

Being the oldest financial advisor in Ireland to qualify as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) at UCD in 2011 when Ireland’s first CFPs graduated. The fact that my son Eamon, who now runs City Life, which I founded in 1971, also qualified that day (as one of the youngest in Ireland!) was very special.

Ted Dwyer Family Business is a consultancy business run by Ted Dwyer that offers family businesses emotional and practical financial advice on succession planning. Over the last 30 or so years, Ted has advised numerous family businesses on succession planning, based largely upon his own personal experience, having himself been involved in a number of family businesses including founding City Life in 1971.