My money: with passion, patience and rigor

Barbara Agostino has dreamed of flying a helicopter since she was a teenager. Andrés Lejona/Maison Moderne

Barbara Agostino has dreamed of flying a helicopter since she was a teenager. Andrés Lejona/Maison Moderne

Founder and director of Crèches Barbara, Barbara Agostino brings passion to everything she does, whether it’s with her company or flying a helicopter. 

Jean-Michel Lalieu: Do you have a motto about money?

Barbara Agostino: ‘Luxury is about money. Elegance is about education.’ A quote from Sacha Guitry that suits me quite well. 

When was the first time you earned your own money?

I come from a family of restaurateurs. My grandmother had a cafe for 30 years in Rodange. I grew up playing cards a lot, and when I was 14 my great-grandmother taught me how to play poker, specifically Bestia, which comes from Italy. At the end of the year, we were allowed to play as a family and, as I was super talented at memorising cards, at the end of 1996, I won around 7000LUF (€175). 

Do you remember a purchase with your first income? 

My mom taught me that everything is earned and takes 'sweat.' So I always worked during the school holidays and, with my first earnings, I bought myself the motorcycle license, which still cost €1,000. Then I bought myself a used Ducati Monster.

Do you have expensive passions?

I am preparing for my helicopter pilot's license. I will be the first woman in Luxembourg to obtain it. I've been dreaming about it ever since I was little, when I watched the Supercopter series. My biggest dream has always been to become an air rescue pilot.

What was your last moment of madness?

A limited edition Harley-Davidson. I’ve become more responsible!

Are you a collector?

Yes, I collect old Vespas. I have six from different eras and also have four old minis.  

What object would you never part with?

Those which are emotionally important to me. In each country or city I visit, I buy an object that marked my trip. It can range from a corkscrew to a very expensive painting. I bought myself a pair of Ray-Bans in New York City, and every time I wear them I think back to that trip.

What’s the worst purchase you’ve ever made?

A new car that I paid dearly for. Too expensive! I regretted it very quickly. My principle is to buy used cars from friends and sell them at the same price after 50,000km. A car immediately loses its value. 

To become rich, it’s necessary to... 

Dare and believe in it above all. Be passionate about what you do. Whatever activity you do, you can get rich. You just have to do things with passion, thoroughness and patience and not be afraid of failure. 

Does the price of certain things bother you?

The price of junk food. It is not expensive because we do not calculate the real costs it generates, such as animal suffering or the destruction of natural resources.

Are there things you don’t spend too much on? 

For love at first sight or when it comes to making my wife, family or friends happy. I’m very fortunate today that I don’t have to keep looking at the price all the time, but I have been there.  

Have you made a massively expensive purchase that you don’t regret?

A house from the 1920s on Boulevard de la Pétrusse. I fought for four years to get it. The previous owner had no heirs, so she eventually went to auction. Very expensive, but… when you love [something], you don’t count.

Do you regularly have cash on you?

Very little. I usually have €30 and two credit cards in my pocket. But I never have a wallet with me. I always travel light (laughs).

You were captain of the national women’s football team.  What do you think of the financial amounts involved in sport? 

It shocks me. In 2005, when I was captain, we had no sports leave, no bonuses, or even the money to buy a pair of shoes. For training, we had the old equipment of the men’s teams. Since then, I have sponsored various women’s teams. I intervene where there is no sponsor. Men are still well sponsored and very visible in the media. But the effort is the same whether you play for a women’s or men’s team. 

This article was originally published in French on Paperjam and has been translated and edited for Delano.