7 Steps for Financial Success

What To Do Before You Start Saving

One of the many reasons people move to Dubai is the tax-free salary. Often this salary is higher than they would have earned in their home country for a similar job. So what’s the best thing to do with all this extra money?

Spending money in Dubai is very easy compared to other GCC states. It is the city most GCC nationals come to in order to shop. There are more shopping malls and 5-star hotels in this city than anywhere else in the Middle East and many more are planned. Every luxury good manufacturer and sports car marque can be found here.

With your newly found income, it is always tempting to live a luxurious lifestyle and many people fall into this trap often leaving with debts and nothing to show for their years in the Middle East. Try not to be one of them. I’m not saying you should not have a good time, just don’t get into debt over it and never allow yourself to get in a position where you do not pay off your credit card in full at the end of every month. Have a plan. For your plan to be effective it must be clearly defined in terms of what you are going to do and by when. You must remain committed to it. Finance will only be part of this plan but it is an important part as most plans need money to finance them.

During my time in Dubai, I have met people who have an amazing propensity to save and who have been earning relatively little. I have met very high earners who still feel they need more money to make ends meet and cannot account for much of their expenditure. My conclusion is that it is not what you earn that is the problem but what you spend and you must never spend more than you earn.

Emergency Fund

If you don’t already have sufficient cash in an offshore bank account to cover at least 3 months expenses but preferably 6, then you should continue to save money until you are at that level. This is your emergency fund.

Depending on where you come from, employee rights and practice may be very different from your home country, so you need this emergency fund as a form of self-insurance against the unexpected: loss of income, emergency flights home for you and your family; car repairs, sudden unforeseen expenses etc.


Stuart Porter - Expat Financial Advisor UAE
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