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  • Tamara Wright

Three Reasons You Are Not Rich in Dubai

First of all, ‘rich’ has a slightly different meaning for everyone but for the purposes of my blog name I mean ’rich’ in the materialistic sense of the word.


In the English Dictionary, rich is “having a great deal of money or assets” which is quite a limited definition.

I would also say earning enough to live happily and comfortably without stress of being in debt or fear of not having enough money.


Adopting and maintaining sustainable financial habits which enables your riches to grow and maintain the same level of lifestyle throughout life and retirement.


But more importantly, it doesn’t matter how much you earn if you don’t know how to spend it. This is the key difference between someone who is rich and someone who is poor.


Most of us expats are earning at least 20% more income compared with our home countries, so why do the majority of people leave worse off than they came?


Here are 3 reasons you might not be rich. Yet.


1. Because you went to Brunch. Ok not just brunch. Living in Dubai makes it near on impossible not to follow the ‘Dubai lifestyle’ of jaw-dropping malls, irresistible restaurants and the infamous Friday brunches. The city is literally designed around sucking all the money out of us it can. You need a credit card? Have 3! Have you ever heard the saying that ‘wealth isn’t what you see, it’s what you don’t see’? People are rich not despite driving an old car, but because of it.* But an old car isn’t as sexy is it? It’s not as ‘Dubai’. As human beings we have a tendency to consume and spend what we have therefore the little we do have leftover we end up spending mindlessly on things we don’t need and can’t actually afford. Calculate the true cost of what you could be saving if you did, for example, one less Brunch per month and learn how to avoid temptation and say no (sometimes, not all the time). It could make all the difference.


2. Because you shop at Waitrose. Hey what’s in a few dirhams? Well actually a lot, especially if its on a regular basis. Shopping in Carrefour over Spinney’s and making your lunch at home rather than buying something at work are all examples of how we can save money by avoiding unnecessarily splurging. Some more tips and tricks I have learned over the past couple of years include: checking Groupon for deals before making plans, finding happy hours and choosing metro over taxi if you can. Remember to always use local currency (dirhams) if you have a foreign card and, just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it’s a bargain if you didn’t need it in the first place. Avoid borrowing money/credit cards, if you can’t afford it it’s probably not worth the stress. Live within your means. Dubai can often feel like living a holiday which is why it’s important to try and get out of that frame of mind and in some ways think of your future by coming up with a mini budget (yes I said the B word) just to control spending. For tips on budgeting this may help.


3. Because you haven’t started yet. Start now. Don’t wait for the promotion, for the raise, for the new year. It doesn’t matter how small you start. Just save consistently. Write down a goal to work towards or a target. The next 10 years could bring anything from kids to insurance to retirement or a mortgage. Make sure you are as prepared as can be. Treat yourself when it’s earned. The most important thing isn’t the amount it’s that you are learning and getting into the habit of saving. Set up a separate savings account, either in the bank or with a financial planner to see growth and returns. Even someone with an average salary has the potential of becoming a millionaire if they save consistently enough over a long period of time. The power of compounding. Start small and gradually increase the amount you put away. Being rich isn’t the latest iPhone or flashy car, it’s being able to survive through bumps in the road and not come undone when your car needs repairing or you have taken a salary cut.


Appreciate the journey, even if you are not where you want to be and focus on the growth. Every season serves a purpose.


This blog was brought to you by someone who knows money doesn't equal happiness but is open to learning new tips and tricks that could avoid future stress. Stress should be avoided at all costs!

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