The Savings Doctor: Confront challenges to thrift

By Meriem Zahouani

DUBAI 19 November 2017: Leading investment company National Bonds has launched a nationwide campaign to encourage residents in the UAE to confront challenges to saving head-on in a bid to turn the UAE into a nation of savers.

Meriem Zahouani
Meriem Zahouani

The UAE has a reputation for being a country of big spenders but the firm wants to reverse this trend. By calling on members of the public to open up about their financial excuses, using the hashtag #SavingsExcuse, National Bonds aims to raise awareness about the challenges to saving and provide trusted advice on how to save.

So what better place to start than here. So, if you have a burning question for our resident doctor send it to:

Q: I am a 30-year old women working in Dubai and I find it hard to save. I simply do not earn enough money. I am increasingly worried that if I do not start soon, it will be too late. What can I do?

A: It is never too late to start saving. The fact you are even thinking about saving is a positive first step. Whatever stage you are in life, be it 20, 30 or 40, you will have dreams for your future. These dreams often require financial backing, so the question is, how do you make these dreams a reality? The answer is simple. Financial planning.

With so much to experience, it is very easy to throw caution to the wind and plough through your pay cheque each month; however, be mindful of how much you spend each month.

To start, you need to budget and differentiate between your needs and your wants. This means you must pay yourself first. To do this you have to pay your rent, your DEWA bill and any other outgoings before anything else. Your second step is to save. Approximately, 10% to 15% of your income should go to saving and what’s left over, well, that is yours to spend.

Here are some tips to help you budgeting to saving

Know what you spend

• Keep every receipt.
• Record every expense in a notebook or electronic device.
• Review bank and credit card statements.
• Do this for at least three months.
• Make a list of irregular expenses (gifts, donations, car or home repairs, vacations).
• Total your expenses at the end of the month

Areas for saving

• Check your bills.
• Negotiate better plans (banking fees and services, telephone, cell phone).
• Pack a lunch.
• Consider whether you need to own a car, a home or the latest high-tech gadget

Finally, do the math!

Make your budget track your expenses for at least 3 months and analyse your expenditure – how much money do you spend too much on your barista coffee each morning or how many times do you go out for shisha each week?

You do not have to do this on your own. A financial planner can act as your partner through this journey, working with you to identify your goals and based on your current earnings, how you can achieve it. An advisor will also help you on where to save and even invest. For more information and advice on how to get started, contact a Financial Planner:

Happy Saving!

Note: The author, Meriem Zahouani, is  a Certified Financial Planner at National Bonds