Healthy financial advice for new expats in UAE
Welcome to your new home! You’ve made a big life decision and while that can be scary, we’re here to make sure that you don’t make some of the common financial mistakes that expats tend to make when they move to a new country. Believe us, we’ve been there, done that! So, here’s a list of the most common mistakes – some may seem obvious, but better to be safe than sorry right?
Make sure you don’t live beyond your means!
Yes, the UAE is an amazing place to live in, and it can sometimes feel like you’re on a permanent vacation. Dinners, brunches, pool and beach days, a car, a nice apartment with a sea view…. all those things can add up pretty fast and you may soon find yourself struggling to make ends meet.
Establish good spending habits from the start. Work out a monthly budget and make sure you’ve got your necessities covered before you spend on the “nice-to-have” stuff. And remember to always leave a buffer for those unexpected expenses that are bound to pop up every once-in-a-while.
Save like your life depends on it!
Remember that in the UAE, there is no such thing as a retirement package that the government will give you once you’ve left the workforce. So, it’s your job to save for the future. Yes, you’ll get an end of service payment when you leave your job, but that definitely won’t be enough to cover you for when you retire. And you might be thinking “retirement, that won’t happen for a while!!!” but that day will come sooner that you expect it so trust us. NOW is the time to start planning.
Choose the right bank for you!
Choosing a bank is a long-term commitment, so make sure you’re getting into the right relationship from the get-go! Ask friends and colleagues who they bank with, evaluate the benefits each bank offers, and how easy it is to start banking with them. Stalk them, check out their social media pages, see what kind of content they post, visit their website…basically, run as thorough a background check as you would for a potential date!
The one score that matters!
Football matches. Your Snap score. The number of people you’ve matched with on that dating app. Yes, all those numbers matter BUT, your Credit Score is probably the one score you should start paying more attention to….
As a newcomer to the UAE, you don’t necessarily have a Credit Score that banks can rely on to assess your creditworthiness, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t build it from scratch. You just need to make sure that you keep an income-to-debt ratio that’s less than 50% for banks to consider you for loans. Easier said than done? Probably! But when there’s a will, there’s a way!
Don’t break financial ties with your home country!
Just because you’re now living in the UAE doesn’t mean that you can forget about your financial health in your home country. Reopening bank accounts in your home country without proof of address going back 1 year can be difficult, so it might just make sense to keep your account going with a minimal balance. Also, in some countries, like the USA, maintaining a good credit score is important so keeping a healthy financial status can only be beneficial.