Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

UAE’s western expats: risk averse big spenders, suggests survey

The lavish lives of the UAE’s western expats is compared against their counterparts in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The lavish lives of the UAE’s western expats was compared today against their counterparts in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The Standard Life Western Expat Wealth Study founds that 97 per cent of the those polled in the UAE were willing to spend some of their disposable income on luxurious lifestyle choices against only 47 per cent in Hong Kong and 51 per cent in Singapore.

However, in contrast to many recent surveys, the research found that 94 per cent were putting some money away for the purpose of saving and investment but just under a third (31 per cent) had sought out independent financial advice.

“Saving and spending behaviour can be varied with locations and demographics, but it is clear that most become expatriates due to financial factors,” says Chris Divito, the chief executive at Standard Life International (DIFC Branch).

“Most western expats move to high earning, tax friendly cities with the intention to save and secure their financial future. To avoid any pitfalls, it is always advisable to take professional financial advice for long term savings, investments and retirement planning.”

This lack of professional financial counselling is thought to be behind the glaring statistic that only 9 per cent of expats considered equity markets as a preferred investment vehicle against 71 per cent in Hong Kong and 43 per cent in Singapore.

“This suggests an over riding cautiousness when you tie in the respondents were generally younger, 80 per cent were under 45, and they all intend to stay here for over five years so with that extended investment horizon one would think they were able to be more speculative with their investment decisions” said Mr Divito.

“The longer your investment horizon the greater propensity you should have to invest in equities because equities will give you a better return, based on historic returns, over longer periods of time than other asset classes.”

Regardless of the willingness to splash the cash and an aversion to equity markets the UAE expat savers generally believe they are in a good place regarding retirement with 76 per cent believing they will have a sufficient retirement income against 84 per cent in Hong Kong and 47 per cent in Singapore.

“The western expat population have a misplaced confidence in their ability to support their income when they do come to retire and that again may tally with the lack of independent financial advice,” Mr Divito said.

“If you take the UAEs propensity not to take longer term investment decisions, such as equity markets, that would suggest a reckless conservatism as they are not making decisions in terms of an investment profile which will provide them with that confidence to secure themselves in the future.”


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2014 will run until April 24, 2014. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National.

In pictures: Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2014 opens
at Adnec

Key developments and master plans are being unveiled at this year’s property exhibition in the capital.

 A plane flies overhead with a banner criticising former Manchester United manager David Moyes during United's Premier League match against Aston Villa at Old Trafford on March 29, 2014 in Manchester, England. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Manchester United must now search for the ‘anti-Moyes’

'The requirement is for a manager who does not exhibit any of the failings that made Moyes' reign at Old Trafford so painful' writes Richard Jolly on Manchester United's next managerial hire.

 From left, Mansoor Nabil Abdul Ghafar, Mohammed Al Tamimi and Marwan Nabil Abdul Ghafar, three co-owners of Code CrossFit, Abu Dhabi's first CrossFit gym. Ann Marie McQueen / The National / April 2014

Abu Dhabi gets its first CrossFit gym, Code CrossFit, thanks to four Emirati friends

Four Emirati friends have joined forces to open Abu Dhabi's first CrossFit gym, Code CrossFit.

 Salil Ankola, left, and Achint Kaur in a scene from the Hindi film Riwayat (2012). Courtesy Riwayat

The love affair between cricket and cinema in India

We take a look at cricketers who struck gold on the pitch before venturing into Bollywood. Did their success carry over to the silver screen?

 Former Manchester United manager David Moyes, right, speaks to Manchester United's Welsh midfielder Ryan Giggs during a training session at the team's Carrington training complex in Manchester, north-west England on April 22, 2014. Andrew Yates / AFP

Giggs a better fit for Manchester United than Moyes

The winger, who has played 962 games for the club, has been placed in interim charge of the first team and will be assisted by his former Manchester United teammate Nicky Butt.

 One of the 21 duplex penthouses located in the curved sky-bridge at Gate Towers, spanning approximately 300 metres across three towers. Courtesy Aldar

Gate Towers Penthouse Collection on Reem Island launched by Aldar

The 21 duplex penthouses, which are located in the curved sky-bridge and feature private indoor pools and views of the city, were launched at Cityscape Abu Dhabi.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National