Tariq Qaqish is the head of asset management at Al Mal Capital, an investment bank in Dubai. Born and raised in Amman, Mr Qaqish believes moving to the UAE 15 years ago transformed his fortunes. But despite being a successful businessman, the Jordanian feels the most important aspect of his life is the future of his daughters, aged seven and nine.
How would you describe your financial journey so far?
Successful thanks to the UAE. It's been one of the best decisions taken in my life, to relocate from Jordan to the UAE and that was 15 years back. Believing in the UAE economy is built on surpluses and opportunity where individuals can save money in the long term.
Are you a spender or a saver?
In balance I am a spender more than a saver. I think money is important to live a decent life. I have managed to build my future here.
What is your philosophy towards money?
To me money - and I am not bluffing you - is important as a tool to live a good life but not a goal to meet to be happy. I spend a lot.
Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?
That's the first thing I did, I made a mistake. I opened a business in Jordan three years after finishing university. At that time, I didn't pay attention to the details of the business itself. I lost from the business and at the same time I had to travel abroad to the UAE and pay my debts to the banks. The business was a restaurant catering for tourists. Turbulence around the region and attacks on tourists in Egypt and Palestine from 1995 to 1998 definitely hit our business plan.
Do you believe in planning for the future?
I think everybody should be doing this - first for your family. I have two kids so I have to plan it very well, especially in this environment where life is becoming very expensive and demanding. At the same time, I think the recent financial crisis gave us a warning that we have to think differently and not rely on conventional ways of saving. You have to hedge your currency and hedge against inflation. It's becoming more complicated. Cash is no longer something you can rely on in the future. You have to grow your savings at a higher rate than the inflation rate. Besides that, there are a lot of political events that are facing the region. What the Arab Spring has brought in is a situation where people should think about security and not only financial issues.
Is money important to you?
Yes, of course. It should be there, but at the same time it should not stop you from living a happy life.
What is your idea of financial freedom?
I think satisfaction in this era is really rare. You have lots of greedy people in this time. For me, I think I should try to secure a decent life for my children and help, as much as possible, my family and my society at the same time. So the number is definitely not something you look for. Numbers are changing. Twenty years ago when somebody had a million it was a big amount. In this environment, you pay school fees for your child's education for 15 years. The criteria should be securing at least the best education to your children.
What do you enjoy spending money on?
Enjoying life with my family by going on trips. Exploring the world. Helping my immediate family.