x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Investing in one's passions

Money and me: Amanda Line is a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers Academy in the UAE which has just launched the PwC Mini MBA in the region.

Amanda Line is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Academy in the UAE. Antonie Robertson / The National
Amanda Line is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Academy in the UAE. Antonie Robertson / The National

Amanda Line is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Academy in the UAE, which has just launched the PwC Mini MBA in the region. Previously, she was the Middle East director for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, based in Dubai. A lifelong accountancy training professional, she also launched a vocational school in Singapore.


Is money important to you?

Money is important to me in the sense that I am a qualified accountant and so money and business have played a central role in my career. Money has allowed me to invest in what I am passionate about, particularly education; I have spent most of my career building businesses that give people a chance to change their lives by offering them opportunities that come from having an education beyond school and university, such as the professional financial qualifications ACCA and CFA. But mostly, I would say, it is financial security that is important to me; being able to pay the bills; pay for a great education for my children and knowing that if someone is sick I can pay the medical bills.


What is your philosophy regarding money?

On a personal level my philosophy is to have enough money so that it's not something to worry about but not too much that knowing what to do with it becomes a worry instead. I think money can be about improving quality of life and there are many ways to do this. I have chosen to do it by investing in training and education - directly in my own and in my children's, but also indirectly by building businesses that educate and train others. The world is changing so quickly and we all need to learn the right skills and learn fast in order to keep up.


How would you describe your financial journey so far?

Enlightening. Thanks to having trained as a chartered accountant I have always been able to work and earn a reasonable salary but I haven't always invested wisely. The businesses I have started have either made a lot of money or lost a lot of money but I have learnt a great deal along the way - for example, stick to businesses that I understand and do things that I am really passionate about.


Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?

Of course, who hasn't? When I was 10 years old and my brother was too young to tell the time, I sold him my broken watch for $5 (he's now the CEO of a listed company and a lot less gullible). My parents were so mad I had to return the $5 and I didn't get any pocket money for three months - an important lesson about having a quality product when it comes to making money. A lesson I learnt later on in my business career is that it can be a mistake not to spend enough when you are starting a company. For example, not spending enough to get the best people is, in my experience, a mistake.


Do you believe in planning for the future?

Yes, although this in itself is a challenge. As well as living longer, where we live and the way we live is changing so fast it's difficult to know what to plan for. It's not the same as it was for our parents, who could more easily picture their retirement years and plan their finances accordingly.


Are you a spender or a saver?

A healthy balance of both I hope. When I was younger I was a spender (I have awkward memories of conversations with my father about my overdraft) but age and responsibility and I suppose a much more mature understanding of the role of money has turned me into a saver. I really believe that we should be teaching kids whilst they are still at school a lot more about how to manage money, how to plan and budget, how to understand the risks of investing and borrowing. These are life skills that they need to pick up much earlier on, lack of financial education can often have disastrous consequences.


What do you enjoy spending money on?

To be honest I like spending money on building businesses, on the best education for my children and on anti-wrinkle cream. When I have run out of time and energy for business and my children have flown the nest I hope that I will have more time and money to deal with the wrinkles.