x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Learning to save in Abu Dhabi

Money and me: Moritz Klein, the general manager for the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa and area general manager for Anantara, says he is careful with his money but it was not until he moved to Abu Dhabi that he started saving for his retirement.

After he came to the Emirates, Moritz Klein realised he needed to plan for retirement. Delores Johnson / The National
After he came to the Emirates, Moritz Klein realised he needed to plan for retirement. Delores Johnson / The National

Moritz Klein, the general manager for the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa and area general manager for Anantara,has been in the hospitality industry for 28 years and worked all over the world. Mr Klein, from Germany, says he is careful with his money but it was not until he moved to Abu Dhabi more than nine years ago to work for Rotana that he started saving for his retirement.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I think I'm a saver. I somehow prefer that people owe me money, not the other way around. I always feel paranoid of being in huge debt and I don't like to owe people something. When my credit card statements come in, they are immediately paid.

What is your philosophy regarding money?

It's nice to have, of course. On the one side I would like to have more and more and more. On the other side, I think I could live with the basics. I try to remember where I come from and that it could always be over tomorrow.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

Of course I did. I always think I am the worst investor on the planet. Watch me and don't buy what I buy because the minute I buy it will lose value. I haven't bought stocks but I have some investments for my pension. I had this big argument with this person who looks after [my investment] when the crisis hit and said I would have been better off putting it under the mattress in cash. However, I left it in there, didn't touch it and it recovered again. I also like to buy things when they are new; I probably lose some money when I buy a car because I buy it new and the resale value is not as good as when you buy it already used. But major bad investments? No.

Do you believe in planning for the future?

I do, even if I'm very bad at it on a personal level. I started very late. Being a German, you always take care of your pension funds or whatever you have. But when I left Germany they stopped for me and I always had the [attitude] that I can start saving tomorrow or the day after - now it's time to travel. I realised [the need to plan] when I came to Abu Dhabi, maybe because of the influence around me as well. Everyone said you better start doing something or buy real estate, which I didn't. But yes I recognise planning for the future is important because eventually you want to stop working and what do you live on?

Is money important to you? If so, why?

It depends on the circumstances. Money is important when you don't have it. It is important to me to a certain extent. I want to be able to provide for my family. Everything over and above is luxury and I enjoy it but I think I am grounded enough to realise that it could be gone tomorrow and that should not affect me too much. I wouldn't like it but I would survive.

What is your idea of financial freedom?

Financial freedom for me is [the opportunity to buy] whatever I want, whenever I want it. I am able to buy it without the need to really check my finances - that is the ultimate financial freedom. Today I am happy if I go to a clothes store and I see a pair of jeans and I can just buy them. I don't look at the price. Is it Dh150 more or less than another pair? You just go and grab them. That's freedom. I think people who have the freedom already aspire to more. For them maybe it's the next car.

What do you enjoy spending your money on?

Food. I don't mind going out for dinner and I don't necessarily look at the prices. I like to travel. But I also like gadgets, Apple stuff.