x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Preparing for the worst-case scenario

This Dubai resident underestimated his financial strength and nearly lost it all when the slowdown blew into town.

The father Mark Kenaghan is building up an emergency fund to draw from in case another family crisis hits.
The father Mark Kenaghan is building up an emergency fund to draw from in case another family crisis hits.

A Dubai resident since 1992, Mark Kenaghan has been gainfully employed and diligent about investing during his lengthy tenure in the Gulf. A few years back, he felt flush enough to buy an investment property in Scotland. No one was more suprised than him when, not long after that, he found himself barely able to pay his family's bills.

"You are sitting there thinking, 'We have a lot of investments. How come we don't have any money?'" Mr Kenaghan says he saw the property downturn coming in Dubai, but calculated that he could easily withstand it. His mistake, he says, was only considering the potential impact of the local economic disruption, not the chain reaction around the world which left him unable to sell either of his properties or borrow from any of the banks that were so eager to lend to him just months before.

"At one point we were maxed out on two credit cards, waiting for the bonus to arrive. I just battened down the hatches," says the 50-year-old distribution manager for a Sharjah company, who is married with two children. Mr Kenaghan is now energetically building up his emergency fund so he never finds himself in a similar situation again. "The big lesson for me was to look at the worst-case scenario and say, 'What if? Do I have cash to draw on?" he says.

And after sifting through a handful of dodgy financial advisers, he is now working with Vince Truong of Holborn Assets to "keep on top of those investments. It's amazing how things change." breagan@thenational.ae