x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Scotsman still learning to save in Dubai

Money and me: Ian Hainey is the managing director of IHC, a public relations, promotions and marketing agency with clients across the Arabian Gulf.

Ian Hainey runs IHC, a Dubai public relations agency that he started in 2009. Pawan Singh / The National
Ian Hainey runs IHC, a Dubai public relations agency that he started in 2009. Pawan Singh / The National

Ian Hainey is the managing director of IHC, a public relations and marketing agency with clients across the Arabian Gulf. A native of Aberdeen in the UK, where he ran a busy police media office, Mr Hainey has lived in Dubai since 2006. At first working in different PR agencies, he later decided to go it alone, setting up his own firm in 2009 - something he describes as "a joy".

How would you describe your financial journey so far?

I'm the first to admit I'm not the best with money - whether it be personal or business, so thankfully I've got experts that help me with this side of things now. They say if a Scotsman drops a coin it hits him on the back of the head and there may be some truth in that, especially for Scotsmen like myself who struggled to make ends meet at the beginning of my career, forgoing some of the big-paying graduate jobs to pursue a preferred direction.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I would say I'm neither. I just buy things when I need or want them, and I usually don't know how much I've actually got in the bank. This callous outlook on my personal finances was thankfully brought into line a little a few years back when opening a Friends Provident savings plan, which at least structures some of my savings. I suppose I am keeping some money liquid from the sale of a UK apartment and selling my stake in a previous events company I part-owned in Dubai for a property here - as soon as they'll give me a mortgage, that is. Getting a mortgage is a whole lot trickier for company owners, so hopefully the market hasn't moved too much before I can purchase my dream home out here.

Is money important to you?

I think it would become more important if I didn't have enough to sustain my lifestyle. At the moment I'm focused on growing the business and our client list and ensuring my colleagues are doing well for themselves along the way - I believe the financial rewards will always follow.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

Selling my apartment in Scotland, which was paying its own mortgage, was not the smartest move in retrospect as house prices have gone up in that part of the world significantly over the past year. I had long-term tenants move out and felt too far away to be dealing with it any more.

Do you plan for the future?

No - other than my structured savings, this is an area I need to work on. However, if I have a family then this is certainly something I need to worry about. I just read that Dubai expats are spending an average of 30 per cent of their salaries on school fees. Maybe I'll buy a dog - and veterinary insurance - instead.

What has been your biggest financial lesson?

I had a four-year financial lesson while studying economics at the University of Glasgow. One of the most important things I learnt from this was that I didn't want to work in the financial sector.

What is your philosophy on money?

When younger, I used to think money was the most important thing about being an adult, but thankfully I learnt better. Some of the most disturbing behaviours I've seen from fellow human beings has been completely driven by money, which just underlines the point.

What do you spend your money on?

I do all sorts of sports and shell out a fair bit on equipment and going places to dive, fish, ski and kite-surf. I enjoy living comfortably in general, but I must say I spend a lot on luxury holidays. Working hard and long hours, it's important to do it properly when there is a chance of some R&R. Recent holidays have been to Austria, Bali, Thailand and the Maldives and each time I'm terrified to look at the credit card bill, so I don't.