Why UAE expats struggle to save money

Many expatriates living in the UAE are struggling to save money mostly because their monthly income is not enough to keep pace with the rising cost of living in the country, a new survey indicates.

In a study among 2,200 residents who are mostly expatriates in the UAE, it was found that about three in ten (30 per cent) are unable to save even a single dirham. Nearly six in ten (53 per cent) are not confident that household incomes leave enough room for savings.

The study, which was conducted between December 2015 and January 2016, highlighted not just the impact of living costs on family incomes, but also the poor savings culture or the lack of financial discipline among a number of residents.

Dubai’s inflation reached 3.99 per cent in 2015, mainly due to the costs of furnishings, household equipment, routine household maintenance, as well as accommodation, water, electricity and gas, among others

According to Jon Richards, CEO of compareit4me, who conducted the study, many people moved to the UAE because they believed they could make more money, but they failed to take into account the high cost of living that comes with moving overseas.

“I think that often, expats are attracted here with the considerably higher salaries than their home country, but don’t factor in the huge expenses involved with living here,” Richards told Gulf News.

“You can of course budget your lifestyle here, which many don’t do, and then fall into the debt trap which I guess falls into the lack of discipline category.”

The respondents, who were mostly expatriates, included a huge mix of Western and Asian nationals from various countries. The researchers, however, did not look into the income demographics of the survey participants.

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