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Up to 48 per cent of those polled for the National Bonds Savings Index report begin to save between the ages of 25 and 34 Image Credit: Supplied

Shahid Ansari is a happy man these days. The Dubai-based Pakistani expat, father to two beautiful daughters has just finalised the wedding date for his eldest.

Many a father celebrate their children’s wedding but what makes Shahid’s case so special is the fact that he was jobless for the past two years.

Timely savings

“I just managed to secure a job a couple of months back and credit for this goes to the good luck that my wife and two daughters brought into my life,” says Shahid. Humble and magnanimous though the proud father and husband may be, much of the expenses for the wedding and the miscellaneous expenditure were met thanks to the prudence Shahid exercised as a regular saver.

“During my career as a working professional both here and in Pakistan, I have faced the misfortune of losing my job on a couple of occasions,” says Shahid. “I’m aware of the problems that being jobless can bring on the family and decided to start saving early on.” Therefore, when Shahid lost his job two years back, he already had an emergency fund stashed away, savings that his wife and children were initially not aware of.

The UAE continues to enjoy the largest proportion of regular savers in the GCC, and what should buck the trend is the fact that a lot of residents have begun to understand the advantages of starting to save early on in life. If the habit of saving money gets ingrained at an early stage, the chances of leading a successful career and a happy life are far greater.

- Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, CEO, National Bonds Corporation

“My kids were pleasantly surprised when I told them about my savings, and the relief on my wife’s face was magical, especially considering we had just started searching for a suitable groom for our daughter,” recollects Shahid. Needless to say, Shahid went ahead with the plans for his daughter’s wedding.

UAE residents saving more

The importance of regular savings cannot be stressed enough, allowing one to remain financially secure and providing a safety net in case of emergencies, a fact that UAE residents are quickly cottoning on to. A poll conducted for the National Bonds Savings Index Wave 8 report to gauge the savings habits of UAE residents revealed that UAE residents are saving more than ever before.

More than half of the poll respondents came through saying they saved on a regular basis, with 64 per cent Western expats claiming to save regularly. Western expats were closely tailed by the Asians with 54 per cent claiming to make regular savings. Emirati residents provide stiff competition in the percentages with 40 per cent claiming to make regular savings, as opposed to 34 per cent of Arab expats in the UAE. But what is more surprising is the fact that many UAE residents have begun to start saving money early in life.

It’s never too early to save

Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, CEO, National Bonds Corporation says, “The UAE continues to enjoy the largest proportion of regular savers in the GCC, and what should buck the trend is the fact that a lot of residents have begun to understand the advantages of starting to save early on in life. If the habit of saving money gets ingrained at an early stage, the chances of leading a successful career and a happy life are far greater.”

The National Bonds poll reveals that up to 48 per cent of those polled start saving between the age of 25 and 34, with 20 per cent saving between the age groups of 18 and 24. Up to 12 per cent of respondents came back saying that they started saving regularly before they turned 18. A lot of the respondents emphasised that personal savings played a critical role in their lives.

How important are personal savings?

Evidently, a lot, atleast for UAE residents. More than two thirds of those surveyed were emphatic about the fact that personal savings played an important part in their lives, with up to 77 per cent stating the same. An expat-wise breakup revealed that 81 per cent of Asians considered personal savings to be very important for them as opposed to 75 per cent Western expats. “Up to 64 per cent of Emiratis also consider personal savings to be crucial while 75 per cent of Arab expats agree to the same,” says Al Ali while revealing the findings of the poll.

As Ali mentioned in an earlier article, perceived barriers to savings exist including expenses, loans and debts and a poor knowledge of savings instruments. These factors, however are easily rectified.

“We are long-time supporters of the Government’s ambition to increase financial literacy and remain committed to growing the number of savers in the UAE,” says Al Ali, “helping achieve a healthy and secure financial future for individuals and their families.

National Bonds (NBC), the UAE’s leading investment firm launched the 2018 Savings Index. Launched in association with market research firm Sondos, the annual survey seeks to provide information on the savings environment of the UAE and the GCC.

Culture of savings

Today, as Shahid looks forward to his first daughter’s wedding, to be held in Pakistan, there is considerable excitement in his voice. “It will be in November, there will be a lot of guests, from the UAE and from my hometown, it should be fun,” says Shahid with a smile.

If you are planning to start saving early, invest with National Bonds. Visit www.nationalbonds.ae