Jyothi Kasi, Tax Partner, KPMG Lower Gulf Image Credit: Supplied

Like it or not, money makes the world go round. It dictates everything from the sheets you sleep on to the handbag you carry, the school your kids go to and the vacations you take. While most women just love spending it, many are petrified of it. But it’s time to stop fretting, grab your personal finances by the horns and face the money bogeyman.

Honey, it’s not rocket science: Financial literacy is key to managing your personal finances. A sizeable number of women still struggle to understand the basics of banking and finance, including opening and managing bank accounts, transacting online, managing their credit cards, and saving for the future. As the leading electronics payment network in the world, it is at the heart of Visa’s corporate practice to teach people how to spend, save and budget responsibly and I strongly advocate financial literacy as a stepping stone to managing your personal finances more effectively. 

Naamat Baradhy
Head of Corporate Relations, Visa Middle East and North Africa

No, they won’t take care of themselves: Money and personal finances need to be tracked regularly. Daily expenses, once accumulated annually, have a bigger impact on your personal finances than you may suspect. Assess on a monthly basis how much you are spending on products, services and in fees. This is key to managing your personal finances. Annual inflation in Dubai increased 2.74 per cent in the first six months of this year, according to data from Dubai Statistics Centre. Your spending habits may be the same but inflation is pushing up prices. Count your expenditure at the end the month to better understand how you’re spending your income.

Saana Azzam
Financial Sales Executive, Private Sales, Saxo Bank

Be smart about it: If you’ve been in the UAE more than a year and still aren’t using a loyalty card, you’re missing out. Some of the best available cards are: Shukran, My Club, Club Apparel, Amber, Airmiles and Tamayez Union Co-Op. You can also enjoy the added benefit of 5-10 per cent cashback with a cashback credit card. There are also plenty of dining vouchers and deals available on credit cards you may already hold. If you’re a movie buff, get a credit card that offers you 50 per cent discount on tickets and snacks at cinemas every month. Some cards also offer up to 25 per cent discount at water and theme parks, as well as on sports such as golf.

Preeti Harrison Bhambri
Managing Director, MoneyCamel

No Prince Charming to the rescue: Believe in yourself and stop depending on others — even your husband or dad — to look after your finances. There are times when even strong, successful women doubt their capabilities and set limits to what they can achieve. Unfortunately, some women are brought up to believe they cannot or should not worry about things such as finances. They should push the boundaries and free themselves from such preconceived notions and stereotypes. Being a devoted mother and a professional managing some of the most respected schools in Dubai, I can say from personal experience: don’t doubt your own abilities.

Poonam Bhojani
Chief Executive Officer, Innoventures Education

Because you are totally worth it: Begin by investing in yourself and ensuring you have savings that are dedicated to your personal development. In today’s competitive landscape, professionals are increasingly opting for mid-career training, whether it be a short course or a Master’s degree. The freedom to pursue higher education is possible by saving and planning ahead. However, these courses are definitely not inexpensive. Look at it as an investment in your career that eventually allow you to earn more in the long term. These days it is possible to work and study simultaneously through flexible academic programmes at numerous universities.

Hannah Hunsinger
Marketing Director, EMEA & APAC, Ellucian

The children can do without: Be smart about spending on your children because many women belatedly realise that they spend excessively on their children, whether it is eating out or buying clothes. Avoid counteracting the guilt of working long and unsocial hours with treats. Additionally, it is important to minimise your weekly and monthly spend to what is really required while also keeping tabs on unnecessary purchases. Encourage and nurture the habit of learning to live within a set budget — it teaches children the importance of accountability and responsibility.

Jyothi Kasi
Tax Partner, KPMG Lower Gulf