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Western expats: UAE is the most ideal place to live


Financial stability key priority for foreigners, reveals survey.

October 27, 2013 5:45 by

Financial stability is the driving force for Westerners to leave their home countries and become expatriates, according to the first Standard Life Western Expatriate Wealth Study.

The report, which studies the saving, spending and investment behaviour of Western expats across the UAE, concludes that 78 per cent choose this country as the most ideal place to live because it provides the best opportunities.

Somewhat contrary to the first batch of the Western expat survey results, released in September, respondents in the UAE were found to be less financially sensible, when compared with their counterparts in Hong Kong and Singapore. However, the report adds that, when observed in isolation, Western expats in the UAE seem to have a stable financial future.

Chris Divito, CEO of Standard Life International Limited (DIFC Branch), says that one of the biggest benefits for Western expats in the UAE is a tax-free salary.

“A tax-free income provides a great opportunity, which may lead to relatively higher savings and, in turn, allow expats to save more on a regular basis,” he says, adding that there is an increasing number of UAE-based Western expats paying off their financial liabilities, leading to greater strain on their long-term savings.

He adds: “Financial stability is a key priority for expats and it drives them to plan for their future, but at the same time our research has found that spending on non-essential luxury items is also a priority for consumers.”

With 97 per cent spending some of their disposable income on luxurious lifestyle choices, there is an overlap, as 94 per cent also spend the bulk of their disposable income on savings and investments. In addition, 56 per cent is spent on real estate – which includes rent or mortgage payments – and 51 per cent on loans. Children’s education, health-related expenses and monthly miscellaneous household expenses follow this.

When it comes to deciding on future plans and whether or not to return home, 61 per cent have not made up their minds yet. Most of them (90 per cent) are fully aware of tax implications when returning home and that the reasons for going back after many years largely depend on new job opportunities or having enough savings to retire.

Irrespective of their location, 76 per cent are confident about their retirement funds.

Was it just financial stability that brought you to the UAE or do you have other reasons? Share your thoughts via Twitter, Facebook or in the comments box below.

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