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UAE top on western expats' residence list

Dubai, October 27, 2013

Majority of the western expats see the UAE as an ideal place to live, work and save thanks to its tax- free salary and the countless career opportunities the country offers, according to a new survey by Standard Life, a leading provider of long term savings and investments.

Standard Life said it had studied the saving, spending and investment behaviour of 200 western expats across the UAE and compared it to that of Hong Kong and Singapore to compile the first 'Standard Life Western Expatriate Wealth Study'.

A total of 78 per cent choose the UAE as the most ideal place to live, providing the best opportunities. To put this into context with the first batch of the Western Expat survey results from Standard Life, the UAE respondents compared to Hong Kong and Singapore were found to save less," said the finding.

However, when observed in isolation, UAE western expats seem to have a stable financial future, the Standard Life survey added.

According to the study, financial stability was the driving force for westerners to leave their home country and become an expatriate.

Chris Divito, the CEO of Standard Life International (DIFC Branch) said: “Many western expats in the UAE come to live here because of the countless opportunities that this country has to offer, of which one of the biggest benefits is the 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."

With 97 per cent of UAE-based western expats spending some of their disposable income on luxurious lifestyle choices, there seems to be an overlap, as 94 per cent also spend the bulk of their disposable income on savings and investments.

In addition, the study shows that 56 per cent is spent on real estate which includes rent or mortgage payments and 51 per cent on their loans. This is followed by children’s education, health related expenses and monthly miscellaneous household expenses, the study stated.

Divito pointed out that with an increasing number of UAE western expats paying off their financial liabilities, it was leading to greater strain on their long-term savings and investments.

"Financial stability is a key priority for expats, and it drives them to plan for their future but at the same timeour research hasfound that spending on non-essential luxury items is also a priority for consumers," he remarked.

The report also revealed that 61 per cent of UAE-based western expats have not yet decided on their future plans and whether they would return home. The reasons for returning after being away for so many years largely depends on new job opportunities or having enough savings to return home and retire, it stated.

With 90 per cent of expats being fully aware of the tax implications when returning home, 76 per cent are confident about their retirement funds irrespective of their location.

In the UAE, only 65 per cent of western expats seek guidance from financial advisors and banks about their finances. Whether you have one or more dependants, it is always advisable to take professional advice when it comes to financial planning, said the Standard Life study.

"We believe our research offers consumers a glimpse into their various savings and spending habits and creates an opportunity to revisit any financial issues they may have," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: tax | expats | Western | Standard Life |

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