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Khaleejtimes International

Upset with cost of living? What about the cost of leaving?

Survey after survey has pointed out how unprepared the UAE’s residents (read: expats) are for that imminent retirement.

News that UAE authorities are actively considering putting together a system to formulate a potential retirement fund for the country’s expats will be music to the ears of the millions who call the UAE their home away from home. For, be it a blue-collared worker earning a basic salary or a white-collared executive taking home tens of thousands every month, many an expat has faced an overdrawn bank account when calling it a day. Survey after survey has pointed out how unprepared the UAE’s residents (read: expats) are for that imminent retirement, with a large majority hoping against hope that their end-of-service gratuity will be enough to see them through their golden years.

Lifespans are rapidly increasing thanks to improved (but expensive) healthcare. Couple that with a ballooning cost of living (even in the expats’ home countries), and it will become clear that the gratuity being accumulating today will be miserably inadequate in helping us maintain the same standard of life post-retirement as what we are used to living here in the UAE. For those of us who are worried about the current cost of living here or back in our home countries, we should consider how inflation would impact that cost in 10, 15, 20 or whatever number of years after which we hope to retire.

While it is a no-brainer that expats must save a percentage of their monthly income towards a retirement fund, compulsions and temptations of life make that a little challenging. A financial system wherein an employee has the option to contribute a fixed or floating sum every month towards their own retirement is not only a global best practice but also the need of the hour. A country that welcomes people irrespective of their race, religion, faith or beliefs, the UAE has been ranked as the best place to live for eight consecutive years by the Arab Youth (source: 11th Annual Asda’a BCW Arab Youth Survey 2019). Initiatives such as these will further cement its position and turn it from being an expat magnet to becoming an expat haven.

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