UAE residents optimistic about financial future

Nearly 80 per cent of respondents in the UAE say they are managing well or very well

Nearly nine in 10 people in the UAE are supporting a parent or child financially, while almost 100 per cent say they expect their financial situation to either improve or stay the same, an HSBC survey finds.

The UAE ranks the second highest globally with 89 per cent of residents supporting a child or parent, compared with 72 per cent globally. Most of the respondents of the survey from the UAE say those they support would not manage well if their assistance were significantly reduced, the survey reveals.

Indonesia ranks first globally with 94 per cent of people financially supporting a child or parent. Other countries ranked among the top include India in the third position, followed by Malaysia, Mexico, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Argentina, the UK, the US and France.

However, the survey finds that only 22 per cent of the UAE residents supporting a family member have written a will while only 23 per cent have set a legal guardian.

Globally, more than one-third (37 per cent) of people surveyed in HSBC’s ‘The Power of Protection’ study say they have never had a conversation with anyone about long-term financial security. This lack of forward planning may be related to a sense of economic optimism far above the global average.

While nearly 80 per cent of respondents in the UAE say they are managing well or very well, globally that number is only 67 per cent, and looking to the next three years, 96 per cent of people in the UAE expect their financial situation to either improve (50 per cent) or stay the same (46 per cent).

Gifford Nakajima, regional head of wealth development, retail banking and wealth management, HSBC, Mena, said it is a well-understood dynamic that most people in the UAE, whether Emirati or expatriate, are supporting family members.

“The strong sense of optimism about people’s financial future is no surprise, given the country’s visionary leadership, commitment to smart, sustainable growth and the powerful fundamentals underlying the broader UAE economy. However, even in the most robust market environment, uncertainty and unexpected conditions can affect any working person. Especially when family members, living both near and far, are depending on support from people working in the UAE, financial planning should be a family priority,” said Nakajima.

The ‘Power of Protection’ is an independent consumer research study into global protection needs and trends commissioned by HSBC. It represents the views of over 13,000 people in 13 countries, and over 1,000 respondents in the UAE.

Mohan Valrani, industrialist, senior vice-chairman and managing director of the Al Shirawi Group, said for most UAE residents, nationals and expatriates alike, supporting a child or parent is a tradition-bound fundamental responsibility. “So, it is not surprising that Emirates ranks second globally in that aspect.”

“It is also not hard to find the reason for the high level of financial optimism among residents. The UAE’s vibrant economy, world-class infrastructure, superb air travel connectivity, ease of working and doing business, exciting and rewarding growth opportunities and happy living conditions make it one of the most sought-after places to live, work and prosper,” said Valrani.

While globally, only about 50 per cent of those with dependents are supporting a grown child, spouse or parent, in the UAE, 79 per cent are supporting a grown child, 81 per cent are supporting a spouse, and 80 per cent help a parent. On the other hand, people in the UAE take a greater satisfaction in providing this support than those elsewhere, with 72 per cent saying they feel like a good provider, compared to 65 per cent globally and 73 per cent saying they feel appreciated for their support, versus 61 per cent per cent globally.

Lalu Samuel, chairman, Sharjah Industries Business Group, and Kingston Holding, said given the UAE’s great emphasis on preserving family values and cultural traditions under its leaders, it is only natural that on both counts – supporting the child or parent as well as residents’ bullish financial outlook – the country ranks as a global role model.

“The sound economic fundamentals of this diversified nation, its well-planned development roadmap, and its mission to make all citizens happy, healthy and prosperous underpin the all-round financial optimism of its residents,” said Samuel.


Issac John

Associate Business Editor of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE’s mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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