Savings, savings, savings

It’s often only after a few years within the region that expats are thinking about putting some money aside. Working in a tax-free environment is very appealing and folks are thinking of how much they can save while here. After all, most employers don’t provide a pension or provident fund and employees need to save for their retirement themselves. Yet, with the great opportunities we have here after work, thinking of savings is put on the back burner. After all, who wants to think about saving money when enjoying a day at the beach, regular visits to the mall or eating out with friends?

There are various possibilities to increase your savings. You just have to make a small start. Take the first step with these top tips:

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Do I need to develop myself?

“How do I find time for my own personal development?” That was a question a client asked me recently and it sparked an interesting conversation. Do you find time or do you make time?

Fed up by her company deciding on her next role, she wanted to take matters into her own hands. Her focus was her own career progression within the same organisation. She realised that there was no question about finding or making time. Making time was her only option if she wanted to determine her future herself.

Michael Moran, the CEO/Founder of 10Eighty, once suggested that we’d plan our careers like our holidays. It’s only January and my team and I had probably 12 chats about the places we wanted to visit this year. There weren’t 12 conversations about how we’d like to develop ourselves career-wise in 1, 2 or 5 years. Do you have these in your team?

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New year, new job

As we’ve entered the New Year, many of us decided to have New Year’s Resolutions. You know, things we want to improve or change like spending more time with friends and family, getting fit, eating healthy or looking for a new job. According to The Independent, almost half of the UK workforce are looking for a new job in 2016.

I’ve recently read that only 8% of resolutions are actually achieved. If looking for a new career opportunity is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, you certainly don’t want to belong to the vast majority of having failed their  resolutions. But what can you do if you’re looking for a new role?

Being organised and having a plan can reduce the stress often associated with a job search. The 16 steps outlined here will help you prepare and find that new job you’re looking for.

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Wrap up the year

Year End PartyThe last few weeks of a year always seem to be a mad rush. Last week, we had our company year end party which was such a great laugh. In less than 2 weeks, we’ll celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Christmas. For a lot of expats in Dubai, this will be time to travel to their home countries and many are also thinking how and where to spend New Year’s Eve. I’m so happy that all this is sorted and I’ve some peace of mind!

Yet, as we’re getting ready to celebrate, it’s also time to wrap up 2015. Nowadays, year end is almost forgotten and few people only use it to reflect. Instead, we’re already focusing on the next year. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s finish this year first. Here’s a list of activities to wrap up in 2015:

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Goal setting – 8 more weeks till 2016

DP World 2014Looking at the calendar, there are only 8 more weeks left in this year and it’s scary how many weekends are already blocked for various fun activities. Next weekend, one of my oldest friends is flying in from London and I can’t wait to spend time with her in person. Later this month, I’m thrilled to marshal at the DP World Tour Championship and there’s also a trip to Hong Kong booked.

As you know from previous posts, time is precious and I appreciate my “me time”. Simultaneously, I enjoy being active and I’ve started a list of things for the remainder of this year. Amongst them are these 3 activities:

  1. Visit the falcon hospital in Abu Dhabi
  2. Prepare for an 8k in mid-December
  3. Become PMI qualified by 31 December

Have you set any goals for the next 8 weeks?

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Take care of yourself

It’s now almost 19 years ago that I lost a loved one to cancer. It was heart breaking to see Gladys get eaten up by numerous tumours. Every time we thought things were improving, there was a new and more shocking diagnosis than the one before. This experience had such an impact on my life that supporting the fight against cancer is my number one health cause.

You probably know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The last few years have shown the significant improvements which education, early detections and a balanced lifestyle can have on breast cancer prevention and treatment. You owe it to yourself to look after yourself!

While it’s still not known what causes breast cancer, there are a few things you can do for yourself:

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Time to say good-bye to your friendship

When you’ve first moved to Dubai, were you lucky enough to know some people already? Or even better, to have some friends living here?

In my previous company, I supported the Middle East offices from the UK and experienced our relocated employees’ quest for new friends from afar. In such a transient city like Dubai, it’s easy to meet people but finding friends?

When I resigned from my company and moved to Dubai, I had one friend waiting for me and only knew 2 more people. It was one of many moves I’ve done internationally and across continents, so I wasn’t afraid of starting (somewhat) new again.

Looking over the last few years, I’ve seen some of my friends leave Dubai which was rather saddening. There were also some friendships to which I said good-bye – deliberately. For me, a friendship is a give and take and not a one-sided relationship. There was one particularly friendship where my friend only allowed meetings to take place when, where and how they suited her. Seeing her became stressful for me. I no longer looked forward to catching up and our conversations became superficial at best. It was time to end our friendship.

Some say it’s easier to leave a job, then to leave a friendship. But when do you know it’s time to say good-bye?

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Are you prepared for the unexpected?

FreezerWhile visiting my family in Germany, our freezer decided to break down. It was ironic to happen when our handyman checked our dishwasher and shortly afterwards, there was the new freezer. After 21 years, it’s a well-deserved retirement. For my mom, it meant an unexpected and unplanned expense. Luckily for her, she had set some money aside for these events.

We don’t know what the future holds but we can prepare ourselves for the unexpected. Here are the latest tips to start your own preparations for unexpected financial expenses:

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Paper battles – How long to retain important documents

Next week is my birthday and I love looking forward to it. It’s my special day and this year, I’m giving myself a special present. Instead of continuing to be brought down by my stuff, unfulfilling activities and draining energy vampires, I’m starting my new year already. I’m removing unnecessary clutter from my own life!

For me, keeping paper under control is a huge undertaking. Despite aiming to save as much electronically, there’s a constant battle and questions run through my mind: “Do I need to keep a paper copy?” or “How long do I need to keep this for?” or “Can this go?”

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