Lack of savings is a UAE retirement time-bomb

20 February 2013

HSBC’s new report “The Future of Retirement”, has revealed a worrying 59 per cent of UAE residents are gambling with their futures by not saving specifically for UAE retirement.

However despite this the bank’s research reveals that UAE residents estimate they will need an average of Dhs126,400 a year to live a comfortable retirement.

But even those that are saving admit that while they expect their retirement to last 15 years, they are only likely to have a savings pot big enough to last them only nine years.

Compared with HSBC’s 2009 poll, fewer people are now saving adequately for retirement despite the lessons of the financial crisis.

It seems that rather than save, people are focusing their spending all of their income to support their current lifestyle, whilst at the same time risking severely hampering their lifestyle when they retire.

However, despite 46 per cent of UAE residents complaining all their money goes into meeting day-to-day expenses, it should still be possible to save with higher average salaries and a tax free environment if the discipline is there.


Many UAE residents may look forward to retiring, but according to HSBC’s research in many cases that’s simply so they can start their own business.

A sizeable 51 per cent of those polled by the bank said they want to start a firm in their retirement – a goal second only to spending time with family and friends. This entrepreneurial trend is “very unique” to emerging markets, evident when compared to only seven per cent of people in the UK who say they want to start their own business in retirement.

However starting your own business has its own price tag!


Some bad news for the youths in the UAE; an estimated one in six parents expect their children to help support their retirement!

This part of the world sees a higher dependency on children than in the West, with only two per cent of UK adults expecting support from their offspring.


Whilst both sexes appear pretty hapless when it comes to retirement planning in the UAE, HSBC’s research appears to show that women are inclined to look at reducing expenses such as downsizing their home before going into retirement savings.

However men were the opposite, being much more inclined to go into their retirement savings to fund short-term deficits.

Thirty-six per cent of UAE residents would dip into savings to keep them going, 18 per cent would move into a smaller home and 14 per cent would ask friends and family for help.


People in the UAE think they can put off saving for their retirement until they are 37 years old. Wrong.  By starting as late as 37 it’s very difficult to be adequately prepared for retirement.

Although it’s better to start saving at any age than not to, to put it off to your late 30s or early 40s makes it a much more difficult task than if you are in your early 20's.

Are you concerned about your UAE retirement plans? Do you need advice on savings and pensions? Contact your local office foa free, no obligation meeting with qualified Financial Advisers, or download our free Pensions eGuide for more information.

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