Unrealistic expectations of a champagne lifestyle in the desert paradise of Dubai and a failure to save enough money to fund a golden retirement are financial obstacles many expats build for themselves.
Although they are in control of their earning power and spending while working, many get caught up in a lavish expat lifestyle and live beyond their means while cutting back on savings as if tomorrow never comes.
The trouble is the next day always catches up and sooner or later the grim realisation dawns that £700,000 pension pot providing a planned £175,000 tax-free nest egg and £20,000 a year pension has fallen rather short.
In fact, expats in Dubai tend to average retirement savings of around £125,000. Sadly, in many cases expats have plenty of time to sit and think about what might have been if they had spent a little less and saved a bit more.
Many expats have a pension sitting unwanted and neglected back home, and even if they must go without a tax top-up from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), investing the money and picking up some years of compound interest is still a good idea.
A couple less gin and tonics, a little less time socialising at expensive sports events and less shopping can all help an expat save more without hardly noticing the lifestyle difference.
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Although Dubai is a tax-free zone and a retirement income of around £25,000 including the state pension may stretch farther than in the UK, but pensioners must consider the cost of housing, flights and health care will impact on their cash.
To save £700,000 by the age of 55 years old to retire early, a 30-year-old with no money in a pension would have to put aside £1,035 a month, assuming a 5% a year return and basic rate pension contribution relief.
With an average salary of £4,500 a month tax-free and other benefits paid to expats in Dubai, saving at such a level does not seem beyond reach – but few expats manage to avoid that jet-set lifestyle to save as much as they would like.