Tell me again exactly how Dubai has hurt you?

Too many people focus on what the emirate is not, rather than what it is.


Today, CNBC published a report on the world's most expensive cities to live in ( The ten most expensive cities are as follows:

2-Hong Kong
3- Zurich
4- Tokyo
6- Seoul
7- Geneva
8-New York
9- Copenhagen

I think we expats living in Dubai have a lot to be grateful for.


i think you should work for a PR agency or Donald Trump.

Nick James

I think WHJ, that you are one of the better off expats, and in the minority, and you can afford to be grateful, as the standard of living in Dubai is way better than where you are from (i.e. anywhere in the UK).

An example - 80% of the expats working in a location like DIFC / DAFZA cannot afford to eat in the cafes / restaurants / food courts in one of those locations, and I would assume that you are one of the 20% who can afford to, and are happy that you don't have to mingle with the 80% who can't.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Ed B

I think Dubai is a great place to live as long you have a secure and well paying job, an employer that pays school and housing fees, and as long you do not need to move houses every year. I am in that position, and have nothing but good words about my living experience here.

But looking around, I think for expats with lower incomes that need to support a family here, Dubai is not a good place to live. Housing and school fees are far out of proportion of mid-range salaries, and will put a high financial pressure on these families, and lets not forget that in this country that is a big risk: debt repayment issues will land you in jail.


@Ivan Radchenko. What is truly regretful is that many expats come to Dubai with unrealistic expectations and a certain sense of entitlement thinking they can make the grade and hit the jackpot in a short period of time. Then when reality sets in, they start blaming the city.
If you come to Dubai thinking you can live in expensive apartments and own expensive cars without having the right amount of cashflow, that's your fault. If you can't pay a year's rent in advance, then rent an apartment that you can afford or find an owner who will accept multiple cheques (by the way, plenty of landlords now accept two and three cheques).
According to you, a person who is realistic, knows his budget limits and has learnt how to balance his books is living in an "ivory tower ". Well, that's where you are wrong. This person could be living quite happily with a much lower income than yours. He's just better than you at math.


Very good point, all people should try and balance their books and live life according to their means. But in reality very few people practice it well, and many do aspire to a better life, which is not a fault by itself. People take risks all the time and most hopefully do their math and prepare for the worst, but sometimes events are outside one's control (e.g financial crisis), and so one needs to have cushion against adverse outcomes, but 98% don't have those safety nets.
The margin of error can be quite costly for many expats as costs can skyrocket and losses do have domino effects, so unless you are truly well heeled, I would advise careful consideration in any investment strategy.


Let people be. Opinion is a personal perspective. I've been here for ten years because. We all have ups and downs, good times and bad and whilst I agree with your article, I fail to see your point. Are you defending Dubai? Are you attacking those who have an opinion? And do you even live in the Emirate?!
Yes it's safe, it's tax free, it can give an amazing lifestyle and it is enjoyable... But it can also be expensive, lonely, artificial to some.
If you choose to live here, great! Come, welcome. If you don't like it, pack up and go somewhere else.


@1 guy. Thank you for eagerly awaiting my remarks. The reality, which seems to escape you, and other commentators with tunnel vision, is that expats living in Dubai are happy, and definitely happier than they would be back home. The people I'm talking about are those who know how to balance their books and do not indulge in foolish schemes or, like I said in an earlier post, in ill-advised escapades.
The middle-class in Dubai is alive and well, and thriving I might add. Expats here are wealthier than most of their peers back in their home countries. Those with less than AED 25k salaries you mentioned are still getting paid more than they would back home. Everything is relative old chap.
When costs rise, you re-adjust your lifestyle. If you can't, don't blame the city.


You mean like buying property that will never be delivered and find themselves with no legal recourse
Or maybe like being suppliers to a large company that simply decides not to pay or pay cents on the dollar
Are these the ill-advised escapades you talk about?

Yes I avoided them both, that does not prevent me from understanding the minefield this region can be. You see some of us have this thing that allows us to understand how people in different circumstances feel.
Some of us also know enough statistics to understand what survivor bias is.

Ivan Radchenko

The sad truth is most expats cannot afford to live in Dubai and dream a luxury lifestyle. Many just want to make a small fortune and exit as soon as possible. Some expats are lucky and garner a good salary to live a lavish lifestyle, but nothing lasts forever and soon it is time to leave. Those who are realistic have a good time, leave with fond memories.

Thanks to social media and other forums such as this many are learning that all is not always as rosy as painted, and do weigh their options objectively

The most regretful part here is there are those who do not see the reality only from their view points and continue to live in ivory towers falsely believing all is truly well and nice all around. It is tough for most expats to balance ones books with paying a years rent in advance. Indiscriminate rising living costs with stagnant salary levels deters many from long term residency goals or planning

US Expat

Loved the Article.. but, without a proper job with a decent salary or other investments; Dubai is a absolute money pit. Three years of dealing with scammers and other Ner' do Wells. I am leaving for a newer location to start all over again. Came in 2007 and the first couple of years were fun and very good. However after 2011-2012, its been a disaster of failed businesses due to customers non-payment or investor misrepesentation mostly. Could go on forever about failure and missed opportunities.... but I look forward not behind.

Truly Loved being in Dubai and hate to leave. Just need lots of disposable income to survive.


yup, a common advise would be to avoid the dubai volatile business markets...but then some have hit home runs too soon and too big to make the blanket advise seem impartial.


I have noticed similar behavior on some people. Luckily enough the people I really find inspiring and smart also share my love to this city.

I think Dubai is even quicker and more volatile in mirroring your own mood, charisma and daily form than others like London or New York. Remember that in a city with unlimited overflow of prestige and capital nothing is more precious than personality and a smile. Shine the city shine back better than any other city, try it, its magic and free!

One Guy

So I think basically when the Author says: When I hear people complain about Dubai, I call them out. This city you are highly critical of, I say, has hurt you how? With that great job, with that wonderful salary, with that tax-free lifestyle? It sets the tone for a lot of criticism of this article.

The truth is that only a very select few enjoy the benefits outlined in that statement and it makes it very obvious that it comes from the cozy confines of one's ivory tower (the tallest one of course).

Essentially, the vast majority of people in Dubai are doing it tough in one way or another. Some are promised something that doesn't exist, some miscalculate, some get taken advantage of. So here's a tiny but very common example - What happens when you think you have perfectly good job only to find that you don't get paid for months at a time, yet still have to pay huge rent in advance? Not very fair - that hurts, and with no solid legal protection the feeling of helplessness really hurts.


"In other cities, like the city state of Singapore for example, it will cost you an arm and a leg just to get a permission to own a car let alone buying it. "

I think a car is not needed, since the public transportation is great. I lived in Berlin and I didnt have a car. I could use the public transportation (and I dont mean taxis!) any time and get home. Can I use the bus / metro to get from Atlantis hotel to Remraam at 3 in the morning on a Tuesday?


It would be a very interesting exercise to read your ex-colleague's view on you.
Maybe you could arrange that in the interest of balance and fairness?

Michael Poe

Here here !


I'd love to hear from the much maligned Brit - the author could have easily written his article without choosing to mention his nationality and I'd like to know why he felt it necessary to do so to get his point across. I call clickbait - stir up the tension between nationalities and the comments roll in. Imagine a similar article in London; "Why are people always running down London, a colleague of mine, an Emirati/Indian/Pakistani colleague, was always criticizing and moaning about Britain unfairly...." Guaranteed to get a certain section of the population frothing at the mouth. A hardness and intolerance is in danger of creeping into a city that previously had better things to think about and anything that divides us, defeats us.


@james. Indeed, so please try to use constructive comments.


Good article of course. Maybe a bit too side pro Dubai leaving on the side the problems to live here (like to live anywhere else). No place in the world is 100% perfect. Living in Dubai require good income or life can be a misery. Its not really a middle class environment. A couple with 1 kid making 25 000 aed per month together so 6000 euros net (great package in Europe) can barely make a living. 2 bedroom flat is at least 120 000 aed so 3k usd are gone , then school another 1k so it leave 1k for food and rest basically impossible. So choose carefully. To live well you need to make proper money. Nothing is free at all. Medical, school, transportation, food, entertainment there is a lot of cash required. Yes Dubai is safe , Dubai is booming, Dubai has great weather, great facilities. You are surrounded by luxury cars, luxury shopping, luxury airline, luxury hotels... But luxury has a price and don't get suck by the dream with no proper tool or frustration will be your daily breakfast

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