Many UAE expats unprepared for retirement - survey

New survey reveals majority of UAE expats do not have realistic plans for securing a comfortable lifestyle when they finish working
Many UAE expats unprepared for retirement - survey
When asked where they expect to retire, four-fifths of UAE expats said they would return to their home country and the remainder to another country.
By Sam Bridge
Mon 25 Mar 2019 02:30 PM

Less than half of expats in the UAE are regularly saving for their retirement despite many expecting to stop work when they reacch 55, according to a new survey.

Friends Provident International (FPI) recently commissioned market research and data analytics company YouGov to survey expats living in the UAE on their retirement plans. 

The findings showed that the majority of respondents do not have realistic plans for securing a comfortable lifestyle when they finish working.

While the research shows that overall more than one third of respondents (34 percent) expect to be retired by the time they reach the age of 55, and more than half (53 percent) before they are 60, only 48 percent are currently saving regularly for their retirement.

Furthermore, only one-third of respondents have an investment portfolio set aside to provide an income in retirement. Of the respondents that said they have a retirement portfolio, half (53 percent) claimed the value of their investments was less than $50,000 and three-quarters (76 percent) said the value was less than $100,000.

When asked where they expect to retire, four-fifths (81 percent) said they would return to their home country and the remainder to another country.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UAE were cited as the most popular retirement destinations for those not intending to return home.

Less than one-third (32 percent) of respondents said they are entitled to a state pension in their home country – a further 16 percent were not sure they would qualify, and 52 percent said they will not be entitled to a pension when they retire.

Chris Divito, managing director Middle East and Africa at FPI said: “It is concerning that while 75 percent of respondents expect to be retired by the time they are 65, less than half are currently saving regularly for their retirement. Of the people that are saving regularly, one third is only putting aside up to 10 percent of their monthly income.

"Perhaps even more worryingly, 58 percent of people only intend saving for up to 10 years before they retire. That is unlikely to give them enough time to build a retirement fund that is sufficient to sustain them in what should be their golden years."  

He added that base on the research, unless they take some drastic action to address the need for robust retirement planning, many expats in the UAE are going to fall some way short of achieving the comfortable retirement.

Divito said: “With no official retirement scheme for expats in the UAE, it is vital that people take personal responsibility for making sure that they can afford to survive life after work. People are clearly not saving enough - and are not starting to save early enough - to give themselves a chance of enjoying a financially independent retirement."

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