Profile: Jules Lewis talks spending, saving and investing

Profile: Jules Lewis talks spending, saving and investing
23 June 2013

Jules Lewis runs Mountain High, a UAE-based organization that offers people the chance to go on adventurous expeditions. She’s also an explorer, a women’s health advocate and a personal leadership specialist.

What’s your spending philosophy?

I’m very into the idea that you should invest in yourself.  I’m also a big believer in the fact that you need to be fit to succeed and I’d like to continue having adventures well into my 70’s 80’s and 90’s. Right now, at the sage old age of 51, I am thinking about my future too – we have long lives in my family. So really, it’s a three-pronged approach. Investing in myself so I can grow and learn, investing in my life experiences, and planning ahead for the future.

What’s the biggest challenge facing consumers today?

Too much choice! There’s an information overload going on out there.  You invest in a piece of technology for example, and then six months later it’s been re-invented, upgraded etc and there’s a new hardware on the market. I think it’s a sign of our fast-changing world, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

What’s your opinion on the credit crunch? Have lessons been learned?

It’s an interesting question. You know, I had my first credit card when I was 27 years wise. The reason why I got one was because I was stuck in the middle of the Gulf crisis and I called my father from the British Embassy in Riyadh to say ‘I don’t have any money. I don’t have a credit card and I have to get home. Please send me some money through the foreign office!’ And when I landed safely back home I thought, maybe I should actually get a credit card now – just for emergencies. And that’s how I continue to view it. In my opinion, borrowing is far too easy.  If you want something, then pay cash for it.

What’s your first experience of money?

As a young girl I’d do odds and ends to boost my income. When I was at university I worked as a lifeguard – and that whole experience of earning and learning was very valuable. I wanted to have more choice in life and I saw earning, working and saving as the solution to that. I see money as a form of paper energy. We’re born naked and we have nothing, and we leave this world in the same way, but in the interim period, we can use money to have experiences, to help us grow, learn and develop. I’m a bit of a scatterer when it comes to cash. I make sure I have enough for the basics and savings, and then the rest I invest on having great experiences – because you learn so much from that.

How much is a bottle of water?

A small one?  Here in the UAE it’s AED1. The hotels here charge a lot more though!

What’s been your biggest financial mistake to date?

Hmmm. I once lost quite a bit of money on a currency exchange. I was running an expedition and didn’t think to calculate exchange rates when I was changing over the money. As a result it turned out to be quite an expensive mistake. I learned from it though! Admittedly, it wasn’t a financial train crash, but it was definitely a sharp ouch. I also wished I’d invested more earlier on. I’m only just opening my mind up to that now.

What's your spending philosophy? Do you like to invest in yourself too? Tell us why.

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