Time and patience are great healers

Time and patience are great healers
25 September 2013

cashy.me’s own Rupert Connor on financial education, investment flops, and getting clued up to your money habits

Today we are so delighted to re-introduce a familiar face to our community – our very own cashy contributor Rupert Connor! Rupert is the face behind some of our super savvy monthly investment articles here on cashy.me and so was the first name that popped into our collective head for jargon-busting all things financial. His articles are clear, concise and packed full of great tips to use your money to its maximum potential. We’re so happy he kindly agreed to tell us his money story and be our UAE Saves Week ambassador for Wise Up Wednesday. Over to you, Rupert!

How did you find yourself in the UAE? I had completed my financial planning qualifications in the UK and spent 2 years putting theory into practice in my hometown of Shrewsbury and felt that I needed a change and new challenge. I looked at various cities both in the UK and around the world but eventually decided on the exciting opportunities in Dubai.

What changes have you seen during your time in the Middle East with regards to attitudes to money? The people I deal with on a daily basis have become thriftier and money-savvy since the economic crisis first began, which I wholly encourage. However, I still feel that people in this region do not save enough considering we live in a tax-free environment. Of course we all know there are hidden ‘taxes’ here but by and large we are all in a better position financially in the UAE than if we were back in our home countries.

What would you say is the most common money mistake you see people making? Spending beyond their means and racking up credit card debt; does that sound familiar? Sometimes spending gets so out of control that people are terrified to even come clean with their partners.

When it comes to financial literacy, what are the things our community NEEDS to educate themselves about in order to make their money work for them? That saving an affordable amount, in a disciplined manner over a sustained period of time will create new wealth for any individual and should be a priority for all especially whilst living in a tax-free environment.

Do you think financial education has a place in schools? Will this go some of the way towards helping people manage their money more effectively? I would suggest that teaching pupils the value of money is of paramount importance in the upbringing of a child. This responsibility rests on the shoulders of parents, not just educators, but needs to be addressed early on like all healthy habits - simple things like introducing a small amount of pocket money when they are toddlers is helpful in teaching children how to spend responsibly.

What are the more common money troubles you find expats having in the Middle East? Out-of-control debt and, worryingly, no health insurance.

Do you think financial awareness is improving in the Middle East? What needs to happen, looking towards the future, in order for people to become more conscious of their cash and live more frugally? I fear for the region’s financial awareness. Unlike other countries, people have no government incentive for saving. I would like to see better regulation in the financial sector and the government doing more to promote and reward those saving for their retirement and family’s future.

What is your biggest money regret? Buying a second hand car without doing the proper research and getting it checked out by a mechanic. The words ‘money pit’ spring to mind! Buying second hand was not the problem but not getting a second opinion was a big mistake.

When did you start saving? Was this something that was instilled in you from a young age? I was at boarding school from an early age and my parents would give me pocket money of £7 per week (essentially £1 per day). This taught me the value of money and installed a sense of thriftiness from an early age. As a teenager my family took out a PEP for me in the UK (private equity plan), which is where I first learnt about finance and  investments.

How did you manage your money/budget during leaner times? In terms of ‘tightening one's belt’, this can easily be achieved by looking at spending habits, e.g. where you buy groceries, cutting out coffees, using public transport etc. Put some thought into what your money is being spent on and save those pennies!

Have you ever made a bad investment? Over the years I have come to learn that not all investments will work, full stop! Some of them will fail to gain as much as the best or even the average. Others will lose money absolutely. As an investor, you have to be tough. You have to accept that there will be days, weeks, months or even years when the signs are negative and the price screens are red with losses. One mustn’t forget that a loss is only a loss (and a profit only a profit) when you close out the position by selling.

I am taking a long-term view with the investments I have made so only time will tell if I have made a bad investment. However, I like to think that I have entered into growth assets.

How does one get over losing money when investing? Time and patience have been the great healers of investment difficulties. Or at least they have been for the past century or so, and there’s no reason for a change! So time is on your side. Panic is pointless, but you can profit when others rush to sell indiscriminately. If you can keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs, you should end up well ahead with no talk of losing money!

Join Rupert with team cashy at one of our Money Clinics...

Is there a financial term you don't understand or seek clarity on a financial issue? How about adding a question or take a photo of the most costly purchase you’ve regretted, or a financial term that you'd like to understand, and upload it to our gallery!

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