After a tumultuous year that was 2008, how can we survive 2009, a year billed in advance as one of the grimmest in years? Experts predict we have not yet seen the worst of the global financial crisis so saving will be vital over the next 12 months. Here's a medley of tips from the maestros to get you started.
1. Expect the Dubai Financial Market to pick up in the second half of the year. The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the UAE economy will grow nearly three per cent this year, which is good news for investors. Although experts suggest the next few months will be difficult, getting in early could help people make significant gains towards the end of 2009.
2. Always keep within the authorised overdraft limit on your bank account, says Andrew Hagger of Moneynet.co.uk, because bank fees and charges vary hugely. "Ten minutes on the phone or talking to someone in your local branch has got to be better than shelling out a three figure sum in charges," he says.
3. Beware of too many bargains. "You run the risk of buying things you don't actually need," says Gill Wrigley of Tenon Recovery, "so keep a check on what you spend and keep to your list."
4. Seek savings on bills. Air conditioning is not cheap so take advantage of the cooler months by keeping it off. Local landline-to-landline calls are also free, so use them instead of mobile phones.
5. Shop around to save on home and car insurance and obtaining no claims certificates.
6. Look to pay down the mortgage with any spare cash. Simon Lambie at Confused.com says even paying Dh300 a month more will save on interest and take years off the repayment period.
7. Don't be afraid to spend cash. Geoff Tresman, Chairman of Punter Southall Financial Management says: "Wherever possible, pay off debt. It could get expensive and painful in 2009. Accumulate savings, but do try to spend where possible, as it might help to ride the storm."
8. Serious savers are likely to find that corporate bonds will be the most rewarding asset class in 2009, says investment director Rob Pemberton at wealth manager HFM Columbus.
9. Pay off more than the minimum on credit card debts to save on high interest rates.
10. Invest in Russia. It's stock market might look bombed out, with the mighty oligarchs forced to go cap in hand to Putin for a bail-out – but Angelika Millendorfer at Raffeisen Capital Management says many equity valuations are too cheap, despite the potential 20 per cent devaluation of the rouble. She says: "The case for investing in Russia is supported by the oversold market situation. Panicked selling has pushed valuations lower than fair values in our opinion."
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