Education fees are the main concern for 35-year-old Accountant Nancy Bernard, who has recently moved to Dubai from France: "I have just moved here for a better life, as I was offered a higher, tax-free salary. However, I have two sons aged two and three, and did not realise the high cost of school fees in this country, which my company will not pay for.
I have also read reports that school fees cannot go up by more than 30 per cent over the next three years, which still seems very high. My children will be going to school in the next couple of years. Is there any savings policy I can sign up for now or am I too late to provide the funds to get them into a good school?"
Unfortunately, you are correct that school fees are very high in Dubai and it does appear that employers are less likely to pay for these fees than perhaps was the case during the boom period in Dubai. Unless someone has enough capital to provide for the fees, then the most suitable method is to save a regular amount over a number of years, which builds up into a large sum that can be used to fund such fees.
Luckily you are still young, so if you start saving regularly you can fund the education fees and perhaps even university fees. There are plenty of savings plans available in the UAE but you do have to be careful.
Some may look attractive, but you must consider all charges. Also, is the product transparent? And you must also consider access to your capital. Will you be charged for accessing the capital you have built up to pay the fees?
Regular savings can offer access to many funds, allowing for diversification, which is important to maintain the growth of your assets and try to protect your capital in market downturns.
By investing regular amounts over a number of years, you can smooth out any market fluctuations, making downturns easier and still capitalising upon peaks. This will produce a far greater growth than by making a one off investment.
It is important to find a reputable financial advisor and consider the options.
-Independent Financial Advisor Gavin Smith analyses readers' portfolio for Emirates Business. He is Area Manager for consultants PIC, a member of the deVere Group of companies. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org