Where there’s a will, there’s a way to protect your family (November 2020)

I have published articles on this topic before but in light of the recent changes to the personal status laws in the UAE, this has been updated to cover the new rules.

If you have assets, and more importantly, if you have children, then you need a Will. This is a subject that many people are reluctant to address but there are many misconceptions and an all too common reluctance to talk about the relevant issues. In this article I want to set out a few facts and answer the most popular questions that I am asked.

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New personal laws in the UAE but what do they really mean for you?

I am sure most people have seen the articles about some significant legislative changes in the UAE with changes to the penal code and personal status laws and these are very positive in all respects. In this article, I want to explain what this actually means in relation to the financial issues, as headlines are not always quite what they seem and there are subjects that still need to be considered and addressed by expats, especially in terms of the distribution of assets in death.

Let’s address the various points in turn.

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What has a financial adviser ever done for you?

Paraphrasing Monty Python, purely to get your attention, but it’s a valid question. I am in an industry that is frequently criticised in the UAE, often for good reason, but let me explain why using a qualified adviser (rather than a salesperson pretending to be an adviser) is a good thing and how you can benefit.

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Five Financial Tips for New Parents

When you have a child, you get lots of advice and tips from everyone but one area that tends to be overlooked is the financial aspect. In the excitement of impending parenthood, or the crazy first few months (or years!) you can forget this essential topic so this article is designed to be a useful guide to some of the issues you need to consider.

Multiple surveys have put the cost of raising a child at eye-watering levels over their first 18 years and expats working in the UAE have the added cost of education and medical bills to contend with. Let’s look at some of the financial practical steps you need to consider.

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Looking for property investment with high yield? In London?

Yes, such a thing is available and it is something very different to the usual apartments on offer. I have a new investment for clients with yields of over 10% per annum.

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News: Minimum age to access UK private pensions to change


This information has been confirmed on the UK Parliament website following an exchange in the House of Commons today, 3rd September 2020.

The exact wording is as follows:

In 2014 the government announced it would increase the minimum pension age to 57 from 2028, reflecting trends in longevity and encouraging individuals to remain in work, while also helping to ensure pension savings provide for later life.

That announcement set out the timetable for this change well in advance to enable people to make financial plans and will be legislated for in due course.”

The change will not take place for some time so no need to panic now but it will mean that some people who had intended to access their personal pensions at age 55 years, per the current rules, will have to adjust their plans for two years.

This is simply about personal plans and is not linked to the UK’s State Pension

To arrange a discussion about your retirements plans, your UK pensions, or any aspect of your personal financial planning, please email me at keren@holbornassets.com

I write articles such as this one as part of the holistic personal financial planning service and that I provide to expats, and the general consumer, financial and legal information that I provide in The National newspaper, on Capital Radio UAE, and on the Facebook group British Expats Dubai.

Please take a look at the other useful articles on this website.

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10 Steps for Smart Investing

The financial services industry is full of jargon and sales messages so sometimes it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction, the reality from the adverts and the sales pitches. With that in mind, I have put together a simple guide to 10 practical and logical steps you need to follow when investing.

It is too easy to sidetracked from planning your future, our lives are busy after all,  but it rarely needs to be as complicated as some might make out. My role is to make this simpler, and better, for you.  Continue reading

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New to Dubai? Important facts & financial information

Welcome to Dubai and a new and exciting life. There is a lot to learn and while this is not a complete guide to setting up in Dubai, it does give you a useful overview of many of the financial and legal issues that new residents need to be aware of. A version of this article was first published in July 2017, and has proven to be popular, but an update is useful.

Your ability to live in the UAE is linked to employment and it is impossible to rent a property (apart from on a short-term basis) without a residency visa and accompanying identity card. These will be provided by your employer or as part of the package when you set up a trade licence if you wish to have your own business. You also need these to buy a car, get a UAE driving licence, get an alcohol licence – a legal requirement for Dubai residents if you want to buy alcohol anywhere and or keep alcohol in your home.

The rules can vary between emirates, although the main legal issues are correct for all, but this guide is mainly for Dubai residents.

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Can you afford to survive a critical illness?

I have two simple questions for you. Could you and your family survive financially if you suffered a serious illness and were unable to work? Even if you could, would it decimate your savings and future plans?

Being diagnosed with cancer, heart disease or having a stroke is something you don’t expect and is often a matter of bad luck, but you can take steps to make sure you and your family can manage without any financial problems, taking away a major cause of stress.

Let me tell you about a true story. This happened to a client of mine.

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The Mystery of the Missing Pensions

Research has shown that a large number of people have forgotten UK pension plans, or lost track of a plan from years ago or from previous employment. The value of these lost pension funds is around £19.4 billion according to figures from the Association of British Insurers in 2019.

Other research estimates that one in eight UK citizens has at least one forgotten pension. When studies show that some 60% of UK adult are concerned about their retirement planning, it makes sense to ensure you don’t lose out by not having access to all your pension money.

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