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If you live in the UAE, new survey finds that your retirement looks bleak

Some 85% of UAE residents still feel that they are not saving enough for their future, according to a new survey by National Bonds Corporation.

The 2017 Savings Index surveyed 1,320 participants across the GCC including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman.

The figure is slightly lower compared to 89% in 2016, the survey found.

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2018 is the year of savings

The index found that over 66% of those surveyed in the Arab region believe that saving is important. 77% of those surveyed in the UAE believe that saving is essential.

While 67% of UAE respondents said they aim to increase their savings in the next six months, 68% cited “making their families happier” as the main reason for saving.

“It seems, overall, people are positive about the economic environment in the region,” Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, CEO, National Bonds Corporation.

“The IMF has predicted global activity will gain momentum in 2018, and with the growth predicted here in the GCC, the savings environment looks set to increase in 2018. The more money people have, the more they should be saving. It is as simple as that,” he added.

However, this year’s report also found that 41% of respondents in the UAE plan to start saving in 2018, while 57% plan to increase their savings in this year, compared to 64% in 2017.

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Reality vs. expectations

Al-Ali also said: “The results of the 2017 Savings Index highlight that, although people want to save, they do not always have the tools or know-how to do so.”

“While it is not surprising to see that residents in the UAE are not saving as much as they believe they should, it is interesting to see the disconnect between the intent to save and the numbers of people saving year-on-year,” he added

He also said that education remains integral to increasing savings across the nation: “If people realize the key role which savings plays in securing a happy future, everything else would fall in its place. Just look at the statistics, nearly half of residents aim to save more in 2018 – the appetite is there, we just need to tap into it.”

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How does the UAE compare?

The report also found that, at 42%, respondents in Saudi Arabia are the most positive about the present savings environment, compared to 30% in the UAE and 30% in other GCC countries.

Overall, the UAE has the largest proportion of regular savers, at 42%, compared to 27% in Saudi Arabia and 23% in other GCC countries.