'I still think it's vulgar to talk about money': UAE entrepreneur on the need to be financially prudent

The British executive, 45, has done a lot of self-study about business development along the way and turned her agency into one of the leading names in the market

By Melanie Swan

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Published: Thu 9 May 2024, 5:40 PM

Natasha Hatherall has become a name in her own right after her 14 years in Dubai. She has used her role as the founder and CEO of TishTash Communications to pioneer a women’s-only company and champion causes that are close to her heart. The British executive, 45, has done a lot of self-study about business development along the way and turned her agency into one of the UAE’s leading names in the market.

How would you describe your relationship to money?

The best way to describe it is probably as ‘love/hate’. I appreciate and love the fact that money brings security, choice and freedom. There are many positives with money. However, there is also a very negative cycle when there is not enough money, which can be very limiting. It minimises choice and options for people. The ‘hate’ part is the realisation of how much power money has and how it does make the world go around.

What good or bad lessons about money management did you learn from your mother?

I picked up a scarcity mindset from my mother. After getting divorced from my father, money was something she always worried about, which has definitely passed on to me. I’ve been working very hard to shake this off in my adult life and move to a more enabling mindset.

Who do you speak to about money matters and is it something you consider ‘taboo’?

For most of my childhood and life, I have avoided talking about money to anyone, including my parents. I was brought up to believe that it was not the done thing to talk about money. It was only in the last 10 years since I’ve had my own business and financial matters to handle that I’ve seen the importance of having someone to speak to regarding money. Now I have a financial advisor as I feel it’s better to deal with this professionally. I still think certain conversations about money and wealth are quite vulgar, like discussing how much you earn or how much things cost, and I would try and avoid this where I could.

How do you think living in the UAE has changed your relationship with and perception of money?

Living in the UAE has enabled so many opportunities I don’t believe I would have had in the UK. It has also given me a business and lifestyle I may not have had in the UK and I’m grateful for that all the time.

If you could give your child one piece of advice about money now what would that be and why?

Spend time becoming financially literate and savvy. If you understand money and finances and how to play the money game well, it can be life changing.

What is your greatest financial decision? The one you are most proud of or the most profitable one?

Buying property has definitely been the best decision I made. It has given me a greater sense of security and foundation. It has also reduced my living expenses a lot. Through selling and buying at the right times, I’ve helped speed up my financial goals too without the support of anyone.

What is your biggest financial regret?

I wish I’d become a saver rather than a spender earlier in my life. Like many on arrival to the UAE 14 years ago and earning a very good salary, I enjoyed the Dubai lifestyle a lot and had a good number of years wasting money and living to my new means. I wish I’d done less brunches, bought less handbags and saved more.


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