'Money is its own teacher': Dubai entrepreneur on how investing in real estate turned her fortunes

Moving from North America to the UAE was eye-opening for her, especially when it came to understanding money

By Melanie Swan

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Published: Thu 2 May 2024, 5:55 PM

Noni Anand has been in the UAE for 12 years. But the 47-year-old has made a thriving success of her own financial life joining him on the journey. The co-founder of Leva Hotels now calls Dubai home.

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

Moving from North America to the UAE was eye-opening for me, especially when it came to understanding money. I learned the importance of distinguishing between good debt and bad debt. My life lessons in the UAE have made managing finances feel more straightforward. It's given me a sense of confidence in making financial choices that I never had before.

How would you describe your relationship to money?

It’s all love, it’s all good. It’s been a learning. Money is about the endless possibilities it brings, the dreams it helps me fulfil, and the impact it allows me to make in the world. It's about how I can use it to make a difference in the lives of others. Money gives me the means to turn those dreams into reality.

How do you think this relationship was formed?

This relationship was formed the first day I earned my first rupee as a sales executive. Since then, it's only gotten stronger. Ever since that first salary, it has been the catalyst that has made things possible. And I'm excited to see what else we can do in the future.

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

She showed me how to be careful with what we have; to save for the future; and to appreciate every rupee we earned. Her lessons stuck with me, reminding me to be responsible and grateful for what I have.

Who has taught you the most about financial management?

Money (having it, versus not having it.) It’s its own teacher.

What advice could give your child or your younger self about money?

Invest, invest, invest. Investing is like planting seeds for the future. It's about making your money work for you, instead of the other way around. By investing wisely, you have the potential to grow your wealth over time, whether it's through stocks, real estate, or other avenues.

Do you long-term plan your finances, and if so, how?

Long-term financial planning is crucial to me. My strategy revolves around maintaining a delicate balance between liquidity and investments. One of the key principles I adhere to is ensuring that I've saved 10 times the value of what I'm currently spending on any luxury item. Additionally, I allocate a portion of my income towards investments, carefully diversifying across different asset classes to mitigate risk and maximise returns. By staying proactive and disciplined in my approach, I aim to secure a stable financial future for myself and my loved ones.

How much do you save each month?

On an average, I make it a point to set aside between 20 and 30 per cent of my monthly income for savings. It's a practice I've found to be both practical and rewarding, allowing me to build a financial cushion for the future while still enjoying the present.

What is your biggest financial regret? Or your biggest financial loss?

I have no regrets. Hence no losses. Because I believe we all have choices and at the end of it we have to do what is best for us at that time and stand by it.


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