How much of your salary in UAE should you put away for retirement?
Dubai - There is an urgent need for employees to plan for their future.
There is an urgent need to create investment funds to manage the retirement and end of service benefits of employees, a senior UAE official said at the inaugural Workers Incentives and End of Services Benefits (WIEOSB) conference on Tuesday.
Dr. Abdulrahman Abdulmanan Al Awar, director general of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR), said: "The accelerating global technological advancements, the increased retirement age and years of service, leave no doubt that there is an excellent opportunity and an urgent need in the region to establish investment funds to manage retirement and end-of-service benefits."
"What we are envisioning is for the UAE to provide the best environment to introduce a shift in our traditional way of thinking. It does not need to be at the federal level or run by the government, but there should be options for companies to start developing best practices and provide (investment) options for the employees," Al Awar explained to Khaleej Times after his speech.
Putting up an investment fund to ensure end of service benefits (EOSB) will enhance the long-term business relationship between employees and employers, he noted.
"These funds will provide saving opportunities to UAE employees and lift investment in our domestic economies, while considering market stability and the low risks associated with such investment opportunities in the country," he noted.
Al Awar added: "The EOSB schemes can come in the form of investment options - which are privately owned but regulated by the government - while companies can also provide advice to protect employee savings,"
He added that "these funds will help employees plan properly by taking advantage of end of service benefits, enabling them to make use of their financial resources, and creating jobs for new generations."
Al Awar's proposal is also in line with the warning by financial experts that expats in the UAE struggle to save regularly.
A survey conducted last year by National Bonds revealed that around 85 per cent of UAE residents are not saving enough for their future. The figure is actually down from 89 per cent in 2016.
The respondents say they are not able to save because they don't know how to effectively manage their finances.
Meanwhile, Sean Kelleher, CEO of Mondial LLC, a financial advisory firm that organised the conference, noted that the UAE labour laws "already insist that EOSB should be accounted for into the corporate balance sheets."
"But the problem for employees is that there is no law which forces employers to fund severance pay schemes off the balance sheet," underlined Kelleher, adding: "This exposes all employees to the bankruptcy of businesses."
"There is a real need to provide a high-quality retirement scheme culture. This will certainly provide a diversification angle to the UAE economy and will definitely mark an improvement in the country's consumer industry," he underlined.
He added: "The conference has started a dialogue to establish an ideal platform to attract experts and stakeholders to discuss and exchange ideas and visions on global best practices related to end-of-service reward systems at local, regional and global levels."
Financial advisor Susan Francisco, founder of expadvicer.com, said it may sound cliché but "the earlier for expats to start saving, the better it would for them."
She said expats should not delay their savings plan. "It is ideal put away between 20 to 30 per cent of your monthly salary. Do it at a young age and you will reap great benefits when you retire," she underlined.
Francisco noted that the country's cosmopolitan lifestyle is draining the people's money because of too much consumption and socializing.
People, particularly the expats, should be educated to save money. "Savings will secure a happy future," she emphasised.
83% of employees value their workplace retirement scheme. However, only 54% of employers promote their workplace scheme at the recruitment process.
76% of stressed employees would go to a different company if that company provided advice on financial wellness and 50% on non-stressed employees would also jump ship for the same reason
PWC Employee Financial Wellbeing Survey, 2018
85% of UAE residents believe they are not saving enough for their future, based on a
survey conducted by National Bonds in 2018, down from 89% in 2016.