'When you don’t have any money, no one likes you': Ugandan expat on her relationship with money

Ugandan expat on her ever-evolving relationship with money

By Melanie Swan

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Published: Thu 16 May 2024, 5:49 PM

Dorothy Ayenyo is a restaurant supervisor at Drip Burgers, and admits her relationship with money is complicated. At 34, she has worked her way up the career ladder since coming to Dubai four years ago from Uganda and has created a network of properties to help her family back home.

How would you describe your relationship with money?

My relationship with money is quite complicated, depending on how I acquire, spend and manage money. I have worked on understanding the emotional side of financial decisions, like if I’m a low salary earner, my dreams can’t be beyond my earnings. I also seek help from a trusted financial advisor, and enjoy being around people who have a good relationship with money.

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

My mum encouraged me to put money away into my 401(k) (retirement savings plan). She also encouraged me to treat myself every now and then; so I work, but also enjoy things in life. She taught me that travelling was a great thing to spend money on.

Who has taught you the most about financial management?

My dad. He taught me how to budget and keep track of where I spend my income. The first step has to be keeping track of where and on what you are currently spending.

What do you think has been the most profound experience you’ve had so far in relation to money, good or bad?

The bad experience I have had with money is that when you have money people love you, if not, no one likes you. This happened to me when I lost my job in my country. At a time when I earned well and sent money to my family I was very important, everybody loved me. But when I lost my job and didn’t have any money, even when there was a family meeting, I was not allowed to speak. This taught me a great lesson: before you consider anyone else, consider yourself first, save and create a source of income and then you can continue helping your people.

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

Living in the UAE has taught me how to be independent, and also built my confidence. Here, I enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and I can see how the money I’m saving can solve my problems back home.

How much do you save each month?

I save 40 per cent of my money to my account monthly.

How much do you plan to have by the time you are 65?

My plan is to retire by 55, so before that I want to create a good business for myself and also ensure my kids have a good education, and they will be working in the UAE. By 65, my plan is to settle back home and run my own business.

What is your greatest financial decision?

My greatest financial decision is to build houses for rentals for my family to ensure they have a constant flow of income, so every month, they are able to get money from the houses.

What is your biggest financial regret?

My biggest financial regret was when I was scammed on social media. I was trying to get a loan from the bank. I got a money lender from Facebook. It was very sad.


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