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Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Old Jul 12th 2019, 7:31 am
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Default Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Hi all, Need some advice please. My circumstances: offered a position with current company with a basic 32000aed a month, school for 3 children , medical for all, housing, car allowance, as one annual flight home as extra benefits. we want to live but also save. is this possible with this package. I'm just not sure day to day living will suffice on this
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Old Jul 12th 2019, 9:58 am
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

This depends on how much the school allowance is (per child/amount etc.) as how much the housing allowance is?
Those are fixed costs, so if they are covered in full, then maybe 32K would be enough depending on your lifestyle and how much you want to save per month.
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Old Jul 12th 2019, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Thanks for reply. Housing is 140k. School is 40k per child for 2 kids (6yrs & 8yrs). Following the British curriculum. We're aiming to save at least 2000 Sterling per month.
maybe it's too optimistic a figure
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Old Jul 13th 2019, 7:47 am
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

If your housing and school fees are covered with the allowances, and that's not 32k per month inclusive of allowances - I see no reason why you couldn't put away your savings target each month on that.
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Old Jul 13th 2019, 9:01 am
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
If your housing and school fees are covered with the allowances, and that's not 32k per month inclusive of allowances - I see no reason why you couldn't put away your savings target each month on that.
yeh. I agree.

My rent (140k) + credit card totals about 30k a month. That includes monthly flights to the UK, all utilities etc. And basically all my outgoings. The maid is 2.6k a month (including visa costs after the initial upfront).

Go cheap on the cars to start with. Easy to get carried away and spend loads. I own mine so there are no monthly outgoings associated with them.

Go easy with with the kids activities. They are expensive and you’ve a lot of rug rats.

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Old Jul 13th 2019, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

It also somewhat depends on what lifestyle you are used to in the UK and what your expectations are in Dubai, what sort of holidays you want, what activities your kids are used to doing, what hobbies you have etc etc. Personally I wouldn’t want to run a family of 5 on 23k a month (balance after saving). Of course anyone can live an economic lifestyle and many people do and are very happy but it all really depends why you are moving here. Many end up very unhappy because they are short of dosh even trying to mirror their family life in the UK without being extravagant. Also factor any ongoing commitments in the UK, NI contributions, tax liabilities until you become tax free. Does £2k saving also take into account any pension you may have accrued in the UK. Many things to consider. Good luck with whatever decision you make.





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Old Jul 13th 2019, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Originally Posted by UKMS View Post
It also somewhat depends on what lifestyle you are used to in the UK and what your expectations are in Dubai, what sort of holidays you want, what activities your kids are used to doing, what hobbies you have etc etc. Personally I wouldn’t want to run a family of 5 on 23k a month (balance after saving). Of course anyone can live an economic lifestyle and many people do and are very happy but it all really depends why you are moving here. Many end up very unhappy because they are short of dosh even trying to mirror their family life in the UK without being extravagant. Also factor any ongoing commitments in the UK, NI contributions, tax liabilities until you become tax free. Does £2k saving also take into account any pension you may have accrued in the UK. Many things to consider. Good luck with whatever decision you make.





Thanks for all the feedback. The 2k is factoring in pension amount + savings. Our house back home will be rented out so bit of income on this about 1k. No other expenses.
back home life is basic day to day with kids: swimming, play center, parks, kids sports etc. We don't plan on visiting every tourist attraction in Dubai or eating out often. Of course budget on paper may be different to reality there. But we're only planning for about 3yrs in Dubai as the contract is for this duration.
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Old Jul 13th 2019, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post


yeh. I agree.

My rent (140k) + credit card totals about 30k a month. That includes monthly flights to the UK, all utilities etc. And basically all my outgoings. The maid is 2.6k a month (including visa costs after the initial upfront).

Go cheap on the cars to start with. Easy to get carried away and spend loads. I own mine so there are no monthly outgoings associated with them.

Go easy with with the kids activities. They are expensive and you’ve a lot of rug rats.

Yes I feel the kids activities is what I would need to control the most. Especially when other kids from school have things or go places. That's where I feel some challenge
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Old Jul 14th 2019, 3:41 am
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice


Originally Posted by L Ray View Post
Yes I feel the kids activities is what I would need to control the most. Especially when other kids from school have things or go places. That's where I feel some challenge
Yup. Super expensive and competitive.

Remember this place is incredibly dull for many months of the year and the only way to entertain them is to burn cash. Literally. In fact burning 100dh notes in the garden may actually be cheaper source of entertainment.

Also not clear in my original post is that I have a baby that doesn’t cost anything, and mum works thereby paying for her bits. You’ll need more than me to live. My house is only 3 beds so wouldn’t house all the kids if you’re thinking separate rooms.

Last edited by Millhouse; Jul 14th 2019 at 3:44 am.
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Old Jul 15th 2019, 2:05 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

I'm surprised no one has pointed out school fees are on the low side. The middling to better schools are charging at least 50k for primary with most 60+, and up to 100k for secondary. You'll be dipping into your base to cover the differential.

My guess is that on your offer you will live comfortably enough but save very little. If you do the back of envelope calculations you will probably be able to see how you can save 10k a month, but a lot of that money will disappear on holidays and the miscellaneous spending of life, leaving you with not much to show at the end of the year.

The potential to save is still there if you're flexible with housing and schools. Ordinary schools rather than the popular Western schools, a cheap villa in Mirdiff, or even an apartment rather than a villa, as apartments have much cheaper utilities. But the question then becomes is it worth it?
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Old Jul 17th 2019, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
I'm surprised no one has pointed out school fees are on the low side. The middling to better schools are charging at least 50k for primary with most 60+, and up to 100k for secondary. You'll be dipping into your base to cover the differential.

My guess is that on your offer you will live comfortably enough but save very little. If you do the back of envelope calculations you will probably be able to see how you can save 10k a month, but a lot of that money will disappear on holidays and the miscellaneous spending of life, leaving you with not much to show at the end of the year.

The potential to save is still there if you're flexible with housing and schools. Ordinary schools rather than the popular Western schools, a cheap villa in Mirdiff, or even an apartment rather than a villa, as apartments have much cheaper utilities. But the question then becomes is it worth it?
Yes that's the ultimate question for us. Is what we budget on paper going to be reality. Of course we can live prudent but to pack up and move to Dubai we want to live also. Not extravagant but have enjoyment. So I think I will need to improve my package if this is going to be feasible
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Old Jul 21st 2019, 10:34 am
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Originally Posted by L Ray View Post
Yes that's the ultimate question for us. Is what we budget on paper going to be reality. Of course we can live prudent but to pack up and move to Dubai we want to live also. Not extravagant but have enjoyment. So I think I will need to improve my package if this is going to be feasible
The offer is definitely enough to live and save.
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Old Jul 23rd 2019, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

We are temporarily back in the UK after a few years in Dubai and can say that the comments about school fees are valid. Some of the cheaper schools are filled with kids with lower English skills and so results in development can be poor, the teachers often are not European. My kids were in an establishment in Motor City for a short while that fell into this category and the teachers Egyptian-English and Indian-English did start to affect the accents of my kids (not at all happy). You may get a school on budget but at educations and accents expense.
Whilst you can go mad on school fees for top end establishments, we found SAFA near the Ranches had a very English feel to it and had some good, enthusiastic European teachers. Just about all the kids had developed English language skills and progress was good. However it is above the budget your employer has offered and so dipping into the salary would be required. I would check SAFA's current fees and use it as a benchmark. My kids loved it there (8+10).

Dependent upon where you are working, choosing the right area to live in can make your commute on a scale from pleasant to hideous and from short to very long indeed. There are cheaper places to live but that may well come with excruciating commute times. When you have looked at where you are working, you can start to figure out where to live and what it will cost. There are lots of places still being built and rents had certainly dropped by the time we left at the end of February. Personally i still rate the Ranches as a great family environment and there should be stuff on budget at 140K easily for a 3 bed, perhaps less now though that means kids sharing decent sized rooms.
After a short period kicking the arse of enjoying cars which is one of my passions, we knuckled down for the remaining years, shopped on a tight budget each week, bought booze on a monthly booze run to the cheap shop and saved a ruck. We didn't join in the big kids birthday parties, we didn't splash out on brunches (1 in 6 years in Dubai and 2 in 12 years in the Gulf), banked all bonuses and LTIPs. In fact I only took the Mrs out 2 times in 12 years but we did socialise with the kids parents at home bbq's etc.
My Mrs always wanted to ensure we left the Gulf with a house in the UK paid for, a rental property paid for, new car at home for her and my UK garage full of toys and so wasn't arsed about going out. Most wives are not as accommodating and if you go shopping and go partying you can end up blowing a fortune especially on kids and especially during the summer. Dont let the kids talk you into getting any pets there. They cost a fortune to get home, assuming you dont dump them back in the desert or back in the shelter, when you leave.

I loved Dubai for a number of reasons: Cheaper but no longer cheap Cigarettes, glorious winters to camp out and fish, V8's, and ability to wake up to blue skies for almost every day of the year and most important of all of course was to save bucks. If the bucks weren't there, i would not have bothered. I really would think twice about your numbers. My personal belief is that you may be stretched a bit by the time you have got the kids into a nicer school, maybe got a slightly bigger villa in a nice area and so on. We knew lots of people just getting by financially which never made any sense to me.

My next move, after discovering that the UK salaries are no higher than when we left unless you move to London; is to probably head to Oman (job offer on the table now), sexy salary but go on my own, live in the company labour camp to save the generous accommodation allowance and work for my last 2 years before retiring. No brunches, no **** all, even smokes have gone up ridiculously I believe.

What I am trying to say, is that the Gulf should be about maximising the tax free element to do something with the saved cash and not be about just getting by, notwithstanding young single teachers who come out to get some sunshine, party and get trashed.
Savings is the Gulfs purpose for grown ups, nothing else, really crunch the numbers in fine detail, if you dont think it can deliver then either go on your own or dont go.

Good luck either way
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Old Jul 23rd 2019, 8:39 am
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Excellent post Tockalosh <thumbsup>

We moved to Dubai 16 years ago - seems like a lifetime ago now! With a 2 year old and a newborn, our primary aim at that time was to go from 2 salaries to 1 salary and for my wife to be able to give up work and be a fulltime mum. That we were able to to, though as the kids reached primary school and kindergarten age it was not as easy to do. It's probably even harder to do today. Even then I could see huge numbers of families effectively trapped.... saving nothing, being squeezed at every turn, but convincing themselves that the lifestyle was worth it. Honestly, it is not. As Tockalosh says, the only reason to be in the Gulf is to save money. If you're not saving money, you're wasting your time because in almost every other aspect being in the Gulf means you're going backwards.

We stayed in Dubai almost 3 years, then moved on to the Far East, then Canada, now Europe. I still know some people from our time in Dubai who are still there, had a nice time and got a nice suntan but actually got precious little behind them to show for it, that's especially true for those who didn't maintain a house in the UK. I'm not saying the OP would end up like that, but it's just a warning to not become mesmerised by the lifestyle instead of the loot. Before you dip into your own money to top up school fees etc. ask yourself "What are my reasons for coming here?"

Good luck!
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Old Jul 23rd 2019, 9:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Dubai family of 5 - need advice

Originally Posted by Tockalosh View Post
We are temporarily back in the UK after a few years in Dubai and can say that the comments about school fees are valid. Some of the cheaper schools are filled with kids with lower English skills and so results in development can be poor, the teachers often are not European. My kids were in an establishment in Motor City for a short while that fell into this category and the teachers Egyptian-English and Indian-English did start to affect the accents of my kids (not at all happy). You may get a school on budget but at educations and accents expense.
Whilst you can go mad on school fees for top end establishments, we found SAFA near the Ranches had a very English feel to it and had some good, enthusiastic European teachers. Just about all the kids had developed English language skills and progress was good. However it is above the budget your employer has offered and so dipping into the salary would be required. I would check SAFA's current fees and use it as a benchmark. My kids loved it there (8+10).

Dependent upon where you are working, choosing the right area to live in can make your commute on a scale from pleasant to hideous and from short to very long indeed. There are cheaper places to live but that may well come with excruciating commute times. When you have looked at where you are working, you can start to figure out where to live and what it will cost. There are lots of places still being built and rents had certainly dropped by the time we left at the end of February. Personally i still rate the Ranches as a great family environment and there should be stuff on budget at 140K easily for a 3 bed, perhaps less now though that means kids sharing decent sized rooms.
After a short period kicking the arse of enjoying cars which is one of my passions, we knuckled down for the remaining years, shopped on a tight budget each week, bought booze on a monthly booze run to the cheap shop and saved a ruck. We didn't join in the big kids birthday parties, we didn't splash out on brunches (1 in 6 years in Dubai and 2 in 12 years in the Gulf), banked all bonuses and LTIPs. In fact I only took the Mrs out 2 times in 12 years but we did socialise with the kids parents at home bbq's etc.
My Mrs always wanted to ensure we left the Gulf with a house in the UK paid for, a rental property paid for, new car at home for her and my UK garage full of toys and so wasn't arsed about going out. Most wives are not as accommodating and if you go shopping and go partying you can end up blowing a fortune especially on kids and especially during the summer. Dont let the kids talk you into getting any pets there. They cost a fortune to get home, assuming you dont dump them back in the desert or back in the shelter, when you leave.

I loved Dubai for a number of reasons: Cheaper but no longer cheap Cigarettes, glorious winters to camp out and fish, V8's, and ability to wake up to blue skies for almost every day of the year and most important of all of course was to save bucks. If the bucks weren't there, i would not have bothered. I really would think twice about your numbers. My personal belief is that you may be stretched a bit by the time you have got the kids into a nicer school, maybe got a slightly bigger villa in a nice area and so on. We knew lots of people just getting by financially which never made any sense to me.

My next move, after discovering that the UK salaries are no higher than when we left unless you move to London; is to probably head to Oman (job offer on the table now), sexy salary but go on my own, live in the company labour camp to save the generous accommodation allowance and work for my last 2 years before retiring. No brunches, no **** all, even smokes have gone up ridiculously I believe.

What I am trying to say, is that the Gulf should be about maximising the tax free element to do something with the saved cash and not be about just getting by, notwithstanding young single teachers who come out to get some sunshine, party and get trashed.
Savings is the Gulfs purpose for grown ups, nothing else, really crunch the numbers in fine detail, if you dont think it can deliver then either go on your own or dont go.

Good luck either way
Thanks for the very detailed feedback. Our goal is exactly that. To save and come home in a few yrs with a nice sum. Right now I'm thinking if this offer was on table when just starting a family (before kindergarten/school) maybe easier. But with 3 kids school age and one salary, currently I'm thinking maybe not worth it.
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