Less is more? In ironic twist, UAE's low income earners found to be saving more
Around 31 per cent of low-income earners in the UAE are either saving regularly on a monthly basis or every three months, according to a National Bonds survey.
The savings of the low-income group, who earn less than Dhs3,500 a month, were found to be two per cent higher than the rest of the segments in the UAE. Around 22 per cent of this group managed to save at least 10 to 20 per cent of their monthly income.
The survey found that around 49 per cent of low-income earners were saving as much as planned while four per cent said they have saved more than they planned.
The majority of low-income earners were satisfied with their savings as 37 per cent of them declared the savings adequate for their future compared to 13 per cent across the other segments in the UAE.
In addition, around 25 per cent of respondents in the low-income category planned to increase their savings in the next six months while only 10 per cent of the non-savers plan to start saving in the coming six months.
Some of the factors that hindered savings were high cost of living, low income and job insecurity.
Around 65 per cent of respondents in the low-income bracket admitted to not having loans compared to 46 per cent of the UAE’s general population.
The low-income earners surveyed were also found to be actively contributing to the increasing flow of money across the borders and rising remittances. Around 73 per cent of respondents said that they use remittance services once a month while 63 per cent use exchange houses, the survey found.
According to official estimates, around 15 million foreign workers in the GCC send home $80 billion in remittances every year. This has also prompted a few GCC countries to propose a remittance tax that would stem the annual flow of money from their economies.
Oman has been mulling a two per cent tax on remittances, which will help it to ease its strained budget. According to media reports earlier this year, the UAE too has been considering a proposal to tax remittances but there have been no further directives in this regard.
The National Bonds Index surveyed 1,700 respondents in the UAE and other GCC countries, tracking their spending and saving habits.