The subject of Dubai is one which continues to attract the attention of many people around the world even in these troubled financial times. This particular post has been added by a Canadian family that are looking to move to Dubai and would like some advice on various aspects of life in Dubai and the cost of living.
Background to the post
A Canadian family consisting of a husband, wife and young son will be moving to Dubai very shortly and are looking for some advice about the cost of living in the area and whether the prospective salary and remuneration package would allow them to live a comfortable life in Dubai. The salary in question is 37,000 AED with a 20,000 AED housing allowance, plus medical cover and a bonus. In theory the family are looking to save half the salary and use the other half for living expenses thereby allowing themselves to build up their savings and ultimately, in the longer term, improve their life style in Dubai.
It is no surprise that the cost of living, even after the damage caused by the ongoing recession, in Dubai is significantly higher than that in many countries around the world. Even property prices, both to buy than to rent, are still relatively high even though they have pulled back enormously over the last 18 months to 2 years.
One of the posters suggests that a housing allowance of 20,000 AED per month would be enough to rent a three or four bedroom property with a private pool as the Canadian family so desire. However there is some debate as to whether ultimately the first six months spent in Dubai would incur various other costs such as rent upfront and other lifestyle changes which would possibly use the vast majority of their funds available and leave very little to save.
Private pool facilities
While pool facilities in Dubai are often a consideration when looking towards a specific property, expats moving from the UK and similar countries may be surprised to see this. There is a debate over shared pools with others in your apartment block or private pools and the potential safety aspects which need to be taken into account. When you consider that the Canadian family in question do have a young child this is, and has turned in to, a very topical debate which takes into account the safety aspect of your child as was the cost of hiring a maid to assist with childcare.
There is also an interesting comment regarding the cost of introducing safety barriers and safety fencing to private pools offered as part of a rented apartment. It would appear that the tenant, rather than the landlord in countries such as the UK, would be liable to any cost of fencing or additional safety equipment to suit their particular family needs. This is a point which is worth remembering as the cost of labour and materials can easily spiral out of control.
School fees and the standard of schooling available across Dubai is a subject which regularly appears in the forum. There is a suggestion that school fees would be the region of between 30,000 AED and 50,000 AED per annum which would appear to be in the range affordable by the family in question. However, having money to pay for school fees for your child and actually finding a school in the area with spare places is a totally different situation. This is why it is so vital that you test the water before moving lock stock and barrel to areas such as Dubai only to find that the better schools are full up and you are left with the rest.
Safety issues in Dubai
While we often discuss laws and policing in Dubai the subject of child safety is something which very rarely reaches the headlines. In this particular thread there are a number of comments regarding private pools and whether these are safe for young children although there is also the question, which has yet to be raised, of overall safety for youngsters in Dubai.
Even though it would be wrong to suggest that Dubai offers any greater degree of risk for children than places such as the UK and other so-called safe countries, there is a need to be aware of the specific risks of the region, the area where you live and ultimately cultural differences.
Low-paid jobs in Dubai
In the vast majority of articles which cover Dubai we hear about the millions of dollars which property investors made and lost, the expensive cost of property, the ever-growing cost of living and the playboy lifestyle which many people still enjoying in the region. However, we rarely hear about low paid jobs such as maids and labourers and the fact that those in low paid jobs can in some cases be treated like second class citizens. While it would be wrong to suggest that all families who use maids treat them badly, there is a suggestion that they earn a pittance for what they do.
One forum member has connections with a charitable organisation which looks after the interests of maids, labours and other low paid workers and there is some interesting input on this topic.
Finding a place close to your work
It would appear that the family in question are looking to bring over their Canadian car to give themselves mobility in Dubai, something which is very important and ultimately allows you to ingratiate yourself with the local economy, the local community and become more involved. However, for those looking to avoid long journeys every day to work the ability to find a place to live within a short distance of your work is very useful if possible.
There are many factors to take into consideration, including the cost of property, the cost of travel, time taken to travel to and from work and ultimately the area in which you want to live and that which you can afford.
The figures detailed at the start of this particular post give an interesting insight into what you could possibly expect if you are looking to move to Dubai. Salaries, bonuses, housing allowances and medical cover appear to be a matter of course in this particular post, although whether this is the same case across the board is open to debate – especially after the recent downturn!
The bottom line is that no matter where you’d like to live there is a requirement to live within your means and if you can find accommodation within easy reach of your workplace then even better. While the family in question appear to have done some homework before moving to Dubai inevitably there will be changes to their circumstances when they reach the country and plans to save 50% of their annual salary would be very helpful in principle but not too easy to accommodate in practice!