2 If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need
Mr Buffett is renowned for his modest and frugal living. Despite his vast wealth, he still lives in the same five-bedroom home he bought in Omaha, Nebraska in 1956, for $31,500.
Mr Downey says there is a lesson here for UAE expatriates, who can get carried away with their tax-free salaries. “It is easy to be seduced into a lavish and debt-laden lifestyle, as you go all out for that new Mercedes or Rolex watch. By all means enjoy yourself but also develop a budget, build a financial cushion in case something goes wrong and invest every month for your long-term future.”
If you live for today and slap the cost on a credit card, tomorrow could be tough.“You may get torn to pieces by the interest, and find yourself in deep debt and unbearable stress. That is not a winning strategy.”
3 Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing
Too many investors pick up a ragbag of stocks and funds that took their fancy at some time or another, without really knowing why.
Others fall prey to commission-hungry independent financial advisers who prey on expatriates, selling expensive and inflexible 25-year offshore investment bonds that swallow most of their money. Those are the type of mistakes you make when you don’t know what you are doing.
Steve Cronin, the founder of non-profit UAE investment community Wise, says amateur investors should keep it simple by investing in an exchange traded funds (ETFs).
ETFs passively track a vast spread of global indices with rock bottom charges. Over the longer run they will beat three quarters of active fund managers, and you will hand over far less in fees.
Mr Cronin suggests starting with a global fund such as the Vanguard FTSE All-World UCITS ETF. “This gives you huge diversification with nearly 3,000 stocks across 47 countries, for an annual fee of just 0.25 per cent a year.”
Shares will always carry a degree of risk, but this way you know what you are doing.