Louise Karim is the founder of Mums@Work, a recruitment consultancy that helps women step back into the workplace after having children by finding them flexible work options. The Dubai-based 39-year-old Briton, herself a mother-of-two, previously spent 15 years working in international communication roles.
How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?
I grew up in the UK and my mother was a single parent for my younger years, so money was quite tight – though my mother always taught me to be careful with money and always live within my means. From an early age I was taught to understand the value of money and had to earn my pocket money through small household tasks. I thank my mother for the great grounding she gave me, as I am still very cautious and sensible with money.
How much did you get paid for your first job?
I had a job in a local restaurant as a teenager where I would get paid the national hourly wage, which if I recall correctly was about Â£2.50 (Dh12.21) per hour.
Are you spender or saver?
I’d like to say saver, though it can be hard at times as I do like to treat my kids with all sorts of toys (probably too much). It’s important to save for their future, so I do try to save at least a little each month.
What is your most cherished purchase?
I wouldn’t say I cherish belongings, more experiences and memories. It can be anything from a simple outing to the beach with my kids to a family holiday. Spending time with my family is the most cherished thing I can ask for.
Have you ever had a month where you feared you could you not pay the bills?
I generally make sure I have enough money to pay the bills and have been lucky enough to do so. There are times in your life that can be tighter than others, like at university where I managed to balance a part-time job throughout my studies to make sure I had enough money and tried not to overspend. It’s about trying your best to get through theses times without getting into huge debt.
Where do you save your money?
I have a savings account and investments in shares.
Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?
Credit card to earn my Skywards points. I always pay my card balance off each month, though.
What has been your best investment?
I studied marketing and business at university and this has been my best investment by far. Education is so important and through having a good education you set yourself in good stead to build your future independently and create security for your family in the long term.
What do you most regret spending money on and how much was it?
I would have to say a pair of designer shoes for about Dh3,000 that hurt my feet so much I can barely wear them – not my best purchase. Other than that I like to think I usually make good spending decisions.
What financial advice would you offer your younger self?
Save more and don’t buy so many clothes.
Do you have a plan for the future?
My longer-term plan is primary focused on buying property in Dubai in a family-friendly area such as The Springs and providing a great education for my children.
If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?
I would invest in property for my family’s future and take a big family holiday, including all my family from the UK and Dubai. It would be fabulous to take all the kids to Disneyland.
What would you raid your savings account for?
My children’s education or any family health needs.
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