Money & Me: British expat financial planner says own enjoyment must be catered for

Edward Mainwaring-Burton is a senior financial planner at deVere Acuma. The Briton, 32, worked as a wealth manager in Geneva for many years before heading to the UAE in 2013.

Describe your financial journey so far.

My financial life has been very varied. My family was able to provide a very good life for me when I was growing up, but they always insisted that I work to earn money. When I was young I was good at maths, but not good at taking advice. This reflected in my attitude to income and outgoings. I really started to appreciate the true value of money and forward-planning in my early 20s, and my work with savings and investments has certainly given me the ability to be objective about my own finances as well as those of others.

Are you a spender or saver?

By nature, I am a spender. Like many people, I have to make a conscious effort to save money. I understand the desire for shiny new things, and so I force some perspective and challenge myself to make sure I store away what I need for my future plans. My wife is the opposite. She is definitely a saver, so I’m sure we will complement each other and meet in the middle somewhere.

What is your philosophy towards money?

For me, money must always have a purpose. Hoarding cash without knowing what it is for is just as irrational as frittering away every penny on needless expenses. To have money and no goals to achieve would be as disappointing as having goals but no money to achieve them.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

The biggest mistake I ever made was to shy away from help when I needed it. I struggled with money at university, and when I left I found it hard to juggle my costs and debts against a small income. I was afraid to admit that my plans had not worked out and embarrassed to seek assistance. Once I actually relented and realised that I was not alone, I found that my mistakes and difficulties really were not that bad.

If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?

I would put half of it into long-term investment funds to help my niece, nephew and my future children with their education when they are older. I would use Dh10,000 for a really special holiday with my wife to celebrate. The majority of the rest would then go into my investment funds, but I would probably be tempted into spending about Dh50,000 on a pretty-looking classic car that I could enjoy driving from time to time and be proud of fixing up.

What has been your best investment?

It must be the money that I have put into developing my career. From education fees to new suits, many people forget they should consider their everyday costs as investing for the future. In terms of pure assets, I invested a small sum of money in Indonesian equities in 2010 that grew by an extraordinary amount over the few years that I held the fund. I took a good return from that. Even though it was a relatively small investment, I am glad I did not risk more because it is a volatile market and I could easily have lost out.

Do you plan for the future?

Definitely. My beautiful wife and I had an amazing wedding in the Netherlands less than two months ago, so we are spending a lot of time planning right now. Building a life with someone else is a whole new ball game and comes with extra responsibilities. I have to think about where we will be in two, five, 10 and 20 years’ time. Thinking about a family, children and protection against the unpredictable has to be the first priority.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

Time with people close to me. Going for a nice dinner or taking memorable holidays is brilliant. However, I love anything with an engine. Cars and motorsport are a passion of mine and are not the cheapest of hobbies. I love to go to F1 races and drive on the track myself. It is important to set aside some money to fuel your own enjoyment.

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