I’ve been reflecting on some of my most successful clients and their journeys, and I thought I should share this one particular story with you.
Deepak Nair was born, raised, and schooled in Dubai. After school, he went on to join a leading airline company here as an intern. Over the next 15 to 20 years, he served the organization, making his way up the organizational chart one step at a time. Over the years, he continued to pursue his education through the company too.
He graduated while he was still at the airline, and then managed to land himself a high-paying, high-pressure job in HR Management for teams across the airport. He met and married his wife, who had a steadily growing career in finance, and they had two kids.
When I first met Deepak, he expressed a clear financial goal to me: He wanted to retire by the time he was 40 or 45. My first thought to that was: A lot of people say that, but don’t realize that with increasing life expectancy, it’s becoming easy to outlive your money. With rising costs of living, advances in medical technology and other healthcare expenses, living longer is getting easier but more expensive.
As his Advisor, I explained to Deepak that his goals meant he had to save aggressively right from the start while still asking him to consider the option of working past the age of 40 or 45.
Here are the two financial goals that he had in mind:
- By the time he was 35, he wanted to save up $250,000 each for his two children and put that money in a safe investment pocket so that it would grow until they turned 18, and support their education expenses.
- He wanted to buy a house on full upfront payment, and have an additional US $1.5 to 2 million in cash by retirement (age 45) so that he and his wife would have a secure, comfortable base, and freedom from the pressures of employment.
Both Deepak and his wife were focused, great at their jobs, and soon in high-pressure jobs, high-paying jobs.
But even as their income grew, the family didn’t make any significant changes to their lifestyle. They continued to live in a modest home, drove practical cars, and their kids went to good but inexpensive schools.
And it paid off. By the age of 42, Deepak hit all his financial goals.
The education funds for both the kids were in place and growing. Deepak and his wife relocated to Canada, bought their dream home, and paid it down entirely upon purchase. They lived in a great residential district in Canada, and so the kids schooled at no cost at a good public school there.
Before the move, Deepak liquidated all their UAE assets and moved with US$ 2 million in cash, money that he now manages to earn returns on and meet the family’s income requirements.
The Big Secret Ingredient
The reason that this kind of success outwardly seems like a ‘lottery ticket’ is because it’s so hard for most of us to develop that financial discipline. Deepak’s attitude right from the start has always been that he would work extremely hard, live modestly, and save aggressively.
I saw them through all those phases: From a modest AED 7000 per month, all the way up to the AED 250,000 per month income that they collectively drew in towards the end of their tenure in Dubai. Through it all, they made it a non-negotiable commitment to save 70% of their income.
The couple probably came off as tight-fisted to the people around them, but they knew they were right on track: Everything was planned towards their greater goal.
What Happened Next?
Deepak’s idea of retirement wasn’t sitting back and relaxing with an umbrella-topped drink. What he wanted was true financial freedom. He wanted to do meaningful, fulfilling work without the pressures of having to earn a living off of that work.
So after he moved to Canada, he took a year-long hiatus to settle the family down into their new lives. His wife got a job in the financial sector there when she was ready, and Deepak went on to structure and set up a consultancy business.
The business is doing great and operates across three countries now. He can make sound, long-term business decisions because he has no short-term financial or income pressures.
Deepak has been my client all the way through this journey. He has now sold all his UAE-based policies and re-invested in assets in Canada for tax benefits.
It always gives us Financial Advisors great pride to see our clients thrive. And although Deepak is no longer a client, he remains someone I will always share as an example and a success story when I want to talk about what great financial discipline can do.