Hi! I’m Kristen. I’m a 30-something Australian, a pilot’s wife, a mother of three and an all round “get ‘er done-er”.
And I’ve been an expat for more than 15 years.
As a young professional making a great double income with my husband, we took advantage of the lifestyle the UAE offered – international travel, stays in luxury hotels, the occasional designer clothing splurge and lots of eating out.
Fast forward to 2018, one salary down and three children later, the living isn’t quite so frivolous. After a great career as a Strategy Manager, my weeks are now spent strategizing how to save a few extra dirhams on the grocery bill so that we can pay for piano lessons this month.
We simply can’t afford to go out for AED500/head lunches, pay top dirham for personal trainers or take our kids out to expensive play centres every week.
My husband is privileged to have his dream job and makes a great salary, however with the cost of living in the UAE increasing every year and unexpected surprises (like twins!), major car repairs and the introduction of VAT, it’s time to be honest and shine a spotlight on that elephant in the room – The golden era has passed.
The UAE and global economies have made shift and things just ‘aint what they used to be. And for many like myself, the proverbial penny has dropped and we need to decide whether to bury our heads in the sand or jump on board that camel train and go with it!
So I give to you – The Shift UAE: A realistic take on UAE life in the midst of change, and a one-stop-shop for helping people like you and me find our bearings as we navigate through the process of settling in and living life in the UAE. Together we’ll explore day-to-day options and ideas for living out the privilege of being in this wonderful country, both wisely and responsibly.
As seasoned expats and one of the rare families that has no foreseeable plans to return to our home country, we are used to seeing friends come and go on a frequent basis. And as a long-term “stayer”, I’ve inadvertently become the “Oracle for Setting Up Home in Abu Dhabi” among our community of friends. I love to give advice about what to do, where to go, and how to go about doing pretty much anything in the UAE.
When I look back and think of the many missed opportunities that I had to establish a better financial foundation for our family, I wish that someone had sat me down and guided us through some of the pitfalls of expat living and warned us of the financial and lifestyle traps that can blindside us along the way.
This is a journey for me too, as I continue to work out how to be a wiser manager our money, pursue a healthy balance of providing well for our children and discover a clear perspective of “needs versus greeds”.
Will you join me in this journey?