Simone, 69, didn’t really pay much thought to stashing away for retirement while she was working in Dubai for most of her earning life. She came to the UAE right after she tied the knot. Her husband had been working in the Gulf for about five years. “We had two lovely boys in six years, and I spent time working as an administrator and taking care of my house. I liked to save, and I did most of the months, but it wasn’t goal-oriented. Stashing cash away meant being able to splurge on birthdays, anniversaries, or when I eyed something pretty,” she told me over phone. The idea of retirement for her was to live with her kids and their growing families and take care of the grandchildren. “That’s how life usually is back home in India. We have joint setups and the elderly are taken care of while they lend support in child care to the younger couples. I fancied that, but we decided to move back to our hometown in India a few years after my husband and I retired.” Reason: Their savings didn’t add up to the expected cost of living in Dubai, and they didn’t want their kids to get sandwiched taking care of the elderly and their growing families. “The decision was hard, considering Dubai was more than a second home to me. It was my first really. I have spent a majority of my life there than I have in the place where I was born and raised.” More savings for her twilight years could have steered her life’s path to a different course, she confessed. “We have adjusted well here. But if I had a choice, I would have preferred time in the UAE on a retirement visa.” Longevity, rising cost of living, medical inflation, and lack of a nest egg for sunset years are pushing a lot of people to work longer than they expected, while shattering the myth of hanging up their boots and spending twilight years relaxing. In the last 50 years, life expectancy has increased by 11 years globally on average. If in 1971, people on an average lived until the age of 55.9 globally, in 2021, this figure rose to 71 years. During the same time period, life expectancy in the UAE has increased from 61.2 years to 78.7 years, notes data from the UN World Population Prospects.

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