Money and me: Health means more than luxury

Dubai chief executive who avoids taking risks with money is now facing his biggest challenge - running his own business.
Peter Ekstedt, the head of Swedish Health, says health and family come before money. Sarah Dea / The National
Peter Ekstedt, the head of Swedish Health, says health and family come before money. Sarah Dea / The National

Peter Ekstedt is the chief executive of Swedish Health, a Dubai-based company that imports health-related products and other fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) from northern Europe to the Middle East. The imports include Nutridiet, the bestselling weight loss product in the Scandinavian market. The Swede, 32, moved to Dubai three years ago.

Describe your financial journey so far.

It’s been fairly stable up to this point, as I’ve always been employed with a regular salary coming in every month. However, things changed quite a lot for me about a year ago, with the start of my own business, Swedish Health. Starting my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do, it was just a matter of waiting for the right moment. When a friend of mine (who is now my business partner) called me and told me he had the agency for one of the best weight loss brands in the world, I did not hesitate, and jumped at the opportunity. Looking forward I know for sure that my financial situation will be more uncertain now, but so far the fun of running my own business and being my own boss is for sure compensating for that.

Are you a spender or saver? I think I’m a bit of both, depending on which mode I’m in. Right now a spender for sure. I’m spending money on my business, trying to make it work.

What is your philosophy towards money?

I don’t know a single person who became happy because of money alone. However, I’ve seen a lot of people become very unhappy due to money struggles. According to my philosophy, priorities in life should be personal health first, family and friends second, and money third. If you get those three the wrong way around, then you are in trouble, although sometimes you have to change the order for short periods in your life. I guess that I’m in one of those periods right now with my new business, but I’ll be making sure it doesn’t become a permanent state, as in the long run I’d rather be poor.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

So far I have not really taken any major financial risks, and as a result I haven’t incurred any big losses. Having said that, the flip side is that I haven’t enjoyed any big financial successes either. Most people would agree that fear of failures is the biggest hurdle to accomplishments, and that has been true in my case as well.

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

I would pay off my home loan. Boring answer, I know, but it’s the truth. I really do not like owing anyone money, although debt is however a necessary evil sometimes in your private life as well as in business.

What has been your biggest financial lesson?

I dislike stock market speculation, and especially people who think they can give advice at how to be successful at it. As you can imagine, this is because I have had a bad experience with these types of investments and the people who offer them. I do not trust anyone who says they know how financial instruments will perform; if anyone really knew, why on Earth would they tell you about it?

What do you enjoy spending money on?

Luxury items don’t really appeal to me, as ultimately they’re things that you only think you want. Up to this point I’ve never owned a luxury item that increased my quality of life. When I spend money, I spend it on social activities, and when I have time I spend it on travelling. Although of course at the moment I’m trying not to spend money except on my business.

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Published: May 9, 2014 04:00 AM


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