Money & Me: Chief executive with 35 years in the UAE now investing in start-ups

As an entrepreneur Vic Bageria of Sàvant Data Systems always likes to be prepared, planning all aspects of his financial life well in advance.

Vic Bageria enjoys investing in new incubations or start-ups. Pawan Singh / The National
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Vic Bageria is the chief executive and chief visionary officer of the retail intelligence company Sàvant Data Systems (SDS) and a board member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation UAE. The 39-year-old from India, who moved to the UAE over 35 years ago, lives in Jumeirah with his mother, wife and two children, a son, nine, and daughter, six.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?

I come from a middle-class business family where managing money was a value taught to us at a very early age. A lesson, which has stuck over the years is that it is not about the amount of money you spend, but the value you derive when spending it. This continues to drive a lot of my monetary decisions.

How much did you get paid for your first job?

Growing up in a business fam­ily, I have always worked within the retail environment though I wasn’t paid for it. Outside that, my first paid job was in 1998 as an accountant in London, where I was earning Dh5,000 per month.

Are you a spender or saver?

Your situation in life helps determine whether you are a spender or saver. Today, I am a spender and love spending money on and with my family, along with pursuing my hobbies such as classic car racing or seeing my favourite bands. On the other hand I am a saver when it comes to things I don’t see value in. If my phone works perfectly fine, I don’t need the new model.

What is your most cherished purchase?

A Rolex watch I bought my late father for approximately US$10,000 in 2001.

Have you ever had a month where you feared you could not pay the bills?

Fortunately, no. Being raised in a family where “penny wise” was a virtue taught to us from a very young age, I have always been known as a man with a plan, especially when it comes to money. I try to ensure that budgets and finances are planned way in advance.

Where do you save?

I have started this new practice of putting a certain per cent of my annual income into new incubations or start-ups; companies where students have a new innovative and interesting concept that gets me intrigued and charged up. It gives me an opportunity to not only invest but mentor them too, investing in new blood and talent – something I dearly support.

Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?

That totally depends on where I am and how much I have to spend. Cash for under Dh500 and credit cards for any amount higher than that would be ideal.

What has been your best investment?

Investing in myself; personal augmentation. Property rates may go down and businesses may fail, but knowledge derived through learning can never be affected and will always come in handy. I always invest in executive programmes and education, London Business School being one of them.

What do you most regret spending money on?

I don’t regret doing anything and take it as a thing of past. Every bad decision made can be a learning curve. I am not an impulsive buyer, most buying decisions I make are planned.

What financial advice would you offer your younger self?

Don’t get scared of your expenses; increase your income.

Do you have a plan for the future?

Certainly, my plan for the fut­ure is to take time to enjoy a reflective personal journey into self-discovery.

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

A million dirhams isn’t actually much in gold any more. Booking a trip to space with my family on Virgin Galactic would be fun.

What would you raid your savings account for?

Definitely for an SOS situation, something unforeseen or even a medical one that could pop up.

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