Money & Me: Dubai cosmetic surgery chief on property ladder at 19
Mona Mirza is the chief executive and founder of Biolite Aesthetic Clinic, a cosmetic surgery clinic she launched in the UK in 2001 before relocating the business to Dubai in 2007. The Briton, 48, is also mother to 19-year-old twin daughters.
Describe your financial journey so far.
I learnt the value of money at an early age – from newspaper rounds to spending the summer working in Harrods and Harvey Nichols as a teenager and then saving up enough to join a top beauty school in London. I left formal education early, as I had a strong entrepreneurial streak and education failed to keep my short attention span in check. I started off as a mobile beauty therapist and bought my first home at the age of 19. By the age of 21, having invested in two further properties, I returned to education as a mature student, ready to take that challenge. After graduating in accountancy from the University of West London, I continued to train in the medical aesthetics industry.
Are you a spender or saver?
I am an investor. I like to think I spend wisely. I plough back funds into my business by investing in the latest cutting-edge technology to give my business a competitive edge. I believe if you spend well you also reap the benefits. I like to portion my earnings in four parts, saving, spending, investing and donating, though the biggest portion is investing.
What is your philosophy towards money?
I was once told the more you chase after something the more it runs away from you. I prefer to focus on loving what I do and doing it to the best of my ability today to allow the money to come to me. I choose not to stress over tomorrow and like to keep a healthy mindset about money.
Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?
Yes and they have been valuable lessons for me. I invested in a property just before the financial crisis hoping to make a quick buck and that set me back quite a bit. I also tried to save money on a fit-out contractor whose job had to be redone six months later and cost me twice as much – both very costly mistakes. That’s when I learnt the lesson of being pennywise and pound-foolish.
If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?
Easy come, easy go. I would take my twin teenage daughters on an all-expenses paid trip around the world to begin with. Then I would invest the rest in charity towards empowering women and education in third world countries, something I intend doing whether I win a million or not.
What has been your best investment?
The very first property I bought at the age of 19 has been the basis of my financial growth. Other than that I am a firm believer that nothing compares to the “intellectual investment” that I have made in bettering myself through ongoing education, courses and self-development, continually evolving. Ultimately, this has been financially rewarding and recession-proof.
Do you plan for the future?
Having twin teenagers, one at university and the other setting up her business, I have made provisions to see them through until they become financially independent. I am very much a “now” kind of girl, however, I have invested in a retirement and pension plan along with life insurance, which I contribute to monthly, giving me some peace of mind as part of my long-term financial planning for my children as well as for myself. Furthermore I still intend to continue working on my business expansion plan in the region.
What do you enjoy spending money on?
Anything that benefits my general well-being and ideally others too – be it eating out at a small hole in the wall restaurant where the food is out of this world to an exotic yoga retreat or the occasional girly penchant for accessories for a treat. Whatever makes my soul happy in an ever-demanding world.
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Published: July 31, 2015 04:00 AM