To be smart with his money, Peter Davos buys clothes at outlet stores. Ravindranath K / The National
To be smart with his money, Peter Davos buys clothes at outlet stores. Ravindranath K / The National

Money & me: Just save, save, save, says Hale Education Group founder



Peter Davos is the founder and managing director of Hale Education Group, a UAE education consultancy that mentors, guides and prepares students for entry into American universities. The 38-year-old American has been living in Dubai since 2010. Mr Davos himself is a graduate of Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Oxford Universities.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?

My father was 23 when he left Greece for Boston in the United States. From the age of 12, he worked in his father’s news stand in Athens, Greece selling newspapers. My father purchased his first investment property at 24 in Boston. We were taught that, through hard work and sheer force of will, you could achieve anything you wanted in life.

How much did you get paid for your first job?

When I was 13, I started working for tips in one of my dad’s coffee shops. In a good day, I made about US$25. My first official job was at university. I worked for exactly the minimum wage at the on-campus bookstore – about $6.75 an hour before taxes.

Are you a spender or saver?

More a saver. I had $100,000 in debt when I finished my Harvard master’s degree and I paid it off exactly two years after graduating. I have never purchased a new car in my life. I will only shop for clothes at outlet factory stores in the US.

What is your most cherished purchase?

I love to collect ancient maps and coins. I have a silver Alexander the Great coin, which cost me about $700.

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

Not one month – dozens. One day less than two years ago, I literally had Dh500 to my name. I was over-extended and overwhelmed. It is in that moment, when you stare into the abyss and it stares back at you, that you find out who you really are.

Where do you save?

In an Emirates NBD online savings account, with a 2.25 per cent interest rate.

Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?

Credit card– but I never carry a balance.

What has been your best investment?

My education. Money comes and goes, people enter and exit your life, but your education stays with you forever.

What do you most regret spending money?

One time I was visiting the Roman ruins in Baalbek, Lebanon, and I was duped into buying “authentic” ancient Greek coins found in the area for a few hundred dollars. It didn’t take long to realise Baalbek was primarily a Roman city, not Greek, so the coins were surely fake.

What financial advice would you offer your younger self?

Save, save, save: the greatest peace of mind is having money in the bank and zero debt. And own fewer things. The number one cause of unhappiness is focusing on what you don’t have – and not appreciating what you do. Everyone is always looking for a better car, a better partner, a better job, which leads to this constant state of feeling inadequate.

Do you have a plan for the future?

At some point I would like to sell my company and spend as much time with my family as possible.

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

Give it to my wife. Although I am a better earner, she is a much better money manager.

What would you raid your savings account for?

Only a conservative asset that will appreciate over the long term, or a sound investment, like my daughter’s university tuition.

pf@thenational.ae

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Rain Management

Year started: 2017

Based: Bahrain

Employees: 100-120

Amount raised: $2.5m from BitMex Ventures and Blockwater. Another $6m raised from MEVP, Coinbase, Vision Ventures, CMT, Jimco and DIFC Fintech Fund

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Nomad Homes
Started: 2020
Founders: Helen Chen, Damien Drap, and Dan Piehler
Based: UAE and Europe
Industry: PropTech
Funds raised so far: $44m
Investors: Acrew Capital, 01 Advisors, HighSage Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, Potluck Ventures, Knollwood and several undisclosed hedge funds

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

SPECS

Engine: 6-cylinder 3-litre, with petrol and diesel variants
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power: 286hp (petrol), 249hp (diesel)
Torque: 450Nm (petrol), 550Nm (diesel)
Price: Starting at $69,800
On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6
Power: 456hp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 691Nm at 3,500rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 14.6L/100km
Price: from Dh349,545
On sale: now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

SPEC SHEET

Processor: Apple M2, 8-core GPU, 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.3-inch Retina, 2560 x 1600, 227ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3 (2), 3.5mm audio; Touch Bar with Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

Battery: 58.2Wh lithium-polymer, up to 20 hours

Camera: 720p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10, ProRes

Audio: Stereo speakers with HDR, wide stereo, Spatial Audio support, Dolby support

In the box: MacBook Pro, 67W power adapter, USB-C cable

Price: From Dh5,499

WHAT START-UPS IS VISA SEEKING?

Enablers of digital services
• Blockchain and cryptocurrency
• Crowdfunding
• Banking-as-a-service
• Banking identification number sponsors
• Issuers/processors
• Programme managers

Digital issuance
• Blockchain and cryptocurrency
• Alternative lending
• Personal financial management
• Money transfer and remittance
• Digital banking (neo banks)
• Digital wallets, peer-to-peer and transfers
• Employee benefits
• Payables
• Corporate cards

Value-add for merchants/consumers
• Data and analytics
• ID, authentication and security
• Insurance technology
• Loyalty
• Merchant services and tools
• Process and payment infrastructure
• Retail technology

SME recovery
• Money movement
• Acceptance
• Risk management
• Brand management

New categories for 2023
• Sustainable FinTechs
• Risk
• Urban mobility

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
  • It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways and lead to severe respiratory and digestive problems.
  • Patients with the condition are prone to lung infections and often suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.
COMPANY PROFILE:

Name: Envision
Started: 2017
Founders: Karthik Mahadevan and Karthik Kannan
Based: The Netherlands
Sector: Technology/Assistive Technology
Initial investment: $1.5 million
Current number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Seed
Investors: 4impact, ABN Amro, Impact Ventures and group of angels

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

All We Imagine as Light

Director: Payal Kapadia

Starring: Kani Kusruti, Divya Prabha, Chhaya Kadam

Rating: 4/5

Company profile

Name: Homie Portal LLC

Started: End of 2021 

Founder: Abdulla Al Kamda 

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: Undisclosed 

Current number of staff: 14 

Investment stage: Launch 

Investors: Self-funded

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos