My Abu Dhabi Salary: ‘I earn a basic wage of Dh4,000 a month in banking’

Jyoti Chauhan’s income is supplemented by financial incentives through her work as an outsourced sales executive for a local lender

Jyoti Chauhan says she hopes to retire by the age of 40. Pawan Singh / The National
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When Jyoti Chauhan moved to Abu Dhabi in March last year, she hoped her master’s degree in cardiothoracic nursing and years of experience as a college lecturer teaching nursing students would help her to find a job in the UAE’s medical sector.

Ms Chauhan, who is from India, applied for numerous jobs at hospitals and colleges but ended up accepting a role with a manpower agency that outsources employees to a local bank, where she is a sales executive selling financial products such as credit cards and personal loans.

“I came here on a two-month visa and tried with all my heart to get a job in the medical sector, but it didn’t work [out],” Ms Chauhan, 28, says.

“So, I decided to move into any sector as I didn’t want to go back to India. One of my friends shared my CV with the company and I started working with them in June last year.”

What was your first job and how much did you earn?

My first job in India was as a clinical instructor for a college in north India. I was teaching nurses after completing my Bachelor of Nursing degree and my first salary was 10,000 Indian rupees ($120.25) a month.

I worked there for one year and then went on to do my master’s degree in cardiothoracic nursing, which took two years. I then joined another college and my salary was approximately 25,000 rupees.

What is your current salary?

My basic salary is Dh4,000 ($1,089) a month. If we achieve more than our monthly targets, we will get financial incentives, so my salary could be Dh6,000 to Dh8,000 a month.

It is very tough to reach the targets if you are new to the country and do not have the data or know anyone. I also do not have credit cards, so it was difficult for me to understand them, but I have learnt about them now.

Have you negotiated for a salary rise before?

In India, obviously we would negotiate and say, “I want this salary” but there is a base [salary]. In my particular job that I chose as a lecturer, the salary is fixed, even if you say you have more experience. So, they say they will consider a higher salary later.

In the UAE, I would say that because I have a master’s degree, they have given me Dh4,000 a month for the basic salary. Otherwise, there are people, colleagues, who are getting Dh3,500 – because of my master’s degree, they thought that I deserved Dh4,000.

Do you have investments and savings?

I am not investing right now – it is all in the bank.

Have you started saving for retirement?

Yes, definitely. Every month I am saving to help with my retirement. I used to send it to my home [country] but since last June, I have saved Dh16,000.

Do you have any debt?

No, I do not have credit cards or any debt.

What about an emergency fund?

The savings that I have in the bank are what I have for any type of emergency.

As for my parents, they retired from government jobs in India. If there is any [medical] emergency at home, they are covered by the Central Government Health Scheme, so there is no such issue for my parents.

In my case, I already have medical insurance in the UAE and my whole family are safe.

Were you taught how to manage money as a child?

I come from a small state called Himachal Pradesh, in north India, so there was no financial education. My parents spent their money in the right direction by sending us to one of the best schools in our state and the best colleges.

Being surrounded by friends, we learnt that it was a requirement for our generation to save money but there was no such training by my parents or anyone.

What are your biggest monthly expenses?

It is not too expensive because I do not have a lot of expenses. I live in a bed space that costs Dh800 a month.

The rest is like Dh200 or Dh300, but I would say the maximum I spend is Dh1,500 a month as I also prepare food for myself – it is no more than that. It is very rare that I spend money on fast food.

Do you budget your salary to keep up with the rising cost of living?

Yes, it is required that I budget as I want to shift to a room where I don't have to share it with anyone, so I have to manage that. I will have to work hard to reach my [financial incentive] targets, which will enable me to save a good amount of money to move. That expense will cost me around Dh1,000 or Dh1,200.

I also have to budget to send money to my parents or if I want to give them anything for their birthday. It is not tough to survive [financially], but to save is hard.

Do you worry about money?

No, I do not worry about money. Since I started working, I have always earned money. I have never had any type of emergency where I have had to spend a huge amount of money.

Since I moved to the UAE, I am still able to have good savings as I do not spend that much
Jyoti Chauhan

When I was living in India and teaching students, I was saving the amount that I was earning because I was living in a hostel that was provided by the college. The food, everything, was provided by the college.

Since I moved to the UAE, I am still able to have good savings as I do not spend that much. I would say that I am not the type of person to do much shopping or buy expensive gadgets.

Once I get a job in the medical field, I know that I can earn much more than I do now.

What are your financial goals?

Being Indian, I prefer to invest in gold. I would also like to invest in a flat and rent it out to earn a good amount of money.

What is your idea of financial freedom?

When I reach my forties, I do not want to work as I hope to have enough savings that I can afford my children’s education, anything. I will also want to travel with my partner.

That is my financial freedom because once I reach 40 … I just want to relax and experience the world.

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Updated: January 30, 2024, 5:50 AM