Half of UAE working residents say supporting family is their top financial goal this year

About a third aim to save for retirement and another third hope to feel financially secure, YouGov survey finds

FX0Y3D Close up different Dirhams currency note and coins, United Arab Emirates

Half of UAE working residents said supporting their families is their top financial goal this year, a YouGov survey found.

A third of residents aim to save for retirement and another third have set a target to feel financially secure, according to the survey which polled about 800 respondents between February 24 and March 2, as the Covid-19 outbreak spread across the world.

Measures to contain the coronavirus – including travel restrictions, event cancellations, school and business closures, and home quarantines – have been stepped up since then with wide-reaching economic ramifications.

Equity markets have lost at least $17 trillion (Dh62.4tn) in value since the World Health Organisation declared the virus an international public health emergency at the end of January. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned the effects could halve global growth.

Despite the current situation, other top financial goals for 2020 among survey respondents include starting a business for 33 per cent, with a similar number also planning to stick to a monthly budget, buy a home and invest more. About a quarter have resolved to take a dream vacation this year.

Only 20 per cent have set a target of building an emergency fund or paying off debt. However, close to 70 per cent said they regularly put aside money for saving, investing and emergencies.

Most working UAE residents are confident about their financial literacy skills with close to three quarters saying they have a "good understanding of money management". A little more than half said they feel confident about their financial planning for retirement. Notably, 74 per cent of Emiratis said they are confident about retirement.

Respondents above 45 years os age were more likely to choose saving for retirement as a goal, compared to those between 25 and 34 years old, at 42 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively. Younger adults ranked starting a business and buying a home higher in priority, at 37 per cent each.

The UAE Central Bank rolled out a Dh100 billion economic stimulus package on Saturday to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak by helping ease debt concerns for borrowers, boosting the property sector and providing support to small and medium businesses.