Gary Clement for The National
Gary Clement for The National

Nurture your money to boost your finances

I live a dangerous life. Being tactile is often cautioned against in any social setting, more-so in the gender/social-conduct-sensitised GCC.

Those on the receiving end should consider themselves lucky – I am helping them release a super hormone. Not only is it connected to our emotions – we feel better when we get a dose – but it is now being credited with helping create bigger brains and higher salaries. Oxy­tocin is the name, aka the hug hormone.

However, you and I might have missed that boat, as it is a 20-year study involving premature babies. It found that those born pre-term, who were nurtured at the start of their lives through skin-to-skin contact with their primary carer – so their mother was their incubator – commanded salaries nearly 53 per cent higher than their incubated counterparts.

Along with more money in their life, their cerebral development was significantly higher and they had less stressful lives.

More on the findings of tactile parenting later.

I’m bringing this up because I am especially interested in the relationship between body and mind. And I believe that most of us would benefit from very simple, tactile, or what’s known in learning styles as kinaesthetic methods, to stay on top of managing our finances.

What’s more simple than adding and subtracting a bunch of numbers – at the most basic level of personal finance information: money in, out, what is left?

What is difficult about setting time aside to have a helicopter view of our financial issues: investment, debt, savings, goals?

Nothing. But hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on self-help books and guides to “teach” us the “best” method to do this.

There is no best way. The best way is whatever way you stick with. And I’m advocating going back to basics, and incorporating what neuroscience tells us about how we learn and stick to things best.

Point 1: Movement and cognition are powerfully connected.

2: The right setting and tools help us build positive, powerful relationships with whatever it is we are learning or doing.

3: It is all about building relationships, with yourself and with the matter in hand. In this case, your personal finances.

I am cancelling my membership with a powerful budgeting tool. It’s very clever, and one day I plan to review it. But I’m no longer going to use it because I am disconnected from the input, and therefore the output it calculates. Instead, I am going back to basics.

I bought a beautifully bound notebook. It is a happy shade of orange. Just because. I write down every single item of spend. Then highlight things that group together and add them up.

Yes it is old school and it takes time. But it allows me a connection, a relationship, an emotional resonance with my finances. Doing it this way mixes up various alleged learning styles – there’s the visual, and the doing. It is embodied learning.

The place we do things in is also important. The message from neuroscientists is that reducing stimuli helps to declutter the mind. This is why a walk in a park before settling to do something cognitive serves us better than a walk in a mall or through a built-up area. A walk is statistically linked to oxytocin release too.

There is also irrefutable evidence that being physically active literally feeds the brain. It is said Albert Einstein came up with his theory of relativity while riding his bike.

Why not incorporate all these findings and create the “best” way of managing our finances – best being whatever way we stick to. My routine as of this week will be: jump up and down – if weather, time or children don’t permit for a walk. Make a piping hot cup of tea. Have my highlighters, calculator ready. Settle in my cubbyhole – decluttered – with my orange notebook – filled in daily, plus any other information I need to look at that week. Phone on silent, face down.

The following hour will be my date with me – my current self and my future self-hovering.

Set aside an hour that works for you. We need to do this weekly. It is relationship building at its best: a boost of oxytocin in situ, your favourite beverage at hand, in a calm setting, with all the information you need.

Just like any other relationship, we need to work at this one every day, build up comfort, trust and a safe feeling – the sort that only comes from knowing what you’re dealing with.

What I outlined is not all kin­aesthetic – there are strong visual elements too. It is said that 65 per cent of us are visual learners. Some studies rate 50 per cent of high-school children as kinaesthetic learners – they learn through doing. I know I am both.

Kinaesthetics is often called tactile learning. And this is how powerful being tactile is: the premature kangaroo mother care babies I mentioned in the study had more than twice the chance of living than incubated babies. Incubated babies are twice as likely to die (7.7 per cent versus 3.5 per cent).

We don’t know for sure how much skin-to-skin contact we had as babies, but what you do know is how you choose to be and behave today. Go on.

Be an oxytocin-releasing super- ­hero whose special power is actually managing money in your life. May the force be with you. It is certainly within you.

Nima Abu Wardeh describes herself using three words: Person. Parent. Pupil. Each day she works out which one gets priority, sharing her journey on


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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

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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

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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

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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


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Midfielders: Declan Rice, Harry Winks, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Forwards: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi.


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Stage 4

1. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Jumbo-Visma 04:16:13

2. Gaviria (COL) UAE Team Emirates

3. Pascal Ackermann (GER) Bora-Hansgrohe

4. Sam Bennett (IRL) Deceuninck-QuickStep

5. Caleb Ewan (AUS) Lotto Soudal

General Classification:

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott        16:46:15

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates         0:01:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana Pro Team          0:01:35

4. David Gaudu (FRA) Groupama-FDJ         0:01:40

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Stars: Fatma Oussaifi and Mohamed Houcine Grayaa

Rating: 4/5

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Pool A Dubai Hurricanes, Bahrain, Dubai Exiles, Dubai Tigers 2

Pool B Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Jebel Ali Dragons, Dubai Knights Eagles, Dubai Tigers


Opening fixtures

Thursday, December 5

6.40pm, Pitch 8, Abu Dhabi Harlequins v Dubai Knights Eagles

7pm, Pitch 2, Jebel Ali Dragons v Dubai Tigers

7pm, Pitch 4, Dubai Hurricanes v Dubai Exiles

7pm, Pitch 5, Bahrain v Dubai Eagles 2


Recent winners

2018 Dubai Hurricanes

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2016 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

2015 Abu Dhabi Harlequins

2014 Abu Dhabi Harlequins


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Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
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