Money & Me: ‘I bought my first property at the age of 21’

Entrepreneur Natalie Hore says money is a tool that enables financial security, personal growth and the ability to make positive changes

Natalie Hore, founder of well-being company Breathes Wellness, believes trauma can have a profound effect on one’s relationship with money. Photo: Natalie Hore
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Natalie Hore has worked both sides of the fence, climbing to the top of the business world before pivoting to become a life coach, yoga instructor, nutritionist and sound therapist.

Along the way, the Australian national has worked for government and non-profit organisations and launched several businesses.

She uses her experience across these sectors in her work with Breathes Wellness, a UAE-based well-being company she founded last year to help people overcome personal trauma, adversity and emotional distress. The company runs workshops and retreats for people and companies across the UAE and internationally.

Ms Hore, 47, is married and lives in Abu Dhabi’s Al Bandar area.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?

I was raised in Melbourne, Australia, during the late 1970s. Both my parents and school instilled in me the value of saving from an early age, setting up a bank account for me that accrued monthly interest.

They emphasised the significance of earning money and encouraged me to explore creative ways to do so.

What did you earn in your first job?

I began earning a steady income by babysitting in my local neighbourhood when I was 12 years old. I was paid A$20 ($12.90) per hour.

During that period, my parents were primarily responsible for covering my daily expenses. Consequently, the money I earned was mostly saved or used to purchase clothing beyond the usual necessities.

How has your salary increased in the years since?

My current earnings can vary significantly, depending on the services I provide. But it can sometimes reach up to 50 times my initial hourly rate.

How do you manage the uncertainty of a variable income?

I have different income streams, including income from my work and rent from properties I own. Taken together, they ensure there’s a roof over our heads and money to put food on the table.

I take the view that anything on top of that is extra. That said, since our business is in the growth phase, I’m now working to build a dependable revenue stream.

How much do you save each month?

It varies, but I will try to save between Dh1,000 ($272) to Dh5,000 per month. This goes into my bank account.

Are you insecure about money?

I have a strong conviction that I invested wisely in my future from a young age.

I bought my first property at 21 and have continued to make forward-looking investments since then.

Over the years, I’ve learnt to adapt to various situations, whether it’s a career change, job loss, or other circumstances, knowing I’ve built a sufficient nest egg to support myself until I regain stability.

I’ve also embraced hard work, successfully launching six businesses and gaining valuable insights from those experiences.

How much is that property worth now?

I have invested in properties in both Australia and the UAE. I bought my first house after saving for the deposit and getting a mortgage in 1997 for AU$164,000; it is now worth approximately A$700,000.

Do you invest in other asset classes?

I have ventured into the stock market and hold a superannuation account from my time working in Australia. I also invest in education and myself.

Do you track your superannuation fund?

I check in on it from time to time. I also add funds, which helps my corpus grow – this is something I need to look out for as an expat.

Do you know exactly how much you are worth?

I don’t quantify my self-worth in terms of monetary value. I recognise my true worth is immeasurable – just ask my mother.

What is your money philosophy?

I see finances as a reward for the effort I have put into a task that is of benefit to another person, and as a tool to enable financial security, personal growth, and the ability to make a positive impact in the world.

What factors affect money?

Money can be influenced by numerous factors, including career, health, education, family, housing, debt, savings and investments, the wider economic environment, your own lifestyle choices, your attitudes and behaviours, as well as inheritance, windfalls and luck.

Taking a holistic view of your financial situation involves considering all these factors and how they interact.

It’s essential to create a balanced and sustainable financial plan that aligns with your goals and values.

How does trauma affect our relationship with money?

Trauma can have a profound impact on one’s relationship with money. Trauma can trigger strong emotional responses. These can affect financial decision-making, leading to impulsive or avoidant behaviours.

Some people use spending as a way to come to terms with trauma or emotional pain, which can lead to overspending, accumulating debt, hoarding or compulsive gambling, while other trauma survivors may avoid dealing with financial matters altogether, resulting in neglecting bills, taxes or financial planning.

Trauma can also erode one’s self-esteem and self-worth, which can lead to underestimating one's earning potential, staying in low-paying jobs or not pursuing financial opportunities.

Additionally, trauma survivors may become risk-averse, avoiding investments or financial decisions that carry any degree of uncertainty, which can limit their ability to grow wealth.

I have a strong conviction that I invested wisely in my future from a young age
Natalie Hore, founder, Breathes Wellness

Therapy, counselling, or financial education can help people address the emotional and behavioural aspects of their relationship with money, allowing them to make healthier financial choices.

How did you deal with psychological issues to sort out your relationship with money?

For a long time, my struggles with trauma made me feel utterly devoid of self-worth. To compensate, I often prioritised giving to others rather than to myself.

However, as I came to recognise my value [after repeated panic and anxiety attacks], I finally began to appreciate my own experiences, expertise, time and abilities.

What helped you to do that?

It started with affirmations. Even though I didn’t believe them initially, they helped shift my mindset, so I now recognise that what I bring to the table is extremely valuable – this is something I’d almost wilfully ignored by giving away work for free in the non-profit sector.

Yoga and journaling were the other two strategies that helped with that healing process, allowing the tears to fall, because I hadn’t realised I was holding on to so much.

After that, it was like the doors opened and I walked out with confidence that what I do works, and my work is brilliant.

How did you pay for that?

A combination of rental income and savings. Also, because I’m married, I’m not on my own – but we did have to tighten our belts a fair bit.

Do you prefer to use a card or cash?

Definitely, card. I prefer to use a debit card over a credit card wherever possible.

How many credit cards do you have?


How much cash is in your wallet right now?


What car do you drive?

A second-hand Mercedes AMG GT Sport.

Updated: November 14, 2023, 6:20 AM