Money Matters

Before I came here, I heard and read stories about people getting into financial trouble in Dubai and bailing out, leaving behind everything, including pets, furniture, and cars. They simply pack up a few suitcases, and in the dead of the night head to the airport and leave, for good. Because if you have a bad loan, or go bankrupt in Dubai, they put your arse in jail, no questions asked. When it come to Sharia banking, they don’t joke around.

I know this is a fact and not a desert legend because you see abandoned cars everywhere. Proof of quick and speedy departures. Run for your life, and don’t forget your wife.



Oh, and does anyone want this BMW? It’s been sitting outside my building for over two months now. Somehow I don’t think the owner is coming back!

If you want to do business in Dubai, you therefore have to be very careful. Of course, you have to be careful in ANY country. But, as an expat, your worst nightmare is getting locked up overseas. It’s one thing getting in trouble in your home country. It’s quite another getting in trouble in someone else’s. I have to assume the people who were in such a bad situation that they abandoned everything they owned made some SERIOUSLY bad financial decisions or investments that went very very sour. I know we are only here for a few years. This is why I’ve decided to live very carefully and frugally while I am here. I am not getting a credit card here, or ever starting up a business here, or buying a property, or doing anything that puts me in any financial risk in a foreign country. In fact, many expats choose to move their salaries every month out of their Dubai bank accounts and into accounts in other countries and jurisdictions.Ā  I would assume this is something Dubai will have to deal with in the future — the loss of talented workers who won’t stay here for more than three years or keep any of their money in Dubai banks. But hey, if you want to play in someone else’s yard, you better respect the rules of the house….

3 thoughts on “Money Matters

  1. Ha! I hear you about fear of being foreigner in prison. I’m in Liberia and the prison in Monrovia is horrific – really a worst nightmare (and even worse is that 85% of people in there are pre-trial detainees – most haven’t even done anything illegal!).

    So when we were out in the country I went to go check out another prison and it was fabulous. A new person in charge because too many people had been dying mysteriously. He was out tending cassava fields with inmates, then showed us the classrooms for the programs they teach. It was relatively clean, very low stress, and there were even puppies for the inmates! Really! Puppies!

    Frankly, the prison was considerably better than the guesthouse where I was staying. I was ready to break IN to the prison. And I beg all my Liberian lawyer friends: if I’m ever arrested, have me transferred out to the Zwedru Corrections Palace!

    That is how I handle my expat fear of imprisonment: scope out the best prison in the country and reserve a spot. šŸ™‚

    I found your blog through Jen’s and I’m enjoying your posts. I’m leaving Liberia soon and you’re making Dubai look pretty darn good!

  2. Hmm, never heard of someone going to ‘check out’ a prison! Do they really allow people in to see? I have no idea about the state of prisons in Dubai but somehow I doubt they have puppies! Good luck with your move out of Liberia — will you miss it? Where is the next destination?

  3. I work with the judiciary and am tight with judges and Supreme Court Justices and various other very important people, so it’s a little hard to deny my requests to check out prisons or anything else. šŸ™‚ Plus I’ve adopted the attitude of demanding rather than asking – it’s amazing how well it works here. (Makes me a bit overbearing and difficult, but there are plenty of people keeping me in line.)

    There are definitely things I’ll miss from Liberia, though it never lived up to my expectations, so maybe what I’ll miss most are the things that could have been.

    Next destination TBD. Would like to go back to New Orleans and have a home, but I fear I may be so stuck in peripatetic that I don’t know how to change gears. Maybe Dubai! I have such fond memories of the airport there (very necessary Starbucks after months at a refugee camp).

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