Investing 101: How do I invest my savings?

Want to learn how to invest your hard-earned dirhams and plan for your financial future? We spoke to CBI’s head of retail banking products, Upendra Balchandani, to hear how to maximise your savings and investments during your precious time in the UAE, and asked what happens to expat investors, when they decide to return home.


“There’s no right time, but the earlier you start, the better,” says Upendra Balchandani, head of retail banking products for Commercial Bank International (CBI). “Invest what you feel comfortable with and talk to someone who fully understands your whole financial picture to avoid over-committing yourself or taking on more risk than necessary.”


Usually it’s an important life event that triggers the first move - having a baby, saving for a deposit on a house, higher education costs, or retirement. “We speak to customers all the time about their short- and long-term financial goals.” says Upendra. Our trained relationship managers gather the full picture to better support their decisions.


With thousands of products, funds, deposit options and providers in the market, it can be mind-boggling to know exactly where to start. CBI First customers have free access to a qualified relationship manager, who is highly trained in finance and investing. With your full financial picture to hand such as your salary, savings and outgoings; your personal relationship manager is well equipped to measure how much you can afford to invest, and how to make your savings work harder.


Take CBI First customers, Ellen and Sam*, British expats living in Dubai, parents of two young children looking to help their son and daughter with the rising costs of university education. With a spare AED 1,000 a month, they were determined to find a solution to help achieve their financial dream.


“Looking at the increasing costs of education, we decided we must put money aside now, so that in 10-15 years’ time, our children have a university fund to help cover tuition fees, accommodation, living and travel costs,” says Sam. “Our generation may have been lucky enough with relatively low tuition fees, but with the way things are going, we worry that they won’t have the same opportunities we did,” adds Sam.


“We looked into lots of term deposits and savings accounts, but felt that they didn’t offer the kind of returns we hoped for, so we spoke to our relationship manager at CBI, who was able to offer us long-term investment options with a medium to low risk.” says Ellen. “What’s more, we can track how the account is doing online. We feel more in control of our money and I’m glad we’ve finally started our children’s savings plan.”


A question often asked by expatriates is, ‘Would I be able to access these investment funds after I leave the country?’ “Yes, absolutely,” Balchandani replies, “We’ve picked two globally renowned providers as our trusted partners, which gives our customers the added convenience of being able to withdraw and contribute to their funds from anywhere in the world. Our customers are global citizens, so having multiple currency accounts and flexible time-frames of 1, 2, 5, 10+ years, is essential for our affluent expat customers.”


“But it doesn’t have to start with large amounts, investing a small amount monthly can result in large sums over the long-term.” Balchandani continues, “I know many fear taking the first step, but really, it’s as simple as analysing your household budget, developing a savings plan and getting ‘financially fit’. Making your money work harder for you.”


If you’re looking for independent information there’s a myriad of free online tools like Investing 101: A Tutorial For Beginner Investors is a gold mine for any beginner investor. Or for those with a slightly more advanced quest for knowledge, follow


Whatever your investment requirements, take the first step and discuss your financial plans and goals with your personal CBI Relationship Manager, or visit to book a meeting to discuss your financial dreams today.


Upendra Balchandani is a seasoned banking expert with over 20 years of consumer banking experience with local and international banks. As a graduate in business studies, Upendra holds an MBA in Marketing and has accomplished various leadership development programs from reputed B-schools like Harvard Business, IIM-Bangalore & HULT-International Business School.