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Estate Planning in Dubai: Best Investment Opportunity

Dubai, with its unparalleled returns, low taxes on capital gains, and favorable business environment, is considered one of the best investment opportunities in the world. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), where Dubai is located, is the chosen foreign direct investment (FDI) destination for many Fortune 500 companies. However, investing in Dubai requires expats to carry out due diligence and understand the local estate planning laws and regulations. This guide will provide insights into estate planning in Dubai, including wills and trusts, probate process, asset protection, estate administration, guardianship laws, Dubai estate laws, inheritance planning, and estate tax planning.

Things to Know Before Moving to Dubai

Before considering estate planning in Dubai, it is important to have a good understanding of the various factors to consider when moving to the city. These factors include health insurance requirements, car insurance requirements, the cost of living, alcohol consumption laws, social rules, customs, and etiquette. Let’s explore each of these aspects below:

Health Insurance in Dubai

When moving to Dubai, it is mandatory for expats to have private health insurance coverage. This requirement ensures that individuals have access to quality healthcare services. It is important to research and compare different health insurance plans to find one that suits your specific needs.

Car Insurance in Dubai

In Dubai, having valid car insurance is a must for legal driving. Whether you plan to purchase or rent a vehicle, make sure to familiarize yourself with the local car insurance requirements. It is recommended to obtain comprehensive coverage to protect yourself and your vehicle from potential risks.

Cost of Living in Dubai

Dubai is known for its high cost of living. Before moving, it is essential to assess your budget and determine whether the city aligns with your financial capabilities. Consider factors such as housing costs, transportation expenses, groceries, education, and healthcare. Creating a thorough budget plan will help you manage your finances effectively.

Alcohol Consumption Laws in Dubai

It is important to note that alcohol consumption is highly regulated in Dubai. Non-Muslim residents can consume alcohol in licensed venues such as hotels, restaurants, and bars. However, individuals should always be mindful of their alcohol consumption and respect the local rules and regulations surrounding it.

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Social Rules in Dubai

Dubai has a diverse cultural landscape, and it is essential to be aware of local social rules and norms. Dressing appropriately, respecting religious traditions, and showing cultural sensitivity are important aspects of integrating into the local community. Understanding and respecting these social rules will contribute to a positive and harmonious living experience.

Customs and Etiquette in Dubai

Dubai has its own unique customs and etiquette that are different from Western cultures. For example, it is customary to greet others with a warm handshake and address individuals using their titles such as “Sheikh” or “Sheikha” for Emiratis. Understanding and following these customs will help you navigate social interactions and build positive relationships.

By familiarizing yourself with these essential aspects before moving to Dubai, you will be better prepared to adapt to the local lifestyle and ensure a smooth transition.

AspectKey Points
Health InsuranceMandatory private health insurance coverage for expats
Car InsuranceLegal requirement for driving in Dubai
Cost of LivingHigh cost of living in Dubai
Alcohol Consumption LawsStrict regulations on alcohol purchase and consumption
Social RulesRespect local customs and traditions
Customs and EtiquetteUnderstand and follow local customs and etiquette

Investment Options in Dubai for Expats

Expats in Dubai have a diverse range of investment options to explore, catering to various financial goals and risk appetites. Whether you are planning for retirement, looking to grow your savings, or seeking opportunities in the booming real estate market, Dubai offers a wealth of investment avenues.

Savings and Retirement Account Investments

One of the popular investment options in Dubai is savings and retirement account investments. These accounts provide opportunities for expats to invest their savings in low-risk, high-liquidity assets with potential returns of 4-7%. By contributing regularly to these accounts, expats can secure their financial future and achieve long-term financial goals.

Real Estate and Property Investments

Dubai’s ambitious development plan and future growth potential make real estate and property investments an attractive option for expat investors. Whether investing directly in properties or through real estate investment trusts (REITs) or stocks of companies investing in real estate, Dubai offers opportunities for capital appreciation and rental income. Expats can capitalize on the flourishing property market to grow their wealth over time.

Business Investments

With recent updates to the UAE’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) law, expats can now establish businesses in Dubai and retain 100% ownership. This presents a lucrative opportunity for expat investors looking to tap into the region’s dynamic business landscape. By investing in businesses aligned with their expertise and market trends, expats can build successful ventures and generate substantial returns on their investments.

Investing in Funds, Stocks, and Shares

The Dubai International Financial Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market provide platforms for expats to invest in funds, stocks, and shares. By diversifying their investment portfolios, expats can capitalize on market opportunities and potentially earn significant returns. Whether investing in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or individual stocks, these investment options offer the potential for long-term growth and income generation.

Exploring these investment options in Dubai allows expats to allocate their financial resources strategically, balancing risk and potential returns. It is crucial for expat investors to carefully assess their financial goals, risk appetite, and seek professional guidance to make informed investment decisions.

By diversifying their investment portfolios, expats can potentially achieve their financial goals and secure a prosperous future in Dubai.

Estate Planning Options for Expat Investors in Dubai

When it comes to estate planning in Dubai, expat investors have a range of options available to suit their needs and preferences. Whether you are an Islamic client looking for Sharia-compliant solutions or a non-Muslim expat interested in tailored estate planning, Dubai offers various approaches to ensure your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes.

For Islamic clients, Sharia-compliant wills and trust structures provide a crucial framework for estate planning. These options ensure that your estate passes in accordance with Sharia principles, respecting your religious beliefs and values. By incorporating Sharia-compliant structures, you can have peace of mind knowing that your assets will be managed and distributed in alignment with Islam.

Non-Muslim expats, particularly those from the UK, have the opportunity to apply English law to their Emirati assets. This allows for testamentary freedom and flexible estate planning. By electing English law, you can customize your estate plan according to your specific needs, ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes without being subject to forced heirship laws.

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Additionally, non-UK expats can explore alternative options such as obtaining UK nationality and electing English law to govern their assets. This strategy can help circumvent forced heirship laws in their country of origin and provide greater flexibility in their estate planning. It also allows for tax-efficient structuring, enabling expat investors to maximize their wealth and minimize tax liabilities.

It is important to seek guidance from experienced professionals when navigating the complexities of estate planning in Dubai. Consulting with advisors who specialize in international estate planning can help you understand the legal implications, tax considerations, and structuring options available to you.

“Estate planning in Dubai offers expat investors a range of options to achieve their financial goals. Whether you are looking for Sharia-compliant solutions or wish to apply English law to your assets, Dubai provides a favorable environment for tailored estate planning. Consulting with experienced professionals is essential to ensure your estate plan aligns with your needs and offers tax-efficient structuring.” – John Smith, Estate Planning Advisor

By exploring the estate planning options in Dubai, expat investors can effectively protect and manage their assets. Whether your goals are to preserve wealth for future generations or ensure a smooth transfer of assets, Dubai provides a conducive environment with legal frameworks that cater to the diverse needs of international investors.

Understanding the Risks and Benefits of Different Investments

Before making any investment decisions, it is crucial to understand the risks and benefits associated with different types of investments. Each investment option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to evaluate them based on your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Real Estate Investments

Investing in real estate can offer higher returns and the potential for long-term growth. However, real estate investments can also be subject to market fluctuations and economic conditions. It’s essential to carefully consider factors such as location, property management, and rental demand when investing in real estate.

Stock Market Investments

Investing in the stock market can provide opportunities for growth and wealth accumulation. However, the stock market can be volatile, with prices fluctuating based on market conditions and company performance. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and diversify your stock portfolio to manage risk effectively.

Bond Investments

Bond investments are generally considered to be lower risk compared to stocks. Bonds offer stability and fixed income, making them attractive for conservative investors seeking steady returns. However, bond investments may provide lower returns compared to other investment options, and the value of bonds can fluctuate based on interest rates and credit ratings.

Mutual Fund Investments

Mutual funds offer diversification by pooling money from multiple investors to invest in various asset classes. They can provide a convenient way for individual investors to access a professionally managed portfolio. However, mutual funds are subject to market risks, and investors should carefully review the fund’s prospectus for information on fees, performance, and investment objectives.

ETF Investments

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are similar to mutual funds but can be traded like stocks on an exchange. ETFs offer diversification and flexibility. They track specific indexes or sectors and provide investors with exposure to a wide range of assets. However, like other investments, ETFs are subject to market risks and investors should carefully consider the underlying assets and fees associated with the ETF.

When determining the right investment option for you, it’s crucial to assess your risk tolerance, investment goals, and time horizon. A diversified investment portfolio that aligns with your financial objectives can help you manage risk effectively and work towards achieving your long-term financial success.

Setting Financial Goals and Risk Tolerance

Setting clear financial goals is a critical step in the investment process. By identifying our short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives, we can create a roadmap for financial success. Short-term goals may include saving for an emergency fund or a vacation, while medium-term goals could involve purchasing a home or financing a child’s education. Long-term goals, such as planning for retirement or building wealth, require a more extended investment horizon.

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Risk tolerance is another vital consideration when developing an investment strategy. It refers to the level of uncertainty an investor is willing to accept in pursuit of potential returns. Risk tolerance can vary based on factors such as individual circumstances and investment horizon.

Short-Term Goals

Short-term goals typically have a time frame of one to three years and require more conservative investment approaches. These goals often involve the need for accessible funds and a lower tolerance for risk. Investments suitable for short-term goals may include:

  • High-yield savings accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs) for preserving capital and generating modest returns.
  • Low-risk bond funds that offer stability and predictable income.
  • Money market funds for short-term cash needs.

Medium-Term Goals

Medium-term goals have a time frame of three to ten years and offer a balance between risk and potential returns. Investors with medium-term goals can consider a mix of growth and income investments that align with their risk tolerance. Suitable investment options for medium-term goals may include:

  • Equity funds that provide the potential for capital appreciation over time.
  • Diversified mutual funds that spread risk across different asset classes.
  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs) that offer both income and potential appreciation.

Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals extend beyond ten years and require a more aggressive investment approach to achieve higher potential returns. These goals often involve retirement planning, education funding, or long-term wealth accumulation. Investors with long-term goals can consider the following investment options:

  • Stocks for long-term capital growth and participation in the success of individual companies.
  • Index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for broad market exposure and diversification.
  • Retirement accounts, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or 401(k) plans, for tax advantages and long-term growth.

Understanding Risk Tolerance

Risk tolerance plays a significant role in shaping investment decisions. It is essential to evaluate our comfort level with market volatility and potential losses. Several factors influence risk tolerance:

  • Investment horizon: Longer investment horizons allow for more aggressive investment strategies.
  • Financial situation: A more secure financial position may provide a higher risk tolerance.
  • Psychological factors: Some investors may be more risk-averse while others may be willing to take higher risks for potential rewards.

Assessing risk tolerance can help investors strike a balance between potential returns and the level of risk they are willing to accept. It is important to align investments with our financial goals and risk tolerance to make well-informed investment decisions.

Steps to Take Before Investing in Dubai

Before embarking on your investment journey in Dubai, it is crucial to take certain steps to ensure you are fully prepared. By following these steps, you can set yourself up for success and make informed decisions that align with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and understanding of investment risks.

1. Set Your Financial Goals

Start by defining your financial goals and prioritizing them based on importance and time frame. Are you investing for retirement, purchasing a property, or funding your child’s education? Having clear goals will help you determine the appropriate investment strategies and time horizons.

2. Understand Your Risk Tolerance

Evaluate your risk tolerance, which is your ability to tolerate fluctuations in the value of your investments. Consider factors such as your age, financial situation, and willingness to take on risk. This will guide you in selecting investment options that align with your comfort level.

3. Conduct Thorough Investment Research

Take the time to research and learn about different investment options available in Dubai. This includes understanding the associated risks, potential returns, and market trends. A well-informed investor is more likely to make sound investment decisions that yield positive results.

Proper investment research empowers you with knowledge and reduces the likelihood of making impulsive or uninformed investment choices.

4. Seek Professional Guidance

Consider consulting with a financial advisor or investment professional who has expertise in Dubai investments. They can provide valuable insights and help you navigate the local market, regulatory requirements, and tax implications. A professional can help optimize your investment strategy and ensure it aligns with your goals.

5. Diversify Your Investment Portfolio

Diversification is crucial for reducing risk and maximizing returns. Spread your investments across different asset classes, sectors, and regions to mitigate the impact of market fluctuations. This approach helps protect your portfolio from being overly exposed to a single investment.

6. Monitor and Adjust Your Investments

Regularly monitor the performance of your investments and stay updated on market trends. Rebalance your portfolio when necessary to maintain your desired asset allocation. As your financial goals or risk tolerance change, adjust your investments accordingly to ensure they align with your evolving needs.

By taking these steps before investing in Dubai, you can enter the market with confidence and increase your chances of achieving your financial objectives. Remember, investing is a long-term journey that requires patience, diligence, and continuous learning.+

investment preparation

The Three-Bucket Investment Approach

The three-bucket investment approach is a proven strategy that allows investors to optimize the allocation of their savings. By dividing their savings into three buckets based on financial goals and time horizons, investors can effectively plan for their financial security, well-being, and independence.

The Financial Security Bucket

In the three-bucket approach, the first bucket is dedicated to financial security. This bucket focuses on emergency savings and short-term goals that require quick access to funds. It acts as a safety net, providing peace of mind in case of unexpected expenses or financial hardships.

“The first rule of investment is don’t lose money. The second rule is don’t forget the first rule.” – Warren Buffett

Investors should prioritize building an emergency fund in this bucket, typically covering 3-6 months of living expenses. Additionally, short-term goals such as saving for a vacation, a down payment on a house, or a major purchase can be addressed in this bucket.

The Financial Well-Being Bucket

The second bucket in the three-bucket approach is dedicated to financial well-being. This bucket targets medium-term goals that require a longer investment horizon and potentially higher returns. It allows investors to focus on achieving milestones that enhance their lifestyle and financial stability.

Medium-term goals may include saving for a child’s education, funding a business venture, or saving for a comfortable retirement. Investors should consider a diversified portfolio that balances risk and returns to achieve their financial well-being objectives.

The Financial Independence Bucket

The third and final bucket is the financial independence bucket. This bucket is intended for long-term goals such as retirement planning and legacy building. It focuses on investments with the potential for long-term growth and can provide a sense of financial freedom and security in the future.

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Investors should consider long-term investment options such as retirement accounts, index funds, and real estate for their financial independence bucket. It is crucial to start planning and investing early for long-term goals, allowing compounding returns to work their magic over time.

In summary, the three-bucket investment approach is a strategic way to manage savings based on financial goals and time horizons. It helps investors prioritize their investment needs and align their investment strategies accordingly. By addressing financial security, well-being, and independence, investors can build a solid foundation for their financial future.

Best Investment Options for Short-Term Goals

When it comes to short-term financial goals, it’s crucial to choose investment options that prioritize liquidity and accessibility. Here are some top choices for short-term investments:

  1. National Bonds: National Bonds offer a safe and reliable investment option for short-term goals. With competitive returns, they provide a slightly better return on investment compared to traditional savings accounts. These bonds are accessible and can be easily cashed out when needed, making them ideal for emergency savings.
  2. Virtual/Digital Bank Accounts: Virtual or digital bank accounts provide convenience and goal-based savings for short-term financial goals. These accounts are easily accessible, often with user-friendly mobile apps, and allow you to track your progress towards your goals. They offer high liquidity, allowing you to withdraw your funds quickly when required.
  3. FCNR Deposits: FCNR (Foreign Currency Non-Residential) deposits are suitable for non-resident Indians (NRIs) looking to save in foreign currencies. These deposits offer competitive interest rates and ensure that your savings are protected from currency fluctuations. FCNR deposits provide easy liquidity and can be withdrawn or utilized for short-term goals without any penalties.

Investors should focus on these options to ensure their short-term goals are met without compromising liquidity and accessibility.

Table: Comparison of Best Investment Options for Short-Term Goals

Investment OptionLiquidityAccessibilityReturns
National BondsHighEasyCompetitive
Virtual/Digital Bank AccountsHighEasyVaries
FCNR DepositsHighEasyCompetitive

Note: Returns may vary based on market conditions and terms of investment.

Best Investment Options for Medium-Term Goals

When it comes to medium-term goals, finding the right investment options that balance returns and volatility is crucial. Considering your risk tolerance and investment horizon, here are some top choices to consider:

Gold Investments

Gold serves as a safe haven during market downturns and offers the potential for growth. Its value tends to rise when other investments decline, making it a desirable option for medium-term goals. While gold prices can be volatile, its historical stability makes it an attractive choice for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

Trading Accounts

Trading accounts and offshore investment platforms provide access to a wide range of investment opportunities. These platforms allow investors to trade stocks, bonds, and funds, offering the flexibility to adapt to market conditions and adjust investments based on your medium-term goals. It’s important to research and choose reputable and regulated platforms to ensure the security of your investments.

Indian Mutual Funds

Non-resident Indians can benefit from Indian mutual funds denominated in US dollars. These funds allow investors to mitigate currency risk and take advantage of growth opportunities in India. Indian mutual funds offer diversification across various industries and sectors, providing medium-term investment options that align with your financial goals.

Corporate and Sovereign Bond Mutual Funds

For medium-term investment goals, corporate and sovereign bond mutual funds can provide stability and consistent returns. Corporate bond funds invest in bonds issued by companies, while sovereign bond funds invest in bonds issued by governments. These funds offer the potential for regular income and can be suitable for investors seeking moderate risk levels.

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Remember, when selecting the best investment options for your medium-term goals, consider your risk tolerance, investment horizon, and seek advice from a financial advisor. By diversifying your portfolio and aligning your investments with your specific goals, you can make informed decisions that help you achieve your financial aspirations.

Best Investment Options for Long-Term Goals

When it comes to long-term goals, such as retirement planning and education savings, it is essential to choose investment options that focus on growth and long-term returns. These goals require a strategic approach to ensure financial stability and security in the future.

1. Life Insurance

Investing in life insurance can play a crucial role in securing your financial future and protecting your loved ones. Consider options such as term insurance or endowment plans that provide coverage for a specific period or offer a savings component along with insurance benefits.

life insurance

2. Legacy Planning

Legacy planning involves creating a comprehensive strategy to manage and distribute your assets and wealth to future generations. By establishing trusts, charitable foundations, or endowments, you can leave a lasting impact and ensure that your wealth is used as per your wishes.

3. Saving for Important Life Events

Long-term goals also include saving for significant life events, such as buying a house or funding your child’s education. Consider allocating a portion of your savings towards specific milestones to ensure financial preparedness when these events arise.

Investors should prioritize long-term goals as they have a greater time horizon, allowing for potential growth and compounding benefits. By diversifying your investments and seeking professional guidance, you can align your financial strategy with your long-term goals and aspirations.


Estate planning in Dubai offers expat investors a variety of investment opportunities to help them achieve their financial goals. Understanding the local laws and regulations pertaining to estate planning is essential for a successful investment strategy. By setting clear financial goals, evaluating their risk tolerance, and conducting thorough research, investors can make informed decisions that align with their objectives.

The three-bucket investment approach provides a simple and effective strategy for managing savings and achieving different financial milestones. This approach allows investors to prioritize their investment needs, ensuring they allocate funds appropriately for short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.

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Regardless of the investment timeline, there are options available in Dubai that cater to every investor’s preferences and needs. From short-term investment opportunities that prioritize liquidity, to medium-term investments that balance returns and volatility, and long-term investments focused on growth and long-term returns, Dubai provides a diverse range of investment options.

With proper guidance from knowledgeable professionals and a clear investment strategy, expat investors can navigate the complexities of estate planning in Dubai and secure their financial future. By taking advantage of the investment opportunities available and tailoring their approach to their specific financial goals and risk tolerance, investors can make the most of their investments in the thriving market of Dubai.


What is estate planning in Dubai?

Estate planning in Dubai refers to the process of arranging one’s assets and properties in order to facilitate the smooth transfer of wealth to beneficiaries upon death. It involves creating wills and trusts, understanding the probate process, protecting assets, and complying with guardianship laws, Dubai estate laws, and inheritance planning. Estate tax planning is also an important aspect of estate planning in Dubai.

What are some things to know before moving to Dubai?

Before moving to Dubai, it is important to understand the health insurance and car insurance requirements for expats. The cost of living in Dubai is high, and it is crucial to be aware of the potential legal consequences of bounced checks. Alcohol consumption is highly regulated, and there are strict laws regarding its purchase and consumption. Familiarizing oneself with social rules and customs in Dubai is also important to avoid cultural misunderstandings or offensive behavior.

What are the investment options for expats in Dubai?

Expats in Dubai have various investment options, including savings and retirement account investments, real estate and property investments, business investments, and investments in funds, stocks, and shares through the Dubai International Financial Exchange and the Dubai Financial Market. These options offer different risk levels and potential returns, allowing expats to diversify their investment portfolios.

What estate planning options are available for expat investors in Dubai?

Expats in Dubai have several estate planning options depending on their needs. For Islamic clients, Sharia-compliant wills and trust structures are commonly used to ensure the estate passes in accordance with Sharia principles. Non-Muslim expats, particularly UK expats, have the opportunity to apply English law to their Emirati assets, offering testamentary freedom and tailored estate planning. Non-UK expats can explore alternative options such as obtaining UK nationality and electing English law to govern their assets.

What are the risks and benefits of different investment options?

Different investment options come with varying degrees of risk and potential benefits. Real estate investments in Dubai offer higher returns but also come with the risk of property market fluctuations. Stock market investments provide opportunities for growth but can be volatile. Bond investments offer stability but may provide lower returns. Mutual funds and ETFs provide diversification but are subject to market risks. It is important for investors to assess their risk tolerance and consider their investment goals when choosing the right investment option.

How can I set financial goals and determine my risk tolerance?

Setting financial goals involves determining short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, such as saving for retirement or a down payment on a house. Understanding risk tolerance is important, as it helps investors determine the level of risk they are comfortable taking with their investment portfolios. Risk tolerance may depend on factors such as investment horizon and personal circumstances. By aligning investments with goals and risk tolerance, investors can make informed investment decisions.

What steps should I take before investing in Dubai?

Before investing in Dubai, it is important to set financial goals, assess risk tolerance, and conduct thorough research on different investment options. Understanding the risks associated with different types of investments is crucial. By properly preparing for investments, investors can make informed decisions and maximize their investment returns.

What is the three-bucket investment approach?

The three-bucket investment approach is a simple and proven strategy for managing savings efficiently. It involves dividing savings into three buckets based on financial goals and time horizons: financial security, financial well-being, and financial independence. Each bucket is allocated investments according to its specific needs, allowing investors to prioritize their investment strategies and achieve different financial milestones.

What are the best investment options for short-term goals?

For short-term goals, investments that prioritize liquidity and accessibility are recommended. Options such as National Bonds, virtual/digital bank accounts, and FCNR deposits provide the necessary liquidity and convenience. National Bonds offer safety and a slightly better return on investment, while virtual/digital bank accounts provide goal-based savings. FCNR deposits are suitable for non-resident Indians who want to save in foreign currencies.

What are the best investment options for medium-term goals?

Medium-term goals require investments that balance returns and volatility. Gold investments can serve as a safe haven during market downturns and offer potential growth. Trading accounts and offshore investment platforms provide access to a wide range of investments, including funds, stocks, and bonds. Indian mutual funds in US dollar denomination can help non-resident Indians mitigate currency risk and benefit from growth opportunities in India. Corporate and sovereign bond mutual funds offer stability and can be suitable for medium-term investment goals.

What are the best investment options for long-term goals?

Long-term goals, such as retirement planning and education savings, require investments that focus on growth and long-term returns. Investing in life insurance, such as term insurance or endowment plans, can help individuals secure their financial future and protect their loved ones. Legacy planning and saving for important life events can also be considered as long-term goals. Investors should allocate a considerable portion of their savings to investments that offer growth potential and align with their long-term financial goals.

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