Engineer Rheema Menon divides her time between her home in Ajman and her job in Dubai. Born in the UAE, the 32-year-old Indian expatriate views money as a symbol of 'independence'. In an interview with WKND, she shares her financial philosophy, including the choice to relocate from Dubai to Ajman, which significantly reduced the family's expenses.

How would you characterize your attitude towards money? I would say it's balanced. I avoid unnecessary expenditures.

What shaped this perspective? My parents instilled in me the value of money from a young age, emphasizing the importance of saving early.

What positive and negative money management lessons did you learn from your mother? Positively, she taught me to spend wisely and save early. Negatively, she cautioned against taking any days off work, as it would reduce my earnings, leading to regret.

Who do you consult about financial matters? I primarily discuss money issues with my husband, who has been my greatest teacher on financial matters. Money is a private matter and should not be discussed openly unless seeking advice from a trusted individual.

What has been your most impactful experience related to money? My upbringing revolved around the significance of money, which was crucial for earning respect. I am cautious with spending, fearing that money could disappear, so I only purchase what is necessary.

How has living in the UAE altered your relationship with money? Post-Covid, I have become more cautious with my spending due to the rising cost of living here. Conscious spending and saving are now essential.

What advice would you give to your child or younger self about money? Remember that money doesn't grow on trees. You must work hard and not undervalue yourself for the job you do.

How much do you save monthly? I save more than half of my income, roughly 60 percent.

What financial goals do you have for when you are 65? I aim to have enough to live comfortably in a community with all amenities, pursue entrepreneurship, and support my daughter's settlement.

What do you consider your greatest financial decision? Deciding to work and contribute to our household income. Moving from Dubai to Ajman halved our expenses, allowing us to save more without compromising our lifestyle.