Ankit Wadhwa is co-founder of the UAE-based online marketplace wadi.com. The 34-year-old entrepreneur, who is from India, moved to the UAE in 2012 and lives in Oud Metha in Dubai.
How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?
My parents were not the wealthiest of people, but they always ensured we were never short of anything. They taught me to be wise with my expenditure but never be a spendthrift; you need to enjoy what you earn. They also instilled in me from a young age that you should always save a percentage of your income; always plan ahead for a rainy day.
How much did you get paid for your first job?
My first salary was US$20,000 per year, a great starting base in my first professional role. It was at the New Delhi branch of the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.
Are you a spender or saver?
I’ve always seen myself as both a spender and a saver. I have always saved a fixed percentage of my income in my savings every month, it’s smart to make sure you have a cushion you can fall back on. The rest, well I spend it on items that make me happy. Once you’ve worked hard you should always enjoy the perks.
What is your most cherished purchase?
My higher education. I attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from 2010 until 2012. My tuition came to approximately $200,000, a large sum but because of the wealth of knowledge on offer I achieved an MBA in finance and entrepreneurship. It was absolutely worth it.
Have you ever had a month where you feared you could not pay the bills?
Many, which is normal in life. I think many business owners go through this at some stage – not knowing how you will pay your payroll or bills.
Where do you save your money?
I save in fixed deposits with ING Bank, which provide liquidity and reasonable returns, as well as having a portfolio of investments in mutual funds such as Franklin Templeton India Fund and Tata Indo Global Fund, a low maintenance and low risk method to save. Additionally I’ve always found property to be an excellent tool to invest in.
Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?
Card as it’s just easier to carry around, but I always make sure I know my limit.
What has been your best investment?
Honestly my education, it’s been the cornerstone of my professional career.
What do you most regret spending money on?
Definitely investing in the stock market in 2007. I lost close to $100,000, which was quite a shock – overall it was a 70 per cent loss on the investment.
What financial advice would you offer your younger self?
Plan a diversified portfolio and go for a mix of high-risk and low-risk investments. Additionally I’d tell myself to never hold back on spending when you are in a position to. But don’t spend because others are, always trust your gut.
Do you have a plan for the future?
Of course, Wadi.com is the future for me. Building a company from the ground up has been one of the most thrilling and satisfying experiences of my professional life.
If you won Dh1m, what would you do with it?
I would donate part to a cause I strongly believe in, education for underdeveloped countries, and invest the rest in a mix of fixed-return savings, higher risk savings and start-ups. As for whatever remains, spend it and enjoy it.
What would you raid your savings account for?
To buy property in India; it’s my homeland and the majority of my family live over there. The women in my life are very important to me, especially my wife and mother, so I would happily treat them with jewellery.
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