Abu Bakr Kasem is a plastic and aesthetic surgeon at Kasem Aesthetic Clinic in Dubai. The 35-year-old, of Palestinian and Romanian descent, moved to the UAE last year from Romania.
Describe your financial journey.
Looking back it seems like a long life story with many ups and downs, full of sadness and happiness, right and wrong decisions. It’s a story of starting from zero and growing from there, step by step, building the future with patience and perseverance to reach the highest levels of success. I’m from an upper-middle class family; well established and respected in Palestine. I was brought up and educated by my grandfather in the traditional “gentlemen’s” Arabic style. My father was a famous vascular surgeon in Europe so my first ever job was assisting him in the operating room – something I did from my first day of medical school – and managing the clinical activity. So when I established my own clinic I had a high level of experience in the surgical room and in the management field to begin operating at an international level at a young age. This makes me satisfied from a personal, professional and financial point of view, with an income that allows me to have the best level of life and luxury. I live by one motto: when life puts you in a tough position never say “why me?” instead say “try me”.
Are you a spender or a saver?
These terms are relative. What I mean by that is it depends on what I am spending the time or money on. It does not matter how much effort, time and money I spend to get the latest information and technology in my field, and keep myself updated. In the same light, investing in my family to keep them successful and happy is never a loss. So again, these terms are relative.
What is your philosophy towards money?
Simply, money is the way to improve our lives, ourselves and the world we are living in. It is not a goal in itself.
Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?
It was said in the past that the only one who does not make mistakes is the one who does not work. As anyone does in the beginning, I made a lot of mistakes, mainly because of the lack of experience in life and people, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. My mistakes were due to my trusting character. I’m a very simple but honest man and I was raised to respect my word. Unfortunately at the beginning of my career I thought everyone shared this world view and I trusted people when I should have been more conservative. As a result I engaged in a few different projects with a considerable financial implication that turned out to be fake. I’m not sorry for that, it was the price of learning how to build and protect success.
If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?
I would establish a medical school based on practical experience and cases. From our first days in medical school, we are taught theory and more theory, but the real world and real patients are very different. I want to establish a new concept in the medical world in the Middle East, teaching how to practice medicine rather than accumulating theories.
What has been your best investment?
My family, knowledge and medical devices.
Do you plan for the future?
Of course. You always have to dream to improve yourself, to put real plans to reach that dream, and to transform the dream into reality.
What do you enjoy spending money on?
Travelling and seeing new countries, societies and cultures.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter