“At the end of the month, my husband and I send each other a Tikkie”

Published on: 25 February 2022

How do you deal with work and money for now and in the future? Do you live from day to day or are you deliberately planning your financial future? And do you arrange ‘later’ yourself or are you participating in a pension fund?

Silvia Bogers (40) made the conscious decision not to have a joint bank account with her husband. 


Silvia Bogers (40)

Profession: Business coach

Weekly works: 45 to 50 hours

Income: Pays herself a monthly income of 1950 euro

Savings: 10,000 private, 18,000 business

Pension is arranged? Not yet really


What kind of work do you do?

“I have been an entrepreneur since 2014. That was not an instant success: the plan was to sell handmade bags - I believe I sold two. No surprise really; I didn't really know what I was doing, it was doomed to fail. I then started working as a software consultant. That was great, earning me a rather nice salary. In my last year I achieved a turnover of 127,000 euro, 120,000 of which in profit. And that with an average workweek of three days.”


So why did you choose to start doing something else?

“The work made me very happy for a long time, until it didn't anymore. I worked for healthcare institutions quite a lot and the lack of drive in that world started to annoy me immensely. I wanted to optimize cumbersome systems, for example, but was told they rather kept everything the way it was ‘because they only had to work for another fifteen years until retirement’. I started my current company as a business coach in 2019, as I was looking to make a more direct impact. Now I help other coaches and therapists to make their practice more successful. This makes me intensely happy.”


How many hours do you work?

“Forty-five to fifty hours. I worked in places where twenty hours of work used to be exhausting, but the work I am doing now actually gives me energy. I go to the office every day with immense pleasure. Just let me do my thing, I enjoy it way too much. I never work weekends, but I make long hours during the week. I consider myself an employee of my own company and want to earn the title of ‘employee of the month’ every time again.”


How much do you earn?

“Last year, the second full year in my new company, I realized a turnover of nearly 125,000 euro. I think an amount of 70,000 euro can be booked as profit. I pay myself a monthly salary of 1950 euro.”


Are you satisfied with that income?

“Yes, I am absolutely happy with that income. It was enough for last year. Next year, I want to realize a turnover of 500,000. The foundation is established, I have learned a lot and become increasingly better in what I do. A turnover of 350,000 euro, my original plan, would no longer be a challenge for me. Upon encouragement of my own business coach, I have therefore set that goal of 500K.”


How were you able to increase your turnover this quickly?

“I started working smarter. Scalability is a great way to spend your hours more lucratively. I provide online training for start-up entrepreneurs, for instance, partially providing me with passive income. The training has been developed and finalized and can be sold endlessly without considerable extra time and effort. Increasing your rates throughout the year also helps.”

I consider myself an employee of my own company and want to earn the title of ‘employee of the month’ every time again

How much do you pay on fixed costs?

“All in all about 800 euro per month for me and my husband together. I have paid off the largest part of the house and my mortgage currently amounts to only 440 euro per month.”


How do you divide the expenses?

“Differently than most people I think. I have consciously bought the house we live in on my own, so that won't be an issue should we ever split up. My husband pays me 100 euro ‘rent‘ per month. I pay for everything that needs to be done to the house. A new dormer, a new bathroom in the amount of 18,000 euro: I paid for it. We share the other expenses fifty-fifty, but we don't have a joint bank account. We have always done it that way, even when we weren't married yet. Exclusion of all community of property is officially not possible anymore, but that is actually the condition under which we got married. We have notarized that my husband only has access to my money once I have passed away. Finances are often cause for enormous fights when people break up and that is something we want to prevent.”


So, how do you handle any joint expenses?

“We use the app ‘Wie betaalt wat’ (Who pays for what) to broadly keep track of who spends what on groceries and such, and we settle the bills with one another at the end of the month. This means he sends me a Tikkie, or I send him one. We both know exactly where we stand. Precisely because we arranged our finances this way, we handle our money in a very relaxed manner. This might not work for others, but it feels good to us. And that's all that counts.”


How much savings do you have?

“I always make sure to have set aside about 10,000 euro in private savings. Half of that amount is reserved for vacations. I enjoy going on vacation, also on my own, and it feels good that this is always possible. In addition, my company has a savings account always amounting to 18,000 euro, providing me with a six months’ buffer. I furthermore have a pot for study and development which I want to supplement to 5000 euro. And then I still have a pot I call the ‘surplus pot’, currently amounting to 7000 euro. If that amount reaches more than 10,000 euro, I use it to pay off my mortgage. I still have a mortgage of 100K that I want to fully redeem this year.”


What do you spend much money on?

“On education, courses and training within my company. I enjoy learning new things and want to become even better in my profession. I pay 14,000 euro annually for the services of my own business coach. A rather large investment, but one that pays off. I also enjoy visiting the beautician and the hairdresser every six weeks, the sauna once in a while or going for dinner with my husband or friends. I enjoy everything I can do with my money more and more.”


Where do you save money on?

“We have had solar panels installed which will eventually be a considerable saving. I don't throw money down the drain, but I also don't live consciously frugal. I buy what I need and that's not really a lot. We cancelled our TV subscription nine years ago, for example, because we never watched. I also really don't need the latest phone: I use my phone until it's worn. The same applies to furniture and clothing. Friends sometimes say: ‘You have been wearing that same cardigan for fifteen years now, wouldn't you like to buy a new one?’ But I rather spend my money on experiences.”


Do you think about your old age sometimes?

“If you just started your own company, you don't have the financial leeway to set money aside for your pension. To me, redeeming my mortgage is part of my retirement provision. If I don't have a mortgage to pay, I need a lot less money to earn my keep. The pension I accrued so far working in employment probably doesn't exceed a couple of euros per month. With the turnover I intend to realize this year, I want to take an in-depth look at the possibilities.”


How do you envisage your life as a pensioner?

“On the one hand I tend in the direction of working until a high age. On the other hand I think: a 70 years’ old business coach, I don't know… I think I want to travel a lot. Maybe I still want to contribute to society in a way, but maybe not. I mostly hope to reach the pensionable age in good health, so I can still enjoy my life. That's also what I am doing right now: I really enjoy working.”