“I don’t need that money; I’d rather have our mom back”

Published on: 15 October 2021

How do you deal with work and money for now and for the future? Do you live one day at a time or are you consciously planning your future? And are you making your own arrangements for the future or are you part of a pension fund? In ‘Work & Money’, we let people have their say about their finances.

Tamara Straatman (38) won the jackpot in the State Lottery a few years ago.


Tamara Straatman (38)

Profession: independent entrepreneur

Hours worked weekly: about 30 hours a week

Income: 4000 euros net a month

Savings: 1.2 million euro

Pension set up? Yes


So you became an instant millionaire?

“Yes, I won the jackpot in the New Year’s Eve lottery of 2017/2018. Ten million euros. I was at a friend’s house when my dad called me, jabbering something about the jackpot. I didn’t believe it for a minute; I thought he’d had one too many. But a little while later, my brother called me, crying, to say it was really true. My first reaction? ‘I don’t need that money; I’d rather have our mom back.’ She had died earlier that year and it was her tradition to buy tickets for the state lottery for the whole family. That jackpot felt like a gift from above, even though I had mixed feelings. I’ve always said I’d be a millionaire by the time I was 35, but I never expected it to happen this way. I thought my business plans would bring in money, but it turned out to be the other way around.”


What did you do with that money?

“I parked a portion of it in various saving accounts and used the rest to set up my own business, and to invest. I also traveled a lot and bought a house. In spite of this, I have hardly drawn on it. What I have used up in living expenses over the past few years, I have earned back through my investments.”


What kind of work do you do?

“I am an entrepreneur. Through my platform JoinTheStribe.com, my team and I connect entrepreneurs, investors and consumers to each other. It is completely focused on sustainability. Sustainable entrepreneurs can pitch their business to us and we try to find investors. Part of the platform is an academy with training courses aimed at personal development and business insight. I myself will soon be giving one of those training courses: Invest with Success. I have gained a lot of experience with this in recent years and I want to pass on my knowledge.”


You don’t think: I’m just going to sit back and stop working?

“I don’t think that’s in my DNA. I’m used to working a lot. I used to work sixty to eighty hours a week. Plus, the work I’m doing now, sort of feels like a calling. I would love to improve society with my money, and leave behind an impactful, blooming business when I’m gone. I also enjoy challenging myself intellectually and bringing out the best in myself. I’m now working five days a week, about six hours a day. I usually work a bit on the weekend too. I’m just not the kind of person that wants to sit on the patio with a glass of wine all weekend. I’d rather be doing something useful.”


How much do you earn?

“I pay myself a salary and also rent out an office at home. All together, I earn about 4000 euros net a month. I used to have to get by with 2000 euros net and that was not a problem, so this is certainly enough for me.”


What are you fixed expenses?

“I have a high energy bill of nearly 800 euros, because I live in a detached house with a heated swimming pool in the yard. A lot of it is generated by solar panels and collectors, but it’s still quite a bit of money. And then there’s the standard things, like health insurance, internet, mobile phone, TV, etc. I also haven’t paid off my mortgage yet, because that works better in terms of taxes. The expenses for that are about 56,000 euros a year, but I don’t count that as one of my monthly expenses.”



I can afford more luxuries than before, but I still enjoy a discount

What else do you spend a lot of money on?

“I think mostly on just the comforts of life. I have a beautiful fairytale garden with goats, chickens and a dog. There is a Japanese gingko tree with my mother’s ashes under it and there is dazzling sea of flowers. There is always something blooming. It feels like I’m on vacation every day in my own house. I love living here.

In terms of business, I invest a lot in my company and in acquiring knowledge. For example, before Covid, I had a platinum membership with coach Tony Robbins, with a financial component. You get training from the best investors in the world there. Very valuable. That membership costs me 85,000 dollars a year, and then there are still all kinds of events you can go to. Including the flights and hotels, that adds up to about 130,000 a year.”


Has your spending pattern changed since you became a millionaire?

“I no longer have to figure out if I can afford things, that’s different from before. I can afford a bit more luxury. But I’ve never been someone who bought expensive brand name clothing, and I still enjoy a discount. I really enjoy being able to eat out more often now, but I don’t dine in five-star restaurants every week. If you do that too often, it ruins the fun.”


What did that jackpot bring you?

“Happiness, freedom, independence, but also a ton of problems. You end up in an unfamiliar world you then need to discover. Your whole life is topsy turvy. Money does a lot to people. They start having expectations of you, they see you differently and approach you differently. It also made me lose friends, both directly and indirectly. That really hurt.”

And are you planning your old age?

“Not really. I got the pension I had accrued during my employment paid out and I’m not accruing any pension now. Unless my entire capital evaporates, that is not relevant to me anymore. I invested 3.5 million and in my own life, I probably won’t even need that.”


How do you envision your life at that time?

“I think I will still be involved in the business world. I want to have earned my stripes in business and leave something good for society. I hope to still be healthy and fit at that time. If I become a mother in the next few years, I hope I will have raised a balanced person, who can stand on their own feet in society. And it would be great if I had a long-term relationship then and if I were just as in love with that person as at the beginning. I think everyone has the same dreams: whether you’re earning 2000 a month or you’re a millionaire like me. Everyone wants to be happy with their loved ones, everyone wants to be healthy, and do something meaningful for society. I think that is universal.”


Does money make you happy?

“It certainly contributes to your happiness, although not all rich people are happy by any means. I like the idea of being financially independent. It gives me a lot of freedom. Of course, being healthy is more important than being rich, but if you’re sick, you’re better off sick and rich than sick and poor. What makes me happy is knowing that I can make an impact with my money and I can use it to make the world a little better.”