“I invested my entire student loan to pay for my new courses”

Published on: 18 August 2021

How do you handle work and money now and for the future? Do you live hand to mouth or do you deliberately plan your financial future? And are you making arrangements for the future yourself, or are you part of a pension fund?

Daniel (20) invested his first student loan to pay for his pilot training, with all the risks that entailed.


Daniel Vischjager (20)

Profession: journalist, customer support agent, future pilot

Weekly number of working hours: about 40

Income: 12 to 20 euros net per hour

Savings: a few hundred euros

Pension set up? no


What do you do in your everyday life?

“I just graduated from the School of Journalism and want to train as a pilot after the summer. Becoming a pilot was a boyhood dream of mine, but it has always been something for ‘later’. You have to be 18 to get a license and I finished high school at 16. I didn’t want to just wait around for two years and I also really liked journalism, which is why I registered for this study. But becoming a pilot seems just a bit more exciting. Down the road, I would like to combine both professions; writing about aviation in addition to my work as a pilot.”


Pilot training costs a ton. How do you fund it?

“I’ve borrowed the maximum from the Education Executive Agency since day one of my journalism studies and invested every cent directly in stocks. Of course, all that has to be paid back, but you can take an incredibly long time and you don’t pay any interest. I’m not stressed about it at all. My mom helped me; she invests for her own retirement and knows what to look out for. I have invested in Apple, Tesla and mutual funds, among others. The total value of my portfolio is now 50,000 euros. So, I already have half of it. I also have crypto coins that sometimes do well. My mom and I often buy crypto coins together. We pick one, we each put in half and we divide the proceeds. For example, we recently profited enormously from the rise of Dogecoin. I bought some when that coin was worth 5 cents and sold them at 40 cents. I made almost 6,000 euros profit on that. But with those crypto currencies you never know, that’s why I only do that with small amounts. To save extra, I’ve been working two jobs for a while now.”

My mom helps me; she invests for her retirement herself and knows what to look out for

Are you aware of the risks of investing?

“Yes I am. I know I can lose my deposit. But when I look at my mom’s investment history, and she has invested mostly in relatively safe funds like me, I see that the prices go up over the years.”


But what if everything is in the red when you actually need the money for your studies?

“That’s a risk I’m consciously taking. If that happens it's unfortunate, but I think the amount I might lose would still be less than what I would have paid in interest if I had taken out a student loan at the bank. I can always borrow money from the bank, but I’d rather do that as little as possible.”


What do you do for work?

“I work freelance on the editorial team of iCulture.co.nl. I write about Apple and technology; two subjects I’m very passionate about. I basically get paid to write about my hobby. Since March of this year, I’ve also been working as a customer support agent at Fastned, another company that is close to my heart. And I recently applied for a job at Aviodrome, the aviation museum in Lelystad. If I’m hired there, I’ll be working about 40 hours a week all in all. But all those jobs align with my passions.” 

How much does it pay?

“At iCulture I get paid 20 euros an hour, at Fastned 12 euros an hour. I don’t know how much they pay at Aviodrome, but I’m sure that won’t be a fat paycheck either.”


Do you think it’s enough?

“It’s still above my lower limit, although I do think it’s too little. But you know, I enjoy the work. That’s worth something, too. So, I don’t really mind that it doesn’t bring in much financially at this point.”


What are your fixed expenses?

“Because I live with my mother I have almost none. Yes, my phone plan at 18 euros a month and a subscription to Amazon Prime for about 3 euros. It’s really just small change.”


What do you spend a lot of money on?

“Definitely not on clothes, I don’t care about that at all. I just happened to buy new shoes because I noticed a hole starting in my old ones. I wear the same shoes 364 days a year – just not when I’m expected to dress up – and I’m totally fine with that. I also consciously buy shoes that can get dirty and wet, so I can clean them in the shower. Shopping for clothes is the worst thing there is. What I do have a soft spot for is Apple products. I have a large collection of Apple stuff at home, from an old 1987 Macintosh to the first iPhone in perfect condition. Altogether, 65 stand-alone products, including iPhones, MacBooks, iPads and Apple Watches. And everything still works. For example, I have at least 18 working iPhones. Why? Mainly because it’s just super-fun to me, but also because I write about it for my job. I think this hobby costs me about 1100 euros a year. I don’t buy new products every month, but I do buy the latest iPhone every year. I value beautiful things. I like design, beautiful devices and technology. I like to spend a little more on that than the average person my age. A lot of my peers go out every week and buy clothes. I don’t drink or smoke, so I save a lot of money. To each his own.”


I think saving is stupid and useless. In a savings account, your money is sitting around not doing anything

How much savings do you have?

“A few hundred euros in my checking account, the rest is in my investments. I think saving is stupid and useless. In a savings account your money is sitting around not doing anything. At least put it in a safe investment fund to give it a little return. You hardly need to know anything about it to do that.”


Are you setting things up for your old age?

“Not in the sense that I’m actively putting money aside or anything like that. My retirement still depends on so many things that I don’t know, that I can’t think about that yet. If I succeed in becoming a pilot, I think I will be assured of a good pension. Although that can differ enormously from one airline to another. With an airline like KLM, it will be okay, I think, but with an airline like Ryanair it would be a lot less. You make good money as a pilot anyway, but you can’t really compare economy carriers to the luxury airlines. If you don’t have any flying hours yet, you obviously won’t be able to start working for the best airlines right away.”


How do you envision your life when you retire?

“If I’ve made a lot of money, I’ll be fine. Then I’ll have a nice house, a nice car and be able to take good care of myself and my family. Maybe by then I’ll be in Spain, Portugal or Germany for my work. As a pilot you have to retire sooner, and I would like to do it until that time comes. And who knows, maybe I can become an instructor afterwards, or something completely different. It depends a bit on the career I’ll have had by then.”



Also read our interview with APG's Charles Kalshoven on risks and opportunities for young investors.