“I’m quite proud of what I earn” Self-employed Santousha (33) has a large buffer, but a pension? 'I keep putting it off'

Published on: 24 November 2020

It is the emerging generation in the labor market. The managers of tomorrow. The thirties. How do they deal with work and money for now and later?

Today: online marketer Santousha Kalk.


Santousha Kalk (33)

Profession: online marketer

Weekly working hours: 20 to 30 hours

Income: EUR 7,000 to 7,500 gross per month

Savings: EUR 75,000

Pension arranged? No


What do you do as an online marketer?

"Lately, I've focused largely on online advertising, via social media and Google. My clients are mainly SMEs, like dental practices, firms of civil-law notaries, but also coaches, trainers and webshops."


How long have you been doing this job?

"I started online marketing in 2006, as an employee at the time. I've always done something different; at first, I was mainly involved with SEO, then with Google Ads and advertising on social media."


Since when have you been self-employed?

"Since I've been living in the Netherlands. Until a year ago, I lived in Suriname, where I was permanently employed."


Have you consciously opted for entrepreneurship?

"Yes. I wanted to have freedom of location, and as a self-employed person, you also earn better. I've now also consciously chosen not to work full-time anymore, so that I can organize my own time. If I feel like starting later, I will, and if I need an afternoon nap too."


What do you like about the job?

"I've always been a nerd. As a child, I built my own websites, which I then tried to generate traffic for. Growth is very measurable online, you immediately receive data you can use. It gives me a good feeling to be doing that. The industry is also constantly changing, it's never boring."


Does it earn you enough?

"Absolutely. What I earn is more than enough for me. I'm happy with it and quite proud of it."


What are your fixed charges?

"Every month, I pay about 900 Euros into the joint account and I don't spend much more than that. I work from home and therefore have no costs for renting an office. I hardly spend anything on clothes, I'm at home anyway. My main monthly expense is the rent, together with my partner, it's 1,050 Euros. We live in a rented house in The Hague. We're looking for a house to buy, but it's not easy in the current market. It's difficult to get a fully-fledged mortgage, especially as a self-employed person, also because I can only submit accounts for one year."


Do you pay close attention to what you spend?

"Yes, because I want to build up a certain buffer. Not that I have a target amount to save, I just put aside as much as possible. I earn well now, but I don't want to live that way. I don't know what the future holds, so it would be unwise to spend everything I earn right away."


Do you think about your pension?

"Not really. I'm still researching what's the best option for me. I have quite a bit of savings, but I haven't reserved a certain part of it for my pension. I want to have the freedom to stop working earlier. I still have to find out how."


Did you accrue pension when you were still employed?

"Yes, for about twelve years when I still lived in Suriname. But that's a country in crisis, I doubt whether the money I accrued will be worth anything in the future. In any case, the amounts there are low; I always compare it to pocket money for a child."


How much would you like to receive each month when you retire?

"I have no idea what I would need. I assume that my fixed charges will be much lower by then, but I'm not sure. And turning 100 or 75, that also makes quite a difference. Who can predict how long you'll live?"


What could improve on with regard to your pension?

"Everything! I haven't done anything yet. It feels so overwhelming, I've found myself putting it off. That's not good, because it's quite drastic. The choice I make now will really affect what my future will look like. I want to make the right choice and take the time to make a good decision. I'm thinking of hiring a consultant to explain it all to me."