“I want to be able to stop working prior to my 50th birthday”

Published on: 6 January 2021

Series: Work & Money


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 ‘in the future’yourself or are you affiliated with a pension fund? In this edition: Jeroen Zuurveld, financial planner and, as of recently, a one-person business.


Jeroen Zuurveld (39)

Profession: financial planner / teacher in higher professional education

Weekly works: 25 to 30 hours per week

Income: “The salary I pay myself from my enterprise is 1500 euro net per month. I earn approximately the same amount teaching. In addition, I receive return on my investments because of value increases and dividends.”

Savings: Together with his wife, a buffer of 20,000 euro. Also an investment portfolio, worth 100,000 euro.

Pension is arranged? Yes


Since when are you acting as a one-person business?

“I started two years ago. It is a huge step, starting your own business, when you have a fulltime job. This happened gradually in my case: after my fulltime job I was working a few days a week in higher professional education, which I am still doing for one or two days per week. I took the leap of faith in the position described above.”


What is it that you do exactly as a financial planner?

“I offer my clients a coaching program in order for them to figure out what’s most important in their lives, what it is that makes them happy. I help them to think freely: when the world is at your feet, what will you do? I then guide them to implement that process step by step and design a financial plan matching their progression. I try to help them put their finances into service of their lives, instead of the other way around.”


And what do you do in higher professional education?

“I teach financial management. This is ideal for me. It fits with the topics I discuss with my clients and vice versa I am able to use my practical knowledge during my teaching sessions.”


Are you satisfied with your income?

“It is more than enough to make ends meet. The amount I earn in excess is added to my investments.”

How do you handle those investments?

“It is my goal to invest 20 percent of my income. I invest in both individual shares and in ETFs. Instead of transferring money to my savings account, I wire it to a broker. I buy pre-selected shares or ETFs through this broker. When your investment horizon is long enough, a return of 8 to 10 percent can be achieved. My entire portfolio is worth approximately 100,000 euro. Investing results in flexibility. I could sell all of my investments today, provided I would like to do so, and the proceeds would be deposited into my account tomorrow.”


Do you want to retire early?

“It is my goal to technically be able to retire in five to ten years. Not that I already want to stop working by then, but it would be great to at least have the possibility to do so. That provides the ultimate freedom. In order to achieve this goal, the return from investments has to be equal to your expenses.”

How much money do you spend on a monthly basis?

“I live together with my wife, who holds a permanent position in the education sector, and our 4-year-old son. As a family we spend approximately 4000 euro per month on mortgage payments, insurances, childcare, subscriptions, the cleaner, groceries and clothing. That is quite an average spending pattern as I notice the same with my clients.”


What are the other things you spend your money on?

“We like to go on holidays. Other than that, I regularly buy sports gear. We live in Zandvoort aan Zee at the coast which is the ideal location for surfing and cycling. And all of those restaurants and bars in the neighborhood are of course also very tempting. We regularly visit a beach bar, provided the country is not in lockdown. Although I do have to say that I sometimes find it rather difficult to spend money now, because I am always aware of the fact that the money will be worth more if I put it aside. I have to keep a proper balance in mind between enjoying it now and accrue enough for the future. The pitfall for many people is that they live too much in the now and forget the consequences for the future. In my case, the opposite applies.”

I would be very satisfied if I am able to keep on doing the things that make me happy

Is there anything else you do in terms of retirement apart from investing?

“Yes. We make sure, for example, that a large part of our mortgage is repaid later on, resulting in lower housing expenses. I also believe that my company will be valuable in the future and that I will be able to sell it. And I have obviously also accrued a part of my pension in paid employment.”


How much would you like to receive per month following your retirement?

“Enough to make ends meet. It is hard to give you an exact amount. Everything you buy now may well be twice as expensive by then. I would be very satisfied if I am able to keep on doing the things that make me happy. I wish the same for everybody. I see plenty of self-employed persons who only have a savings account and don’t accrue anything else. Those savings are idle, no return is made. That is not a problem right now, but how will that look in ten, twenty years? I think many people will be in shock seeing the results. In my opinion, it seems very unpleasant for people to have worked hard their entire lives and then suddenly have to take a retrograde step due to an enormous drop in income.”


Is there still room for improvement in your pension strategy?

“I have mainly made my mistakes in the past. Time is most important in the end, to have the time to build something. When I was a student, I structurally spent more money than I earned, without realizing the impact that would have later on. You first have to repay your debts before you are able to build up any capital. That might actually be one of the reasons I started this kind of work: I have learned from my mistakes and am trying to prevent others from doing the same. I should have started building up some capital way sooner.”