"If you have too much money, nothing is special anymore"

Published on: 30 March 2022

How do you deal with work and money for now and later? Do you live by the day or do you purposefully plan your financial future? In this Money Week, we let a couple of young people have their say. Marek (16) puts some money aside every month, but doesn't mind spending the rest. 


Marek Hankel (16) 

Income: 500 euros per month 

Savings: about 700 euros 


Do your parents give you any money? 

"Yes, 30 euros pocket money and a 50-euros clothing allowance each month. My friends get about the same amount. Sometimes my parents give me a bit extra, like the last time during carnival. They gave me 50 euros and they let me spend it on whatever I wanted. But if I get something, my brother and sister want the same, of course, so my parents have to draw a line." 


Do you think it's enough? 

"Not for what I want to spend it on. You know, I can buy a shirt at a cheap store for 15 euros, but I prefer a shirt from Daily Paper for 50 euros. I just have expensive taste. That's why part of the money I earn from my second job is spent on clothing, and I often ask for designer clothes on my birthday and holidays." 


Do you have any other sources of income? 

"Yes, I work at the till at Jumbo, about fifteen hours a week. That earns me 5.60 euros per hour, on Sundays double that. On a monthly basis, that's about 250 euros net. I also get an internship allowance of 180 euros per month. I do a disabled care internship two days a week. All in all, I get just over 500 euros per month. I think that's quite a lot." 


What did you parents teach you about money? 

"My parents are quite frugal, they don't spend their money on 'silly' things. For example, they don't understand why I need a shirt from Daily Paper so badly, I might as well buy a cheap shirt, right? I have a different opinion about that, but I do understand them. They also taught me to save enough so you always have some money for a rainy day." 


How much have you saved? 

"Between 600 and 800 euros, I think. I pay about 200 euros into my savings account every month. I don't think saving is easy, but I know it's wise, so I'll do it. My parents have also set aside a certain amount for me for later."  

Do you have a specific savings goal? 

"Yes, I would like to buy a scooter. You can't get it for less than 1500 euros, so I have to keep saving for a bit." 


Are you good with money? 

"Fairly, sometimes I have to control myself. The thing is, I like to buy things. I can put a lot more in my savings account, but what will I gain with that? When I have a real salary later, those few hundred euros will mean nothing. I'd better have a good time with my earned money now than have it just sitting doing nothing in my savings account." 

The thing is, I like to buy thingsThe thing is, I like to buy things

What do you spend your money on, apart from designer clothes? 

"Driving lessons, I have to pay half of that myself, my parents pay the other half. Going out is also quite expensive. The supermarket also gets some of my income; I often go get a sandwich with a can of Red Bull during my break, and it all adds up. And I bought a PlayStation, for example, and a new phone. They're not cheap either." 


What do you want to be later in life? 

"I want to do something in social care. Maybe care for the disabled, or in a juvenile detention center. I'm not quite sure where exactly. But I want to work with people anyway, help people." 


That's not a sector known for good earnings, do you find that difficult? 

"Well, of course you work to get paid, but if you're only working on the best income, I think you're doing something wrong. I would be very unhappy if I earned 10,000 euros a month and had to sit in an office working on a laptop all day. I'd much rather help people. If that pays less, so be it." 


Does money make you happy? 

"Yes, I'm convinced of that. For a large part, at least. At my age, it would be nice if I really had a lot of money so I could just buy a scooter and not have to worry about what I was spending when I go out. But I can't imagine someone like Jeff Bezos being happy anymore. If you have so much money, nothing is special anymore. It'll be very special for me to be able to buy a scooter, because I've worked very hard for it. But if you can buy everything without thinking, the fun's gone." 


Are you worried about your financial future? 

"I wouldn't say worried, but I do think about it. Everything's getting more expensive. Sometimes I think you need to have a high income to be able to join in with the fun. I also think I'll be living at home longer than I might like. We just moved to a nice house, my friends can come by often. Then why would I sit in a room of 10 m2 for an extremely high amount of money? I don't see myself leave at age 18, that's in less than a year and a half. No, I wouldn't mind leaving the house until I'm 21." 


Your retirement is still a long way off, have you ever thought about it? 

"I make a lot of jokes about retiring soon when I'm busy. I also sometimes think about what I would do by then, but I'm not yet planning anything for when I'm 70. I'll see what I have left by then. I don't see myself stop working at 50, as some people intend to do. You have to save up everything and not spend a single euro. I do want to be able to go on holiday and go out for dinner now and then - enjoy myself."