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 diligently planning your financial future? And do you arrange ‘later’ yourself or are you participating in a pension fund?
Nazrien Ozir was declared fully disabled. She is not expecting to reach retirement age.
Nazrien Ozir (46)
Profession: none, formerly communications officer
Works per week: she doesn’t; she is disabled
Income: about 2,000 Euros in WIA benefits and disability pension
Savings: minimal; for emergencies
Pension organized? no
What kind of work did you used to do?
“I was a communications officer and executive secretary for the government. I worked for several ministries, such as Economic Affairs, Internal Affairs and Justice.”
How much did you make doing that?
“About 2,300 EUR net for 36 hours.”
Were you happy with that as a salary?
“Yes, absolutely. I could afford all luxuries. Through housing development, I rented a house for 300 EUR a month and had a lot of money left to do fun things with. Go out for meals, drinks, take trips. My motto has always been: enjoy life now. I would never save up all my money for the future. I don’t have a husband or kids, and who knows if there is a future for me? I have some savings for if the washing machine breaks down, but other than that, I spend all my money. None of it came to me easily. I did everything myself. Since the day my father died, when I was 13, I’ve been taking care of myself. I made something of my life by financing two professional courses myself and completing them. But I also have to thank my mother, because she got remarried to my stepfather. Otherwise, we would never have come to the Netherlands, and I don’t know what would have happened to me if I had stayed in Suriname.”
You became disabled. What happened?
“It started with heart palpitations and panic attacks. I had no control over it. They were clear signs that I had to slow down, but I ignored them and kept going, even though I knew better. In 2010, I experienced burn-out, and I never fully recovered from that. At one point, my body just quit. I fainted in the street and could not get up. At that time, in 2016, I reported in sick. And I’ve been home ever since. I am physically exhausted. My battery is not empty; I need a whole new battery.”
When did you start receiving the WIA benefits?
“They went into effect after two years, in 2018. In 2020 I was declared fully disabled. Now I also get a portion of disability pension. I have always said I wanted to retire at age 50, but this is not exactly what I had in mind. I hoped I would have won the lottery by then or met a wealthy man. Not that I would be fully disabled.”
How much do you get every month?
“All together just over 2,000 EUR net.”
Is that enough?
“Just barely. I no longer always need more, bigger, nicer and better. I don’t compare myself to others; I live a good life and make do with what I have. I regret not taking out disability insurance sooner. I only did that when I was already unable to work. But you can’t insure a burning building, as the insurance agent said.”
How much are your regular expenses?
“All together about 750 EUR. Mortgage, VvE fees, energy, insurances, subscriptions; the standard things.”