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 ‘later’ yourself or are you participating in a pension fund?
Soraya Koendjbiharie (34) spreads out her income over 18 pots, of which the pot ‘vacation’ is the most important one to her.
Soraya Koendjbiharie (34)
Profession: Coach and consultant
Weekly works: Between 32 and 42 hours
Income: 2700 euro per month
Savings: Has a buffer of 6 months in salary plus 18 savings funds
Pension is arranged? I am working on it
What do you do for a living?
“I started as an independent entrepreneur two years ago. I work as a change and communication consultant for the central government, as a personal branding coach and as a work-life balance coach.
What's that work-life balance like in your case? Because it sounds pretty busy.
“The balance is good 90 percent of the time, but there are some weeks in which I am a bit too busy. I will then consciously take a vacation and/or a break and make sure I have no or less work after that, instead of just continuing. I am very careful consuming my energy. It has become even more important to me to unplug sometimes since I became an entrepreneur. You have the freedom to take on everything you want, but that is a pitfall at the same time. That's the reason why I really plan my days off.”
How much do you earn?
“I always make sure I am able to pay myself a monthly salary of 2700 euro. That's an amount I can afford every month. I rather not share my revenue, which of course differs on a monthly basis, but that's usually well above my salary.”
Is it enough?
“Yes, I am very happy with it. I would not want to pay myself any more than that. More revenue is always nice, but not at the expense of my work-life balance. Especially in these difficult times, I am truly grateful that I earn the amount I earn. I only have little to wish for.”
How much do you pay on fixed costs?
“I purchased a home on my own back when I still was in paid employment. My mortgage payment amounts to 1200 euro. I reserve 120 euro per month for groceries and 80 euro per month for going out to dinner/drinks. I pay 110 euro per month on gas, water and electricity, 40 euro on insurances and 60 euro on internet. I pay my healthcare insurance annually because of the 2 percent discount that applies in that case. Oh, and the most important thing: I also reserve 500 euro per month for vacation.”
Wait a minute, 500 euro per month for vacation?
“Yes, I found out vacation is a priority to me. When I still worked for an employer as a department head digital communication and made 50 hours’ workweeks, I really needed vacations to be able to cope, regardless of how much I enjoyed my job. I noticed it contributed to my success. It is my way to stay productive and energetic. I always want to have the possibility to go on vacation and that's why I designed my salary as a vacation-first fund. I often go to Greece - no less than ten times per year at its height – and don't want to have to struggle if I feel like ordering an extra cocktail or go out for lunch in a fancy restaurant. Having enough money to be able to enjoy life, that's important to me.”
What else do you spend much money on?
“I love beautiful things and invest in a new piece of furniture once in a while. Other than that, I don't spend a lot of money. I kept track of all of my expenses in an Excel sheet for two years. That's how I discovered I made quite some impulse purchases in the drugstore and shops such as Action, and found I could do with a bit less. There didn't appear to be a need to cut down on other things, but I did start creating savings goals to handle my money way more consciously.”
Where do you save money on?
“In 2020 I didn't buy any clothes for a year. I had plenty of clothes, didn't go anywhere in that Corona year and wanted to live a bit more environmentally conscious. I was surprised to succeed so easily, because I love clothes and went shopping every month previously. I buy more consciously ever since that successful experiment. I also save on groceries: I buy these as much as possible with bonus discounts.”