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 consciously planning your financial future? And are you going to take care of the future yourself or are you part of a pension fund?
Elisabeth van der Meer has just retired. But not completely: “I enjoy my work and I want others to be able to benefit from my experience.”
Elisabeth van der Meer (66)
Profession: was an entrepreneur, is now retired, but still working as a coach and trainer
Works: about 25 hours a week
Income: 10,000 Euros net per year, plus Old Age Security and pension around 2500 net per month.
Pension set up? Yes
You recently retired. Is it time to relax now?
“Not really; I didn’t stop working completely. I have changed my work into something I can organize the way I like it. I want to keep working, because I enjoy it, but also so that I can let others benefit from my experience. I’m a tax economist by trade. Now I am training and coaching people and giving workshops about mindset. I talk to them about money and better ways for them to think about it.”
What kinds of things do you tell them?
“I recently taught a course/workshop on women and money. I have noticed that women are still not sufficiently aware that they need to take care of themselves. They leave too much to their partners. But they should be informed themselves. From a social commitment standpoint, I think people, especially women, need to be more aware of the need for financial independence. If you are a woman who chooses to stay home with the children for a certain period of time, make sure that enough money is transferred to you during that time so that you can build up a pot of your own. Women, in general, should take better care of their finances. When my husband passed away, I had grief, but not misery. I’ve seen plenty of women around me who didn't have time to grieve and had to move in a hurry and were condemned to welfare. The safety nets for widowers and widows are very small, and unexpected deaths still occur. From both sides, it’s good to reflect on what happens when one person is gone, and the other one is left to face everything alone.”
How much are you still earning through your work?
“Around 10,000 Euros net per year. I invest a lot of that into the company. I don’t withdraw everything I earn from my business account.”
What kind of work did you used to do?
“I have always enjoyed being an entrepreneur. Apart from a few vacation jobs, I have never worked for a boss. My husband and I owned a motorcycle store together for 25 years, selling motorcycles and clothing and doing repairs. He was 23 years older than me, and we sold the business when he retired. My husband was 68, I was 45. We wanted to see how far we would get if we retired together. But after a few years, I started to feel restless, and I set up my own business. After he passed away, nine years ago, I expanded that a bit. I had to do some upgrading. Almost everyone I encounter in my work is younger than me, including the people who seek my advice.”