When you’re young, your life is one big adventure. You study, you start working, you have your dreams and ambitions. You celebrate a life full of experiences ahead of you. Your retirement is still a long way off. So why worry about it now?
Thinking about your pension isn’t immediately at the forefront of your mind when you’re under 35. Many young workers hardly have any idea how much pension they can expect to receive later. Robin Slootman is an exception to that rule. He knows exactly how much money he has accumulated and would prefer to put in additional money. But for now, buying his own home is taking priority.
All in one fund
Robin is 35 years old. He has been working full-time since the age of 18 and is currently Head of SEO at YoungCapital. His pension, as with his previous employer, is through online pension administrator BeFrank. He has built his career as a self-taught man. ‘I educated myself, so to speak. When I started looking into SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professionally, there were no SEO programmes yet.’ His career has taken a gradual course. Like many of his contemporaries, he has held several jobs with multiple employers. ‘I started in an electronics shop. It didn’t have a webshop, which is where I came in. I took some courses online, dove into SEO and set up a webshop.’ He then moved on to a larger electronics shop and eventually ended up at a large meal delivery company. ‘That was my first encounter with BeFrank and also the first time I thought about retirement. The earlier you start, the more influence you have on the pension you get.’ He had already accrued a small pension at the retail shops. ‘I transferred that to BeFrank in order to have everything together in one pension fund. It was very easy, I didn’t have to do much for it.’
Interest in finance
‘Most people I know don’t really worry about retirement,’ he says. Part of the reason Robin is interested in his pension stems from his interest in finance, he says. ‘I just want to have my affairs in order and make the most of my pension. That’s why I regularly log into the BeFrank app to see what the score is. The nice thing is that you get questions about your risk profile, for example. You can choose from five profiles, from conservative to aggressive.’ At BeFrank, you can also choose the form of investment yourself, for example in terms of sustainability. ‘Personally, I mainly look at what will yield the highest returns. My perception of BeFrank is that it’s a hipper company than a standard pension fund. I think it’s a great link between YoungCapital and BeFrank. It’s relatively easy to understand your options at BeFrank. When you first start delving into your pension, it’s easy to understand at BeFrank. You can see what your expected pension is. It’s very clear. By and large, you understand that “if I change this, this can happen”.’
Many people feel a barrier to exploring their pension options, Robin suspects. ‘I think they’re not interested in it and they feel it’s far away. I think it would help to know how much they’ve accumulated in terms of funds. It would make them more aware of their pension.’ Because the money deposited at BeFrank is partly invested, the value of the accrued pension capital fluctuates. ‘When COVID started, I did wonder if I should change my risk profile. I chose not to do that. The amount returned to its previous level fairly quickly.’ He didn’t immediately panic about it. ‘It’s for the long term; it will be some time before I can retire. And I’m quite used to taking financial risks myself.’ He would like to make additional pension contributions, on top of the amount he contributes through his employer, Robin says. He has already looked into other options, but opted to buy a new house first. ‘After that, I can always see what I have left financially.’
This article appeared on 30 September in the special Personal Lifestyle distributed by the Telegraaf