Mariëlle has to repay housing allowance: ‘Why did I never get the subject ‘dealing with money’ at school? | Columns & Opinion

Or well, ‘should’… I’m still working on it. In the year and a half it went wrong, I worked as a freelancer and my monthly earnings varied quite a bit. Because I don’t understand much about the whole financial process myself and wasn’t waiting for an unpleasant surprise, I hired an accountant.

In vain, because last year there was a big bill on the mat. I nod in agreement and manage to squeeze out a smile. Yes, I learned from it. This won’t happen to me again. But this lesson is really sour.

Dock yourself

Safe to say that lately has not been the most fruitful, financially speaking. It started nice: I moved to a nice apartment and for the first time in my life I bought ‘large people’s household goods’. Not expensive, but also not a piece of junk like during my studies. Besides, I had saved up for this.

Then it went downhill. First the bumper of my car was driven off while it was neatly in a parking space. My insurance covers damage at the hands of others, so I thought I had the whole thing neatly boarded up. It was my first car insurance policy, little did I know that my entire plan would fall into the water with an ‘unknown counterparty’.

Whoever argued with my bumper didn’t leave a note. There were also no witnesses and there was a camera, but just not in the right place. shit. I decided to try it at the guarantee fund, but I couldn’t meet the ridiculous demands made there either. So dock yourself.

Expensive joke

Then those two cozy letters from the IRS landed on the mat and a few months ago it happened again – I’m starting to think my car has a curse on it. It had been raining heavily and I was driving through a slight bend on a two-lane highway. The car in front of me in the left lane, me on the right.

When the driver in the car in front of me steered into the right lane, I stepped on my brake lightly, because I didn’t want to sit too close to it because of the weather. Bad decision, because suddenly it felt like I was driving on ice and I spun into the guardrail at eighty kilometers per hour.

The moment I hit it, I honestly didn’t even think about my safety. The first thing that popped into my head was, ‘Oh no, oh god… how much is this going to cost?’ As I assessed the damage seconds later with trembling hands, I soon realized that this was going to be an expensive joke.

Hard work

I recently read an article about a study that showed that 40% of Dutch young people – am I still one of them? – regularly fail to make ends meet and that 31% only manage with difficulty.

Then I did what you should never do: I looked at the comments. There were a lot. With the exception of a few positives, it was mostly much of the same. ‘Shouldn’t they live so luxuriously’, ‘They’re just spoiled’ and my personal favorite: ‘We used to work hard. Today’s youth don’t know what that is’.

When I look around me, I see everyone working really hard. So hard, in fact, that there is hardly time for other things. Not surprising, because you can hardly escape it.

money matters

Renting – especially if you do not qualify for social rent – is very expensive and buying is not possible in many cases. Especially not if you’re single. Gas, water and light are not getting cheaper, insurance has to be paid and unfortunately shopping and sports are not free either. And it doesn’t have to be every year, but every now and then you also want to take a break.

In addition, money-related matters are not made very simple. You have to go to another site or agency for everything and if you do something wrong, you will have a big fine before you know it.

Extra subject

So to come back to my course. Yes, I learned from it. But why don’t we make sure we learn these things sooner? In fact, there should be an extra subject in secondary school.

That, in addition to geography, art and French lessons, ‘things that do help you’ are on the schedule. Then we can discuss, among other things, how a tax return works, what you should pay attention to when taking out insurance and what the exact situation is with surcharges.

Because quite honestly… a lesson in ‘real life’ is probably more useful than a weeklong program on how to order a baguette at a French campsite.

Source: De Telegraaf by

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