A lovely adventurous life, that’s what Claudio wanted. He invested all his savings and… lost everything. In this series on talking about money that we’re doing with Rabobank, he says: “It might not sound sexy, but talking about money is the secret weapon to being financially strong.”
Do you have a conversation with your friends, family or colleagues about your financial situation? Many people find it difficult. Claudio (28) no more. He even discusses his money issues and concerns with his employer.
“Many people have stress because of money worries, so it’s nice if you can be open about it at work. For me, that support means that I know there are people I can fall back on. My employer sees my potential and wants to nurture it, of course this is only possible if you feel good as an employee. The support I get makes me super motivated to do my best.”
Claudio also talks openly about his financial situation with his family, friends and partner, but it hasn’t always been that way. “In the past, people talked about a lack of money, savings, about being careful about spending money. The topic was always difficult to discuss and heavy.”
When he moved from his native Curaçao to the Netherlands at the age of eighteen to study, it took some time before he spent a little more money than he was used to, for example on clothes and parties. “I always made sure I had something on hand.”
Still, he felt the need for more adventure. “I felt strongly that I wanted to break out of the pattern of a permanent job and spend money carefully. So I invested everything in personal training courses, an entrepreneurial coach and running my own gym.” He also took out loans for this.
Claudio had more work than time. “I thought: as long as enough comes in, everything will be fine. But when I look back at that period, I see that I totally had no control over my financial situation.” In the end, the corona pandemic was the final blow. “All my money was in the business and all expenses continued, but I had no more income. The stress that resulted was not good for my health.”
He then realized that he desperately needed to change his “unhealthy relationship with money”. “I was so afraid of debt or not having enough money that I stopped looking at how things responded. Now I know I have a lot of people. Then you need someone to encourage you to see that fear in the eyes.”
Claudio eventually chose a permanent job and volunteered to go into debt counseling. “I had already paid off a lot of debt, but not everything. Asking for help was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life.”
The more he talks about his money worries, the less exciting it becomes. “It might not sound sexy, but talking about money is the secret weapon if you want to be financially strong. It makes me better stick to the steps I take to be financially healthy and less strict to myself.”
Claudio was afraid that people would judge him. “But I just got sympathy. At first I felt guilty towards my partner because my financial situation was putting stress on our relationship and affecting our future together. But my partner is grateful that we can do this together.”
He now has a ‘better relationship with money’. “I keep track of everything, set aside a fixed amount each month to pay off my debt and I buy more consciously, for example often used. I more easily share my concerns with my friends and family, as well as my insights. My mother just needed a new sofa and I immediately tipped her off to Marktplaats!”
Claudio is sharing his story because he hopes it will encourage people who are not in control of their finances to start the conversation and ask for help if needed. Also Rabobank considers it important to be open about money matters to the people around you, because it gives you the opportunity to learn from each other and helps to break the taboo. Especially now, at a time when almost all Dutch people are feeling inflation and rising energy costs in their wallets and money worries are rising, this is an urgent need. Having a hard time starting a conversation or don’t know how to start? Read the tips on rabobank.nl. Talking about money gives you more peace of mind and insight. That’s it a first step towards a financially healthier life.