1. When did you really learn money management?
When I was 16 I dreamed of being a DJ. You need a lot of money to invest in records, amplifier and audio system. I signed up with my friends and we borrowed 500 euros from our parents. My parents had two conditions: I had to pay the money back in two years and I had to stay focused on my studies. Obviously I didn’t become David Guetta. But I paid off my loan in less than two years.
I am willing to earn less if my business makes more sense.
2. What is the best financial decision for you?
Start university studies. Poverty figures in Belgium prove that with a higher education diploma you have little chance of ending up in poverty. My testimony was a passport to freedom. I do not dream of being very rich, I strive to have enough money so that my freedom is not restricted. If I feel like going to a cafe or restaurant, I want to be able to do it.
3. What is your worst financial decision?
After my studies in the United States, I returned to Brussels with my wife. We thought for a while because we wanted to go abroad. We ended up living in Brussels for seven years in an expensive apartment. If I had known, I would have bought a small apartment there.
4. Did you give up financially when you switched from consulting to politics?
I returned to Charleroi from London to work with Paul Magnet. I had to forgo a lot of wages then. However I never doubted. Maybe this is my generation, but I want to have an impact on what I do. I am willing to earn less if my business makes more sense.
5. Do you invest?
I have never bought individual stocks. If I could put some savings aside, I would invest them in some broad thematic funds that closely align with my personal values. These are funds that invest in sustainable energy or the water sector, for example.
6. What is your biggest annoyance about finances?
“You still can’t pay with Bancontact in some cafes and restaurants. I never carry cash, that’s a thing from time to time. I usually pay using the payment app on my smartphone: very easy.”
7. What was your last big purchase?
“I recently bought a mountain bike for my 35th birthday. The model is still not very expensive, but it was already quite a cost. I haven’t enjoyed much with it yet: Like anyone who buys a bike now, I have to wait a very long time for delivery. I won’t be able to From receiving it until summer 2022. Then I’ll be bigger another year.
8. What expenses do you have a weakness in?
At home my wife does the shopping. I have no passion for shopping. That’s why I always buy the same clothes: a white shirt with blue pants. You don’t need anything else. If I had time, I would rather spend it with my daughter than in the store.
9. Are you already educating your children financially?
My eldest daughter is four years old. That’s too small to really talk about money. I make sure we don’t spoil them too much with gifts that are too big. Children are often happy with the little things.
10. What is your greatest luxury?
‘time. I’m trying to be a modern dad who is really there for his kids. That’s why I’m so disciplined in managing my agenda. However, there is still a constant struggle to maintain balance.