“In 2019 I made the decision and took early retirement in March 2020”

Cees Bolhuis

"I want the freedom to do the things I want to do"

Although Cees Bolhuis (66) has always enjoyed working, he took early retirement and now finds freedom beckons at him each day.

"I have spent my entire working life in ICT. As a contractor in the financial sector, I have seen just about every bank in the Netherlands. Usually I moved to a different employer every few years, until by chance I was  seconded to Shell Asset Management Company in 2008.

At the end of the day asset management is a specialised field, where you are ensconced in a small organisation within a larger company and have a lot of interaction with colleagues. So when I was offered a permanent contract in 2014, I wholeheartedly said yes. But only on the condition that I could take early retirement. Not because I hated my job, but because I wanted the freedom to do whatever I choose to do and go on beautiful trips before I deteriorate physically.

“The most important thing is to make a financial planning of your expenses"

I was well informed in advance. The banks also gave me the advice I needed. The main thing is to make a financial planning for your expenses; what do you need, what do you think you are going to spend. And then look at the benefits that are coming in. If you want to retire early, you do not receive your old-age pension (AOW) straight away You then need other reserves to make up for that.

I also consciously chose the Collective Variable Pension (CVP), where part of my pension is still being invested. Interest rates were low and it looked like they were going to stay that way for a while longer. My pension could go up, but it could also go down as well. Still, this felt better for me than the low actuarial interest rates that pension funds are using for a fixed pension.

In 2019, I took the plunge and settled for early retirement in March 2020, three years before my official retirement date. Just when I thought the world was waiting for me, Covid-19 brought things to a standstill. My trip to Vietnam was cancelled and I also my Patagonia trip fell through. I did, however, take on the care of my father, who was becoming less and less independent. Needless to say, he was also there for me when I was a child. Those trips, they will come for sure. That's postponement, not cancellation."