It really affects me that so many young people are running into financial difficulties

14 April 2022

"It really affects me that so many young people are running into financial difficulties. One in five young people between the ages of 18 and 26 are unable to pay their bills on time. This causes unrest and stress, and if they aren’t careful it could end up haunting them for years; a bad start to adult life. One that can be prevented and we at ABN AMRO are fully committed to doing just that by developing propositions that help young people become and remain financially independent."

Babet Boswinkel is Proposition Marketer at ABN AMRO. A Proposition Marketer looks at the needs of customers and translate them into new propositions (such as new products and services). "I do this by having a lot of conversations with young people but also with the parents. And by being well informed about other parties that play an important role when it comes to finances, such as DUO and Nibud. I specialise in the young people, students and young adults client groups. This is a target group that is close to my heart and whom I try to provide with a strong foundation of financial independence, because that's something you create when you're young. A common thread in their stories is that they don’t have insight into and control over their money. It's of course different for each category. For example, children have difficulty in assessing the value of money. They think that a debit card gives access to an unlimited amount of money and have no idea what they are spending it on. We have developed various tools and aids for children and their parents, such as the snack quiz, which helps them to keep track of their expenses. This is how they find out what it costs on a monthly basis if they buy a croissant every day. It is very important that they realise at a young age that, if you have limited resources, you have to make choices and learn to foresee the consequences.”

Debt shame

"For many, reaching the age of 18 comes as a financial shock. By law, you are then an adult and have to deal with matters such as health care costs, school or college fees, student grants, applying for benefits and filing tax returns. Problems often start small: People postpone the payment of their mobile phone subscription for a month, stop paying their health insurance premiums because they are never sick or stop paying for their gym subscription. Nothing major, but in practice it all accumulates and you slowly sink deeper into the financial swamp. We also see that young people hide debts and don't ask for help. It is not a topic of discussion with parents, friends or authorities out of a kind of shame (because as young adults they should be able to stand on their own two feet). We are trying to break that cycle by, for example, making a Budget Coach available, whether you are an ABN AMRO customer or not."

Equal opportunities

"In today's digital world, money has become less tangible. A physically empty wallet is no longer a signal that money has run out. A piggy bank can no longer be filled with pocket or birthday money, because it's increasingly done online. This also makes it harder to have a handle on money. We now offer a host of tools to help them, whether they're a child or a young adult. The next step will be to give the ABN AMRO app its own look and feel for different age groups, which will help them to become financially self-sufficient and independent step by step. This is very important, as I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of their background. Surveys of parents show that they would like a bank to help teach their child the value of money and money management in a digital world. In this way, we give everyone the opportunity of a healthy financial start in life."


Babet started her career at ABN AMRO as a Customer Advisor for business clients. “I loved helping business owners develop their company. However, you were only helping one customer at a time, whereas I would have preferred to solve the problem for a larger target group. ABN AMRO gave me a great opportunity, a smart job where you can gain experience in a different role alongside your current job. Both myself and the bank thought this such a success that I switched to marketing five years ago. This is where ABN AMRO gives me the opportunity to make a difference for young people. I think it is great that, as a bank, we recognise the debt issues among young people and that we also want to make an effort to tackle them. I'm really very grateful for that.”

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