Dirkjan started investing with Bondora out of curiosity, and to compare his returns to what he could get in the Netherlands. But now, Dirkjan’s curiosity has turned into filling up a nice piggy bank. Read more below!
Tell us about yourself
I started my own web design agency during my study Commercial Economics at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in 2002. I was very interested in everything that happened online and I loved exploring the opportunities the internet had to offer. In the first years of my company’s existence, I’ve realized tens of websites and online shops based on open source software such as osCommerce and Joomla!.
In 2007, several years after I’ve completed my study, I moved to Utrecht and so did my company. When I joined a Utrecht business incubator for a couple of years, I realized that I liked the conversations with entrepreneurs the most, while I also discovered that other companies were much better in making websites.
That’s when I started focusing on blogging. Nowadays I have a small team of people in Utrecht and together we run our own online publisher, Eurolutions.
What made you start investing with Bondora?
I stumbled upon Bondora while looking at news about p2p platforms, something I also do business-wise. One of the websites we own is Investeerders.nl (Investors). On this website we publish many articles about all the different investment possibilities. That’s how I met Bondora.
The first time I visited the platform, I was skeptic. It just looked too good to be true. I also prefer browsing a platform which I could pay a visit to or whose people I can meet. After all, it’s all about money and in that case, trust is very important. But after reading some experiences from others online, and after further analyzing the platform, I discovered Bondora is actually a very professional platform.
How do you like Bondora compared to local investment platforms?
Online experiences show that investors are very positive about Bondora. Because of that, I started looking further and also investigated the working method of the platform. Soon, I was positively surprised as well. The platform is user-friendly, all data is quite transparent and you can decide to what extent you want to be in control.
There is absolutely no shortage of opportunities in the Netherlands, because we have dozens of crowdfunding platforms over here. But the return Bondora has to offer is much better. Dutch platforms usually offer somewhere between 7 or 8 percent and rarely more than 10 percent. And after defaults and costs about half of it is for me. At Bondora I end up with much higher percentages. The interest and return that Bondora.com offers is really exceptional by Dutch standards.
Like I said, in the beginning I was very skeptical, which led to me extensively analyzing the loans. These days I spend less time on investments and I mainly invest in the longer term. The Go & Grow option, in which my money is invested automatically by Bondora at a previously discussed return, is therefore very appealing to me.
What were your goals when you started?
When I started, it was more out of curiosity, to compare Bondora with other, local platforms, than that I expected some serious returns. But my curiosity has changed into filling up a nice piggy bank. Every month I save up a few dozen euros at Bondora and even though it doesn’t seem much, the amount is now starting to rise.
The economy performed well the last two years and other platforms also performed better then the 5 percent I like to achieve. But at Bondora.com I’ve managed to achieve a return of over 20 percent during the last two years.
I’m investing more and more in the Go & Grow principle, which has an expected return of 6.75 percent. This means my return at Bondora will decrease, but it will still be more than a fifth higher than other loan platforms.
Do you recommend others to invest?
Yes, of course. Last year, I’ve redirected tens of investors to Bondora and about half of them is now actively investing at the platform. But I won’t recommend it to just everyone. Of course, the return on your bank savings is low, but investing is never without any risks. Investing money is something you should always do with money you can afford to lose.
How much that is, is different for everyone. If you’re saving for your old age, it might be smart to make some return on it. Even if it’s just to compensate for the inflation. But at what risk, that’s different per person. Personally, I wouldn’t take a loan for it for example.
I would first pay off any debts before starting with risky investments. And last but not least: you’re living now, so don’t skip that beautiful trip, house or even an nice evening out with friends for it.
Money you put in a p2p or business investment is always money you could lose. So you need to do it with money you really, really don’t need. It seems a bit conservative, but to be honest that’s how most Dutch people would look at it. Better safe than sorry.
But even then, in most situations you will have some spare money left at the end of the month, while many people don’t put this aside. I think this is also a matter of mentality and education. Many people barely realize that if you can really miss some of your money for a while, you can achieve a good return without having to do so much for it!
Any advise how to invest?
Don’t wait too long, just give it a try. You can build up a relatively strong portfolio with just a few hundred euros. Getting rich from investments, is not only betting on the right horse, most of the time it’s because these people have been successful for several years, and that’s something that needs time.
My second advise would be to start carefully and to expand your portfolio step by step. Don’t go for the highest return immediately but first, try out some projects with a relatively low risk score. You’ll learn a lot along the way, so take the time and spend an hour a week and invest a fixed amount once a month.
Don’t forget to spread your money over multiple projects. It seems obvious, but there are still many people who invest most of their money into one fund or investment. Personally, I would stay away from this, even though it sounds so good.
I would start with something close to home, but if you already own a house in the Netherlands and/or invest in Dutch shares on the stock exchange, a p2p investment in another European country, or even better something like the Go & Grow fund which let you spread your money automatically, seems like the ideal way to make your portfolio less dependent on just one economy or financial environment.