Dutch people are struggling with regular payments, high prices, stagnating income

Making payment arrangements or borrowing from family: people take advantage of everything to make ends meet. No less than 42 percent of the Dutch had one or more payment problems in the past year, according to research by budget adviser Nibud. “The Dutch are burdened by high fixed costs and rising expenses,” says Nibud director Arjan Vliegenthart.

Three payment problems played the most in the past year, according to the Getting By and payment problems report that the Nibud presents on Saturday. It is then about no longer being able to pin, receiving payment reminders and refusing a direct debit.

The health care premium is most often paid too late. This is followed by the energy bill, the costs for water use and the rent or mortgage.

To solve these problems, many people empty their savings account (30 percent), borrow money from family or friends (20 percent), or make a payment arrangement (20 percent). It also appears that 10 percent of households have requested an advance on the salary from the employer. Four years ago, only 4 percent did. The Nibud urges to be careful with loans from acquaintances.

It is striking that many young adults up to the age of 35 suffer from payment problems. As many as 49 percent of them have difficulty making ends meet. Never before has this group stood out like this, reports the Nibud.

According to the budget officer, this group often suffers from high fixed costs. The Nibud also signals a growth in the number of households with higher incomes who are struggling to make ends meet. Vliegenthart: “we see that inflation is really starting to take its toll. Much attention is paid to the very lowest income groups – and that is good and necessary – but we must not forget the incomes above them.”

The director sees that this group is struggling with very high fixed costs. “If more than half of your income goes to the fixed expenses and on top of that you have the rising costs of the groceries, then you also get stuck, even if you have a good income.”

These households with payment problems need help, says Vliegenthart. “But not everyone is waiting for that. People often want to figure things out on their own.”The Nibud has therefore created a free online course in which, among other things, it is reported that some problems are too big to solve on their own.

The author: Michel DEURINCK

Michel Deurinck, born in Brussels in 1950, started his career in the Belgian civil service, dedicating over 30 years to public service. Upon retirement, he pursued his passion for journalism. Transitioning into this new field, he quickly gained recognition for his insightful reporting on politics and culture. Deurinck's balanced and thoughtful approach to journalism has made him a respected figure in Belgian media.

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