Picture this situation: You’ve spent most of your life working hard, putting large chunks of your money into buying a house for yourself and your family. Finally, you own the house. However, since you recently retired, your active income shrank to a fraction.
Despite all the value you’re (literally) sitting on, you’re forced to live… modestly.
For many people in the Netherlands, this scenario hits home.
Frank de Peijper and his teamour Creative Dock Netherlands think tankset out to solve this problem. In the interview, Frank will reveal the project’s core idea, share with us the guiding principle, and teach what preparing for a marathon taught him about life.
FRANK, CAN YOU PITCH US THE PROJECT IN SHORT?
Sure. Our primary vision is to help elderly lead a better life for themselvesone they feel compelled to live. We do this by allowing them to release equity from their paidoff houses. This way, seniors get to keep ownership of their houses, while, at the same time, enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle of their own design.
WHAT’S THE EXACT PROBLEM YOU ARE SOLVING WITH THIS?
In the Netherlands, we have a saying: “a person is rich in stone, but poor in cash.” This simply means that lots of Dutch seniors own valuable property, but live on small pensions. Those people are facing a real problem because they can’t make ends meet or enjoy the lifestyle they are used to do.
A new law dictates that mortgages are measured by a person’s income, not their net worth. So house owners without an active income can’t get a mortgage anymore, even though they are good for it. This is where we come in. We want to give people an honest, simple, trustworthy solution that lets them release equity from their house.
SO HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO BUILD TRUST AND KEEP IT SIMPLE?
Well, we operate based on one simple question: would I feel good recommending my own mother a product like this? Recently, there are plenty of dubious offers in the market. For instance, seniors can sell their house and rent it back. This frees up cash, but has a large downside: the house is gone! Other solutions have interminable terms and conditions, and when reading them, my toes curl up in some sentences.
We don’t want any of that…
Since we all have mothers and fathers who get older, we want a true and honest product.
We offer one simple, transparent and easytograsp solution. Let’s say you get 400 Euro per month. You pay 3,5% interest. The interest, however, will come on top off your loan. The loan is settled when you sell the house or pass away.
The money that hasn’t been released goes to the heirs, as it should!
That’s all the logic there is.
AND HOW IS THE RESPONSE FROM THE MARKET THUS FAR?
We talked to a lot of real people out there. So far, 95% of the elderly population we talked to love the idea, either for themselves or for their friends and family. We based our product’s core features and insides on the emotions of the people we talked to. If they looked shocked, we killed the idea and got thinking about how to solve it. If they opened up and smiled, we had something to go with.
IN A COMPLEX PROJECT LIKE THIS, HOW DO YOU KEEP AN EYE ON THE BIG PICTURE?
We always keep the customer in mind. If we get stuck, we visualize the people that we are doing this for. Would they like it? Would my mom like it? Is it simple enough? If we can’t explain the idea in a straightforward manner anymore, it has to go. What helps is to always bring ideas back to the team and prioritize based on our cohearted intuition.
AND HOW DO YOU EXECUTE AND MOVE FORWARD?
Like running a marathon, one step at a time. Recently, I picked up the addiction of running, It taught me a lot about life and work, though I mostly use it to relax and unwind. No matter what you want to do, you have to take it step by step… and the entire journey is in every step you take along the way.
LAST QUESTION, FRANK! THE PROJECT IN ONE SENTENCE?
A great way to be of service and contribution to people who deserve a better life.
THANKS, FRANK! BEST OF LUCK WITH THE PROJECT!
If you want to learn more about the project, visit https://pensioenuitjehuis.nl. The website is only in Dutch for now, but Google Translate will help you to get a basic understanding. Next week, we will introduce a new project from our Creative Dock headquarter. All we will say for now is that it might be the last time you ever think about your energy provider.