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Getting rid of that anchor

1 September 2016

Finally, the milestone that I've been looking forward to for so many years; I paid off my study loan completely! In my search for the freedom of flight, I was given shackles that bound me with hand and feet to the bank. Not just the monthly payoff of the loan was considerable, but the questionable and, in my eyes, criminal interest rates over that loan made it nearly impossible to pay off anything at all in the first years of my career. All in all, I think I should consider myself a shareholder of the ABN-AMRO bank, considering how much interest I paid them all these years...

When I started flying the Fokker 50, now 12,5 years ago, nearly 60% of my net income (after taxes) went straight to the bank, leaving me with an income that would be considered far below minimum in most European countries. But at least I was making some flight hours and knew that in the long-term, my career would lead me to an airline where my salary would be sufficient to at least do some groceries at the end of the month. 

But many were not so lucky. The many fresh students that did not find a job were still facing an increasingly aggressive bank that did not shy away from intimidation and downright threats if they did not pay the interest and loan itself. 
The dream of becoming a pilot turns into a hellish nightmare for many young aviators and their parents. I've seen too much horrible drama around me to consider myself extremely privileged that I found a job relatively quickly after my flight training.

Seeing how banks were intimidating and treating many of my not-so-lucky classmates, I decided that I wanted to pay off my loan as soon as possible and never be dependent on any bank again. The last five years with Cargolux I've been able to save a lot of money nearly every month, shortening the payoff period to 12,5 years instead of the 25 years that the bank insisted on for so long. 

The first day of the rest of my life.

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