10 money questions to Luc Appermont: ‘We have done well’

1 Do you spend a lot of time on money matters?

‘I won’t be hypocritical: Bart and I have done well and financially realized what we wanted to achieve. Yet I have never really cared much about our finances. We have surrounded ourselves with a few confidential advisers and advisers, so that every major financial decision is checked with at least three people. But to be honest: when we meet with our accountant, I especially hope that we will be through all the paperwork as soon as possible so that we can have dinner.’ (laughs)

2 Who gave you your best financial advice?

‘My father, although as a CPAS employee he was not at home in the business environment either. He urged me to buy real estate as soon as possible at the start of my career. With my first savings I bought a property in Bilzen with a very heavy loan. It paid off well: from day one I rented it out to public services for years. I myself only entered it for the first time after forty years, when the lease had ended.’

3 What do you invest in?

‘About two-thirds of our assets is in real estate, the rest is in an equity and bond portfolio. The management is outsourced and we receive a report every year. Soon we will have a meeting with the adviser about this, the first since the war in Ukraine started. I have little illusions. At the same time, I realize that we have to sweat out the crisis and that there is no point in panicking.’

4 When do you want to stop working?

“There’s no age limit on a craft that’s based on creativity and entertainment. Bart and I have agreed that we will tell each other immediately if we notice that what we are doing is no longer acceptable to an audience. Until then we will continue. Not because we need it financially, but mainly because we like to do it.’

5 How much is your pension benefit?

We still dream of an apartment in Paris.

‘With my mixed career I now have a pension of about 1,500 euros. That is not in proportion to what I have paid all those years, as a self-employed person and as an employee. That is why we have worked so hard to be financially independent. That is mainly due to Bart, who has much more of the self-employed mentality that I lack.’

6 What do you like to spend money on?

‘We like to eat out. In an ordinary restaurant around the corner or in a star restaurant, although the latter remains something for special occasions. The weekly shopping also takes a big bite out of the budget. Bart is an excellent cook, who buys the best ingredients in specialized stores. That adds up quickly.’

7 How do you feel about inflation?

‘The rising electricity and water bill is still cutting in. I’m quite frugal in that respect, while Bart is a bit more casual. Behind his back I often have to turn off the lights, close the doors or turn off the taps.’

8 What is the greatest luxury for you?

‘That I don’t have to. I’ve always been my own boss and I’ve always kept my freedom.’

9 Have you thought about your succession planning?

‘We really put a lot of effort into that five years ago. That was certainly necessary because we don’t have children. The power of attorney is also in order. We have already seen too much misery among friends and acquaintances, because the deceased had not arranged anything.’

10 What would you buy if money were no object?

‘An apartment in Paris. At the start of his career, Bart was completely captivated by the French capital. We once saw a beautiful penthouse for sale on the Champs-Élysées. That cost 20 million Belgian francs, which of course we didn’t have. We even considered taking out a loan for this. In the end we didn’t. For that money we could spend our whole lives in the best hotels when we were in Paris. Yet it has always remained a dream to own a property there.’

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