Anke Wijbenga did not recognise herself in the working methods of large commercial organisations, where she worked as a debt relief worker. "When, as a company, you don't see the person behind the client, you miss the mark as a social worker," she says. Anke assesses her clients on the person and not the problem. That's why she started freelancing in 2016 under the name Unyk Financial Management.
As a trustee, Anke is looking to work together with her clients, with the end goal being that her clients can manage their finances independently again if possible. Anke assesses the client on the basis of the person and not the problem: "You are dealing with one of the first necessities of life of a human being, that is not just anything! The importance of then seeing precisely the person behind the problem makes my working method unique." Anke also works a lot with about three other administrators, in the same way. They work together under the name 'it Bewindhus.
Getting into money problems can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, these days we see many cases of people with burnout, who then find themselves in financial trouble. Contracts are not renewed and new opportunities always require explanations about the gap on a CV. These are distressing cases of people who are also often ashamed of the situation. The very importance of seeing the person behind the problem then makes Anke's working method unique. "Thus, I first visit to get to know the person, only then do we look at the problem and the eventual solution." In addition, Anke supports clients who cannot manage their finances independently (any longer) due to failing health. This may be due to mental and possibly physical disabilities or, for example, an illness such as dementia.
Every day, she works with people who do not seek help with money problems out of shame or pride. But with outside help, you actually get a grip on the situation, because help often looks beyond the problem the client is currently in. "Because we naturally have a lot of experience in different situations, the problems are broadly the same. This ultimately makes any situation solvable."
Unyk values a home visit, being able to talk one-to-one with the client is precisely what makes Unyk unique. "This naturally fell away overnight, so we had to switch to video calls. You notice that this still gives a little less confidence than when you can reassure someone about the situation in person. I would like to go back to home visits, some of the people you just don't reach this way."
Now that home visits cannot be scheduled either, almost everything goes over the phone. "This definitely makes working from home with a five-year-old a challenge haha." Together with three other freelancers (from the same industry), Anke shares her office space and works together on many fronts.
"Because we see each other less 'standard' now, you notice that we are on the phone a lot more. That is precisely when forwarding your landline number is such a godsend, because you are no longer tied to an office. I started Rinkel because I find a landline number more professional than an 06 number. Besides, it looks more reliable."
As a secondary task and also a possible preventive measure, Anke wants to focus more on the business market from spring 2021, starting with the core: organising. "Unfortunately, you often see people getting into trouble because of their work (not having their work in order, or because of work pressure) and therefore struggling financially." By starting precisely at the origin, major problems can be avoided, which will benefit both the employer and the employee.
Raise the alarm in good time. Ask for help when you can no longer see it yourself and don't let it get too far. Of course, we always want to try to put things back in order on our own, but sometimes it happens to you and then it is okay to ask for help. Similarly, if, as an entrepreneur, you employ employees who you know are having financial problems (e.g. due to a bailiff seizing his/her salary), have a conversation with your employee. Together with your employee, engage help for your employee so that it can be a win-win situation for both.
We spoke to: Anke Wijbenga of Unyk Financial Management