“Golden Handshake”

Right now, in the midst of the financial crisis, many companies will need to let go of (some) of their staff members. Should you lose your job in The Netherlands, you could be entitled to financial compensation from your employer. In The Netherlands this is often referred to as a “Golden Handshake”.  You will only be entitled to compensation if the departure from the company is a forced one. (So not if you give notice yourself). In the case of a forced departure,  it is often possible to reach agreement between the employer and his employee regarding the amount of the financial compensation. Legal advice is usually sought. However, if you cannot reach agreement on the terms of the departure, the court will have to decide.

The “Golden Handshake” can be applicable in case of a forced resignation for causes that cannot be blamed on the staff member. However, if the reason for the (collective) resignation is the poor financial situation of the company, the chances for financial compensation will decrease considerably. Obviously, the employer will have to proof  to the authorities that the company is not in good financial shape. Continue reading “Golden Handshake”

Getting divorced in the Netherlands

The globalisation of our world makes international relationships easier. This leads to more international marriages, which in turn leads to divorces with international aspects. These international aspects often take the divorcing parties by surprise.

When people go through the difficult time of a divorce they normally would prefer to arrange the divorce in their home country, where they are familiar with the laws. In an international marriage that is not always possible. An example. A French woman is married to a German man, they live in the Netherlands. Both parties want to arrange the consequences of the divorce in their own country. This is not possible. Based on the European Guideline which gives the rules on which Court is competent, the divorce had to be handled by the Dutch Courts. The Dutch Courts then decide on the law which will be applied to the divorce. So the first step to take in case of a pending divorce is to find a divorce lawyer or mediator. Continue reading Getting divorced in the Netherlands

Can I buy a house? Yes you can!

John and Sylvia arrived in The Netherlands in August of last year. At first they couldn’t make up their minds as to whether or not they wanted to buy or rent a home. Since they also had not really decided where exactly they wanted to live, the real-estate agent suggested to them they rent for at least 6 months. Which is exactly what they did. But after having spent six months in someone else’s home, helping pay off someone else’s mortgage, they decided to start looking for a house to call their own.

Very sensibly they decided to consult a mortgage advisor who could calculate for them how much they could spend on a house. They started out by visiting their bank, which turned out to be a disappointing experience. Since John’s contract of employment was at that moment for one year only, the bank was not yet ready to lend them any money. Continue reading Can I buy a house? Yes you can!

To borrow or to save…

Suppose you want a new (or nearly new) car. Or you wish to renovate your kitchen. For this a fair amount of money is required. If you do not have any money in your savings account, you have two options: either you save until you do or you borrow money. Continue reading To borrow or to save…

After the bidding comes the buying …. And what to look out for in a Purchase Agreement

On a sunny day (quite rainy whilst this is being written), after having visited several houses or apartments, with our without your own real estate agent, you have found exactly what you were looking for! Your dream house. Then what? Well, then the bidding process starts. Either you are being represented by your own real estate agent or you take the plunge and decide to do it yourself. Either way, a bid is being made.

Once the seller and you have reached a verbal agreement about the most important aspects of the purchase such as the purchase price, date of delivery and special conditions such as the financial one, you have bought yourself a house. The next step is that the seller’s estate agent will record these conditions in a purchase deed. Big exception is Amsterdam. In our capital, purchase deeds are drawn up by a civil law notary. Usually this is done in the presence of the seller, the buyer and their respective real-estate Continue reading After the bidding comes the buying …. And what to look out for in a Purchase Agreement

The Integrity of the financial adviser…

Which adviser is the best one when you are in  need of a financial product? This question is not  easy to answer. The “best adviser” does not exist,  in the sense that your personal situation is the  determining factor in answering this question.  It is important that you like each other of course  but also that you can trust your adviser to  determine if she or he is the best adviser for you.  Objectively speaking it is important that your  adviser acts with integrity. The Dutch Financial  Services Act has determined some criteria that  your adviser has to meet. The AFM (Authority  Financial Markets) actively monitors the advisors  on these criteria. Continue reading The Integrity of the financial adviser…

Are banks still lending money for mortgages…

Is the most frequently asked question at the moment. Many people are under the impression that banks hardly lend out any money for mortgages. Fortunately, this is not the case. Admittedly it is more difficult for business owners to borrow money for their businesses, but if you need a mortgage for your private home, this is still possible.

What has become different this year is that banks lend out a lower amount and the maximum amount they lend out is basically the same for all banks. And so it should be. The reason is that banks have to follow the “CHF” standard. CHF is a body in which banks, insurance companies and pension funds have agreed a code of conduct. Part of this code is a standard that banks have to adhere to when calculating how much a consumer may borrow to purchase a house. These standards have been introduced to make sure that people borrow money in a responsible manner. This means that people may borrow somewhere between 3,7 (for the lower incomes) to 5,7 (higher incomes) times their annual income for a mortgage. In certain cases a bank may deviate from this standard. Therefore it is always a good idea to consult your financial advisor about your personal situation and possibilities.

Continue reading Are banks still lending money for mortgages…