Alexandra Bonninga

From the risks of becoming a money mule to the revenue model of influencers

Alexandra Bonninga has been a guest teacher at her local primary school in the Netherlands during National Money Week for the past ten years. As part of the ‘Bank in the Classroom’ project, she helps children to develop a safe and sensible relationship with money.

“I give my guest lessons at the primary school my own children used to attend. I knew I wanted to be part of this educational project as soon as I first heard that they were looking for volunteers, years ago. I love working with children, plus the subject is closely aligned with my day job, of course.”

Whereas it used to be about cash, it’s now about cybercrime

Alexandra has just finished a series of nine guest lessons for children in the final three years of primary school. “I think it’s important that children learn the value of money and also develop a sensible relationship with it at a young age. That’s the start of being – and staying – financially fit. Whereas we used to talk a lot about cash ten years ago, nowadays we discuss things like online banking, cybercrime, money mules, and why you should think twice about clicking on links in web shops...”

Interactive quiz

“The children in ‘my’ lessons already know quite a lot about money. Many of them – and especially those in their final year – have a bank account of their own for their pocket money and they also know their way around banking apps. Based on a fun, interactive quiz supported by videos, we discuss a broad range of money-related topics. These range from payments and savings to part-time jobs, and from how influencers actually make money to what you would do if someone offers to pay you 50 euros to ‘borrow’ your debit card and PIN code for a while.”

A small price to pay for big rewards

“The project website provides all the information for the lessons, and needless to say I also get plenty of additional content from my day-to-day work. I spend a couple of hours on preparation, together with a colleague – usually an intern from the ING House. The total time investment – including the lessons – amounts to about 12 hours. It’s a small price to pay for big rewards, including the enthusiastic reactions from the children and transferring important knowledge. I also learn something from it myself and, above all, I really enjoy it.”

Alexandra is a financial coach at the ING House in Groningen and has been working at ING since 2005. She lives together with her partner and their dog and has three grown-up children. She participates in all kinds of sports, including running, going to the gym, cycling, and playing padel and squash.
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