Self-employed child and family photographer Vanessa Bachmann not only knows how to deal with children in front of her camera. Also at home she copes with three children between the ages of three and seven with devotion, patience and mainly alone – the mother and father of Matilda, Emely and Marlon live separately.
One could say that the work-life model resulting from the separation from her partner is just as creative as the photographer Vanessa Bachmann herself. In order to reconcile family and job as a mostly single mother of three, this self-employed woman has decided to work exclusively on weekends for the time being: on Friday afternoons, when the offspring are in after-school care, and on Saturdays and Sundays, when they are looked after by their father. For the rest of the week, this mother is fully there for Matilda, Emely and Marlon.
Vanessa Bachmann pays a high price for this family model: Not only her own leisure time, but also the protection against risks and old-age provision must take a back seat. Because the money she can earn in three days just covers the basic costs of the family of four. But the photographer is happy to pay this price: The alternative – to miss out on her own children growing up while she is mainly occupied with earning the costs for outside care – would in her eyes be a much higher price.
We visited Vanessa Bachmann at home and in her studio in Zurich to find out more about this unusual way of life.
Vanessa Bachmann works as a self-employed photographer. In her photographer's studio lilalou.ch she takes portraits of babies, children and entire families, and in her own name she takes photographs for magazine articles in particular as well as for other clients. The photographer does the photo shoots and processes the photos exclusively on weekends so that she can look after her three children on weekdays and work in a permanent job in the retail trade one day a week. Her job is in a Zurich children's concept store and gives the self-employed triple mom a minimum of financial security.
Even if she were to work full-time, Vanessa Bachmann could hardly afford to pay for the outside care of her three children. She manages to reconcile family and job by taking care of the children herself on four weekdays. Marlon, the youngest, is then with her all the time , Matilda and Emely, who go to school and kindergarten respectively, join her in the afternoon. On Friday all three are either in the day nursery or in after-school care, and from Friday to Sunday evening with their father. In an emergency, Vanessa's mom takes over.
The family lives in a 4-room apartment in Wädenswil on Lake Zurich. Their landlord, a retired gentleman, also lives in the house and appreciates the animation of the house that came with the family of four. He also lets them use the garden.
Despite her small budget, Vanessa Bachmann attaches great importance to the stylish furnishing of the apartment. But not everything has to be new: Many decorative objects are created in craft sessions with the children, and the family finds other unique treasures for small amounts of money in flea markets and thrift stores.
Currently, Vanessa Bachmann has little scope to put aside money for tomorrow as she needs it for today. Her current old-age pension provision consists of her mandatory AHV contributions from her self-employed assignments. She also has the years she spends bringing up the children credited to her account with the compensation fund. The photographer does not pay contributions into Pillar 2 as she does not reach the BVG minimum annual salary with her 20% permanent position. And saving for old age with Pillar 3 has to wait until she can increase her working hours as an employee one day in the future.
Vanessa Bachmann trusts that everything will be all right. Not because she likes to take risks, but because her budget leaves her with no other choice. Every now and then she does of course think about what would happen if she fell ill, had an accident, or simply didn't get any new assignments. But she usually puts these worries to one side again very quickly, because when all three children go to school in a few years and are more independent, she not only wants to increase her working hours, but also wants to take care of the necessary risk coverage.
Vanessa Bachmann's situation is certainly not easy: She has to manage major responsibilities on a small budget. In her case, it is particularly important to think through scenarios such as her own death or a prolonged loss of earnings. And ideally to take out insurance. We are happy to advise family Bachmann comprehensively and under no obligation in a pension check free of charge.
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