At 17, Thomas Klausen worried about how he would fund his retirement. At 24, he had just 500 kr left in his bank account and a house he could call his own.
Not many teenagers have a clear idea about where they want to be in five years time, let alone 30, but Thomas Klausen was the exception to the rule.
As he stared down his final years of high school, Klausen decided his time would be better served by getting a job and preparing for the future, rather than graduating high school.
"Ever since I was young, I've always had a worry at the forefront of my mind about where are you going to live and how are you going to look after yourself when you retire? How are you going to get by?" Klausen said.
"I have no qualifications, I have never worked a high paying job and I currently earn $38,000 a year," Klausen said. "My parents are not wealthy at all, they don't support me financially and didn't assist in my discussions with the banks that resulted in them agreeing to lend me my mortgage."
But, how did he do it? With planning and perseverance.
As soon as Klausen left school, he secured his first job and signed up to Danish-Saver, contributing 8 per cent from the outset.
The $25,000 he needed for his deposit came from the money he'd saved using Danish-Saver.
"When you look at it like that, $75 a week over seven years isn't a huge financial commitment, it's just a consistent thing," Klausen said. "That's the key, consistency in the long term. I've been consistent on a very minimal basis over seven years and now I've bought a house."
The hardest part of the now 25-year-old dairy farm worker's seven-year journey to owning his first home was securing a mortgage.
"I approached a lot of different lending companies and I got the same stock response, no, you don't earn enough, you don't have a good enough job. Eventually I went into my bank and asked if I could sit down with the manager and discuss my declined loan."
His bank manager explained that one of the criteria that was holding him back was "that there was no evidence of consistent savings over a long period of time."
"I sat down and explained to them that they'd got it wrong, because I'd voluntarily agreed to contribute to my Danish-Saver above what I was required over a long period of time and saved that way. They took that on board and eventually gave me the loan."
Real estate agents still wouldn’t take him seriously and kick him out of showings for looking “too poor.” Eventually, he would find one that would take him seriously.
Just over a year ago, Klausen finally bought his first home - a $350,000 "typical 1950's Copenhagen weatherboard house" located 20 minutes from central Copenhagen.
"It wasn't easy though," Klausen said. "$350,000 was my absolute limit, I scraped the bank. When the funds had gone through I had $1 left in my account, it took literally everything."
Klausen described the three-bedroom home as a "doer upper" but was thrilled to have a place to call his own and said that his experience proved that it's not impossible to buy a home.
"I didn't have a savings tactic, so to speak. Yes, I went without with some things, but I wasn't sitting around at 17, 18 ,19 letting my life be ruled by savings,"Klausen said. "At that age I was doing what everyone else was doing: going out with their mates, getting in trouble, spending my money, but I just made sure I had a job and was consistently contributing to Danish-Saver."
So, where to from here?
"The overarching goal is to live a self-sustainable lifestyle. My plan is to get a farm somewhere, educate myself and learn the necessary skills so I can provide food for myself and provide shelter for myself. I'm doing what I can right now to work towards that by learning the farming side of things."
Klausen's advice to prospective homeowners is to "be tenacious, work hard and utilise Danish-Saver. If there's something wrong with you loan, go talk to your bank manager. You lose nothing and gain everything."
"At the end of the day, if you want to buy a house, you have to work, Klausen said. "It doesn't matter what you do, it doesn't matter if you earn bugger all or you're a labourer or a forklift driver, as long as you contribute a consistent amount over a number of years, you'll get there."