How three driven Kiwi women used investing to help secure a rewarding future

''When I started I had very little','' Michal recalls, ''but I wasn’t frightened and I wasn’t deterred.''
Lucy Craig Investment Partners

Getting started – Lucy

Started small – sold a start-up and wanted to invest a larger sum.

Lucy still has to stop and pinch herself.

The Bay of Plenty entrepreneur has recently returned to New Zealand and is settling back in after several years overseas. And she’s arrived with money in her pocket.

A niche food start-up, in which Lucy worked her fingers to the bone for five years, sold a majority holding to a global food company in 2018 – a huge windfall for shareholder Lucy, who says it’s “overwhelming.”

“I would never in my wildest dreams have imagined I’d be in this financial position,” she says. It was guts and sheer determination that did it.

Enterprise was instilled in Lucy from childhood, when she began cleaning cutlery for a few dollars in her family’s restaurant. Once she’d graduated with a Bachelor Degree, Lucy made “a conscious decision to continue living as a student”, squirrelling away about $700 a month. “I was eating tuna and rice because I was so stubborn about not touching what I was saving.”

That’s when she approached Craigs – “because I didn’t know what to do with my savings, and they did,” laughs Lucy, who’s now in her 30s.

“The team at Craigs are professionals – they spend every hour of every day making investment decisions.” Lucy met adviser Ruth Jackson-Smith and was impressed.

“Even though I had very little, she took me seriously, and made the time to understand my goals.”

So when Lucy came home, feeling “confused about what to do with this money I now had,” Ruth was the person she turned to.

“She showed me how to maximise my gains and that doing the right thing over the long-term was what mattered most.”

Lucy says more career women should consider investing.

“While saving can be hard, not being able to support yourself later in life would be harder. Don’t be afraid to ask your adviser absolutely every question you have. I guarantee you won’t be asking something I haven’t. And, trust your gut.”

Goals achieved – Leanne*

Sold a business – wanted her funds to support an active retirement.

There’s a balance to be struck towards the middle of one’s working life, says Leanne, who lives on the Kapiti Coast.

“Women need to really understand their income, their expenses, and how they can wisely save or invest whatever’s left. In your 50s and 60s, you’re rapidly heading towards retirement – and living on superannuation alone can be a very daunting prospect.”

Leanne, who enjoyed a stellar career in the software industry until she sold her business in 2014, now spends her time travelling, playing sport, and giving back to charities and fledgling businesses.

She worries that New Zealanders are too reliant on property as a retirement nest egg – admitting that managing properties never suited her. “I absolutely hated being a landlord” she laughs.

“Also, property ownership isn’t possible for everyone. There are other options – people need to be realistic.”

Leanne finds a portfolio of investments, and strong relationship with Craigs Investment Partners adviser Melika King, works well for her. “I had a chunk of money that I needed to last until I kick the bucket!” she says matter-of-factly.

“Craigs popped up on my radar, and I rang to make an appointment.”

Leanne describes the sign-up process as “really easy” – although she confesses to putting Melika through the wringer.

“I basically interviewed her. I wanted to be sure the fit was right – that I had someone who understood my objectives and appetite for risk.”

Now, she says she enjoys her catch-ups with Melika and is happy with the returns on that “chunk” she put away five years ago.

“Craigs knows what the investment needs to do for me and keeps me in the loop around any recommended changes to my portfolio. And when I’ve spotted a company I feel strongly I’d like to invest in, they’ve facilitated that. So far, their advice has been spot-on.”

Comfortably retired – Michal

Retired – needed her investment to generate income.

Peace of mind is important to Michal, who has swapped her glittering career in the magazine and beauty industries for a cosy life in beautiful Hawke’s Bay.

Officially retired – though she keeps busy with friends, writing and the arts – Michal knows she needs her investment to provide an income to last the rest of her life. And it’s Craigs helping her achieve that goal.

“Finding the right partnership is absolutely invaluable,” she says of her Craigs adviser Rasmika Maharaj.

“Rasmika is smart, and I trust her completely. She’s unbelievably reassuring too, so when I panic that I’m going to live until I’m 96 she calms me and takes me through my financial plan!”

Michal started investing as soon as she began working, and those initial gains “became my ticket to go overseas.” She worked at Vogue, Good Housekeeping and Estee Lauder before returning to New Zealand 14 years ago.

The biggest challenge at this life stage, Michal says with candour, is health.

“When you’re so used to being active and non-stop, it’s difficult to accept that your body is no longer keeping up with you!”

But being mortgage free, thanks to sound decision making over a long and successful career, means she has one less thing to worry about. “It is wonderful. I look around my home and think ‘yes – this is mine.”

That asset, together with the income being generated from investment, means Michal can comfortably enjoy the rest of her life.

“When I started I had very little,” she recalls, “but I wasn’t frightened and I wasn’t deterred. Now, Craigs are fully conversant with my situation. I believe they operate my portfolio with this top of mind.”

Learn more about investing with Craigs

Craigs Investment Partners has been providing investment advice for more than 35 years and has over 150 advisers around the country to

guide you on your investment journey.

We offer tailored solutions to suit your investing needs and help you with your financial goals.

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Client names and photographs changed at their request. This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your financial position, needs, goals or risk tolerance. Returns are not guaranteed and investment values can go down as well as up. Before making any investment decision we recommend you contact your investment adviser. Craigs Investment Partners Limited is a NZX Participant Firm. Adviser Disclosure Statements are available on request and free of charge. Please visit for more information.

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