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Money

Five female business leaders share their investment tips

Amid all the conflicting advice about how to save for retirement, we speak to five savvy female business leaders about the choices they make and why

By Fiona Fraser

Arihia Bennett - CEO Ngāi Tahu

Do you have KiwiSaver and where is it invested?
Yes, I am a long-term member of KiwiSaver. I come from the time when there were post office savings accounts when we were attending primary school. As I now move towards the other end of the continuum, I'm grateful that I learned the importance of saving for a rainy day.
What other investment or financial decisions have you made to align with your retirement goals?
I've invested capital into a so-far-successful offshore whānau business, I have a developing property portfolio and I'm also enrolled with Whai Rawa, which is the Ngāi Tahu investment scheme that helps create a better future for Ngāi Tahu whānau.
When you imagine your retirement, what do you hope for?
To be able to live comfortably within a multi-generational household. Our current home environment is three generations where we live together, supporting one another and taking care of our elders. There are many benefits of whanaungatanga – collective economic contributions, as well as social and cultural connectivity.
What do wahine Māori and Pasifika need to take into account when thinking about their retirements?
Wāhine naturally come from a caring, collective approach, and while they continue to nurture and support whānau, planning for their own future can be overlooked. It's important they engage in KiwiSaver or another saving schemes while employed.
What one message would you send to the companies managing our KiwiSaver investments?
I'd recommend a greater focus on communications. Often people will be turned off if information is complicated. Whānau do not want to be embarrassed if they don't understand.

Kate Wareham - Te Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive, Volunteer Service Abroad

Do you have a KiwiSaver and where is it invested?
Yes, I'm with one of the big schemes and although I looked at a few when deciding which to go with, I kept it simple and chose one from a major provider.
Conservative, Balanced and Growth – do you know the difference?
My scheme automatically changes as I age – a nice way to set and forget! It started more in Growth, but as I got older, I wanted to reduce the investment risk and moved it to Balanced, as it smooths the potential ups and downs that the riskier investments in Growth offer.
When you imagine your retirement, what do you hope for?
A simple life! I'd like more time for the things I love, such as family and friends, but also hobbies like swimming. I'm part of an adult swim squad, and particularly enjoy open-water swimming and competing in events over summer.
What other investment or financial decisions have you made to align with your retirement goals?
We have an investment property, which will eventually go towards funding our retirement. We've talked about how long we might work, and how we'll taper off into retirement through part-time and voluntary work.
What worries you, if anything, about how you will manage your retirement years, financially or otherwise?
My number-one concern would be my health and that of my family. Having regular health checks, such as mammograms, and my swimming are important.
How do you ensure your children understand about saving and investing for their futures?
Our daughter is 13 and she's now got two bank accounts – one for spending and one for saving. It's been a way to help her learn about the value of money, budgeting and being mindful of decisions about spending.

Robyn McLean - CEO Hello Period

Do you have a KiwiSaver and where is it invested?
I'm guilty of just allowing myself to be put into a default fund several years ago and not having done much with it since. I do know I'm in a Growth Fund and last time I looked, the line was going the wrong way!
What do you consider when making a decision on where to invest for retirement?
Embarrassingly, I'm so busy in my work life, I don't pay enough attention to my KiwiSaver. I have a kind of naïve faith that funds automatically prioritise ethical investing these days, but I need to ensure that is actually the case with the fund I'm with as that is a non-negotiable for me. Returns are also important, but not if the fund isn't prioritising ethics.
Have you ever switched from one provider to another – and why did you make that choice?
Not yet, but once I've found a provider who feels right, I will be making a change. I'll be looking for a fund that's challenging the status quo.
When you imagine your retirement, what do you hope for?
I hope that I have enough reserves for whatever life throws my way. But as long as I have a warm home, food in the fridge, and the ability to spend time with friends and family, that would be my ultimate retirement goal realised.
How does KiwiSaver enable you to reach your retirement goals?
It's forced saving that I can't access! I've been known to be a bit spontaneous with booking travel, and if I looked at our bank account and saw we had savings in there, there's a very real possibility my willpower would go out the window as I book a bucket-list trip rather than be sensible.

Nicola Toki - CEO Forest & Bird

Do you have KiwiSaver and where is it invested?
Yes, because I want to be prepared for my retirement. However, I've been one of those people who just accepted their default KiwiSaver when it was allocated to me. In the past decade, while I considered it on occasion, I was busy changing careers, having a child and probably should have prioritised it more!
Conservative, Balanced and Growth – do you know the difference?
I've always been in Balanced because I'm pretty risk averse, but I'm considering my options given I still have a long career ahead of me and a long time to have my money invested in KiwiSaver. However, I do contribute a higher percentage of my income – around 8% currently – than the default setting for employees.
Have you ever switched from one provider to another – and why did you make that choice?
I've recently switched to ethical KiwiSaver provider Pathfinder because I wanted more assurance that my money was doing good things. It's crucial that my KiwiSaver reflects my values, particularly around protection of the environment, as well as other ethical influences.
What does ethical investing mean to you?
Careful consideration of impacts on future generations who are inheriting Earth, the state of which is dependent on the decisions we make today.
When you imagine your retirement, what do you hope for?
I don't expect to be living in luxury, but I have seen the mental and physical impacts of significant financial stress on retired people. I'd like to have a secure home and enough to enjoy my retirement, while also allowing my investment to continue to provide for the odd adventure.
What message would you like to send to the companies that manage our KiwiSaver investments?
Protecting natural resources is crucial for the ongoing prosperity of our communities. It's a no-brainer for any investment company to be investing significantly in our greatest natural assets, to ensure a sustainable return financially, and for the ongoing health and resilience of our communities.

Faye MacGregor - General Manager All Good NZ

What do you consider when making a decision on where to invest for retirement?
Initially, convenience. I therefore invested via my bank. But I'm now focused on ensuring the money I'm investing is not only supporting my retirement goals, but also companies that have a positive impact on either people or the planet.
Have you ever switched from one provider to another – and why did you make that choice?
After attending a women's investing seminar earlier this year, I engaged with a financial advisor who is supporting me to make smarter investments that align with my personal values. I'm now in the process of switching to the Quaystreet Socially Responsible Investment Fund.
How is your KiwiSaver helping you reach your retirement goals?
KiwiSaver is a part of my overall plan, but alone, it won't completely financially support me given the average life expectancy is now 82! But it has allowed me to be more educated around investing and what I can do to ensure I have a portfolio of diversified investments to support my retirement.
What other investment or financial decisions have you made to align with your retirement goals?
Two key decisions. Purchasing my home, which I will own freehold by the time I retire, is by no means my golden retirement nest egg, but should I not reach my retirement savings goals, I'll have the flexibility to downsize and use the funds from the sale of the house to help fund my retirement. Also, working with a financial advisor, and being curious about extending my knowledge and confidence around investing.
What message would you like to send to the companies managing our KiwiSaver investments? There needs to be
more education for the younger generations around the importance of saving for their retirement, while making the information about the options available easily digestible. Education drives knowledge and engagement.

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