This month we feature Liz Greive, a semi-retired investor and founder of Share My Super, an organisation that distributes individuals’ surplus superannuation donations to fight child poverty.
If you had enough to retire comfortably, would you focus on growing your wealth or sharing it around? For Liz Greive, she’s made a conscious decision to do both.
It was when Liz became eligible for superannuation that she realised the extra income would make little difference to her lifestyle or financial position. She wondered if any other superannuants would be in a similar boat.
“One of the things that is important to me is purpose. You can accrue wealth, but you have to think about what’s that for and what do you want to do with it.”
So, she started Share My Super, a charity that enables superannuants, who can afford to give, to support vetted organisations helping children in poverty. Liz covers the operational costs of the charity, meaning 100% of the donations go directly to the chosen charities. More than $1.3m has been raised in the past three years.
But Liz’s commitment to creating equitable outcomes for those less fortunate is nothing new. She started her career as a social worker in the UK. During the first 12 years of her marriage, Liz was the major, and oftentimes the sole, breadwinner.
“For the first few years we had no money – we started with nothing. It was my income that gave us the money to get a mortgage and a house.”
One of the first forms of investments she and her then-husband tried was Funds of Funds, which was common at the time, where the fund owned units in other funds instead of assets like stocks and bonds.
“We were absolute novices and felt after some time that it wasn’t really a good strategy for us. There wasn’t a lot of information available back then, so you relied on word of mouth and trial and error.”
She described the investing world during those times as being very male dominated.
“I felt there was an expectation that I agreed with everything and not get very involved, which was quite irritating.”
The entrepreneurial couple went on to take risks with multiple business ventures, including borrowing against their house, which fortunately paid off and enabled them to grow their wealth.
“Investing is a broad brush with what you do with your money – we owned retail businesses and that was higher risk and higher return.”
Today, Liz continues to invest but now sticks mostly to managed funds. She has a special interest in investments with an environmental, social and governance (ESG) element.
“I would not be comfortable investing in a company that had poor equality ratings and certainly not one that was very polluting.”
Investing into businesses, such as start-ups, is still a drawcard for Liz as she gets satisfaction from seeing the ventures take off.
“It’s higher risk but I can afford to watch my investments go up and down comfortably and I don’t need to pull money out at a particular time. But I would never put money into a high-risk venture that I couldn’t afford to lose.”
When it comes to investing success, taking a long-term view has held Liz in good stead.
Reflecting on her own investing and personal journey, Liz feels strongly about the need for women to take control of their financial situation and be more actively involved in money decisions.
“Women have traditionally been quite passive and often don’t have the confidence and knowledge to navigate situations, like if their partner dies or if they get divorced. It’s important to know where your money is.”
But Liz acknowledges that having money to manage in the first place is a privileged position to be in.
“Investing is beyond the wildest dreams for a lot of people.”
To find out more about investing, visit the FMA’s free resources at Consumer
Learn more about Share My Super.