Sangeeta Venkatesan has had her fair share of challenges. Growing up in a small village in regional India in the 80s, there was little to no prospect of higher education. The idea came so farfetched that the social norm within the culture was measured by a women’s ability to get married and have children. Today, the chairman of FairVine Super a fund designed to recognise and accommodate the unique lifecycles of women sits down and talks about the grit and resilience she needed to rise above gender and cultural norms, a journey that will inspire us all both personally and professionally; Sangeeta delivers BOLD Moves in spades.
“I left my hometown at 17 and pursued higher education, knowing I would have to overcome gender and cultural norms I worked tirelessly and with a very positive attitude. Fortunately, I was able to study at one of the top universities in India – where I thrived in accountancy and economics, this was where my ambitions were pushed, this is where my journey began.”
Conviction, passion, determination and self-belief are tools I use today – I have always believed in balance [both personally and professionally], and for me, it’s about compartmentalising my life. My 25 years of experience in the mostly male dominated banking and finance industry, and especially my role as the first female CEO of a stock broking firm in Australia made me realise the value of financial independence for women, and my involvement with FairVine Super. When I look back on my life I realise if I wasn’t resilient, I would have achieved nothing – it was about being mentally tough.
“To me, bold is such a personal thing. It means she wasn’t afraid to follow her dreams – live her life through conviction, grit and compassion backed by authenticity.”
Throughout my career, there have often been times where I felt my voice wasn’t being heard – As women, we must realise we have the right to opinions, and have to gain the confidence to speak up. In the early days of my career I learnt these foundations; the next challenge that arose was ‘how to not be spoken over’ – my key piece of advice here is whatever it is you are speaking, ensure you back yourself confidently and with information to boot.
For women, many things are a one size fits all model, and that just doesn’t work –
The fundamental objective of a good retirement policy is to enable people to retire with adequate savings to lead a reasonable lifestyle post retirement. However, the gender super gap in Australia is well documented, with women retiring with 47% less super than men, and older single women over the age of 55, becoming the fastest growing homeless.
Clearly the system is not working. This is because women have different needs – in addition to being the largest contributors of the gig-economy, women have sporadic or non-linear career trajectories due to family commitments which means they have less savings, and tend to live longer which means they need more.
The traditional superannuation system doesn’t take these factors into account, and really supports one model – which is linked to paid work and therefore disadvantages women.
Secondly, while the larger super funds have continued to grow in size, there has been little innovation or progress on member outcomes.
We designed FairVine Super to address exactly these issues. We built a pure-play innovative fund to partner with Australian women, to enable them to save more for retirement and become financially independent, through solutions – tangible, flexible, tailored solutions, suitable for any age, career stage, marital status or lifestyle. Then we layered this with seamless engagement – education and awareness to get the best out of the system, and 100% ethical investments.
My three key practices for women wanting to enable a finically stable and secure future
1. Take control
2. Have a plan, collect information and learn how you can take advantage (knowledge and understanding of the system) and leverage this. Plan your spending and your savings, and stick to it.
3. Have equal financial position in your family, all investments must be made equivalent.
Check out the FairVine Super and Ella Bache partnership. For a limited time, FairVine Super will be gifting Ella Bache customers Gift Cards (up to $600) to spend on their favourite beauty treatments when they join and roll over their balances to FairVine Super. Find out more here.