Why your current super, probably ain't super in conversation with Alex Andrews, the co-founder of female owned Superfund, Verve .
We all make a vote with our money for the kind of world we want to live in. If you’ve been following Ethical Made Easy for a while then you would’ve read this quote quite a few times. What is the extent of this, though? How can we make sure all of our money is being used for good—even our super payments?
Verve Super. That’s how. Verve is not only Australia’s first and only superfund dedicating 100% of its resources and passion to building the wealth and financial power of women everywhere, but it also puts ethics at the forefront of its practices. In short, it’s a superfund that’s by women, for women, and we definitely think it’s doing some things well worth talking about.
We spoke to Alex, co-founder of Verve Super, about ethics, women, and super.
We talk about voting with our wallets all the time, but I think we often forget about where our super goes. Why is investing your super in an ethical fund important?
We've become so much more aware and eager to buy ethical products at the check-out, but super is one of the things we often just set and forget—out of sight, out of mind. The reality is that the dollars we invest everyday through our superannuation are having a defining impact on the world today and into the future. The irony is that so many of us are out on the streets protesting and signing petitions against fossil fuels, pokies, and offshore detention centres, without realising that our superannuation might be financially propping up these industries. It's time to take the next step in ethical consumption, and invest our super with a fund that aligns with our values.
What's some of the dicey stuff our super might be invested in if we're not with an ethical fund?
Most super funds invest in offshore detention, fossil fuels, gambling, live animal export, old growth logging, and more. Verve invests in none of these, prioritising renewable and regenerative industries like healthcare, social wellbeing, renewable energy, community financing, recycling, and more. We also don't invest in companies that exclude women from leadership.
Verve is Australia's first ethical super fund for women. Why do women need their own ethical super fund?
Men lead 93% of Australian financial service companies, and the service is not meeting the needs of women. Historically, the business model of our financial services industry was conceived by men to meet the needs of their primary customers, customers who are also men. It's not surprising that women often feel disengaged with finance. Women also retire with 47% less savings than men. Verve dedicates 100% of our services and resources to serving women and building our individual and collective financial power.
What's with the super gap?!
Besides the impact that the gender pay gap has on women's super, women also account for 68% of primary carers for elderly parents or people with disability—this means that women are more likely to be taking time out of paid work to do unpaid caring work. Women are more likely to stay home to raise children and often return to work in part-time or casual positions in order to maintain flexibility for their family. Our economy doesn't financially recognise or reward women for this important work. This cyclical relationship with paid work, the wage gap and the lack of superannuation policy support for casual and part-time work, give way to a the super gap—with women retiring with 47% less super than men.
What makes you most excited about starting and building Verve Super?
Building the financial power of women and creating the wealth and the world we want! By giving women the opportunity to support the planet and our community through ethical investment and through financial coaching that shifts how we engage with money, this future is possible.
What or who inspires you to do what you do a daily basis? Best piece of advice you have ever received?
Women. Every single day women who are being paid less, women who are survivors of trauma, women who experience abuse, they are still getting up everyday to care for children, and often attending paid work, while emotionally supporting others. Despite the challenges in our way, together we rise. That is so damn inspiring.
Best piece of advice has to be "this too shall pass". I can be very impatient and when life delivers a little discomfort, I need this reminder to get me through.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
Wake up, five minute love and gratitude meditation, followed by 600ml of celery juice and if I’m early (hardly ever) a walk along the beach. I usually sit down to work around 8.30am. I love spacious mornings so routine goes out the window on a weekend.
What’s your definition of success?
Personally, resilience and grace. When you can exercise the resilience and peace of mind to endure all challenges and when you can receive all gifts with grace and ease, that's when you've made it.
As a community—when all women are respected, appreciated and equally considered in all aspects of society—socially, politically and economically.
One book everyone should read? Why?
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. It changed my perception of the expectations we place on women and highlights the incredulous impact of the white, westernised standards of beauty. It made me mad and then it gave me the drive to act.
One documentary everyone should watch? Why?
It's not a documentary but everyone should watch "What's Underneath" on YouTube. A mother daughter duo challenge our concept of connection, style, gender and the human experience. It is truly moving and deeply nourishing on all levels. Highly recommend.
For those reading this who are inspired to make a change in their own world, what do you recommend they begin with? Where should they start?
With your super of course! Start by checking you know where it all is and then asking what it's invested in. If it's invested in companies that harm our planet or our community, get out of it ASAP.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think we should all know about?
Erika Hart: sex educator and activist. Erika is the real deal, shining the light towards a future of genuine social change and reparation—sometimes it's really dark and Erika is the only one with the truth we all need to hear.
Alok: non-binary truth teller, poetic genius and performer.
Mojo Juju: musician and activist.
Sheree Rubinstein: creating space for all women and each woman in everything she does. Also badass CEO of One Roof Women.