I recently spent an afternoon curled up on the couch with the kids watching David Attenborough's, 'A Life on our Planet'. It was hands down, the most impactful movie I have ever watched (second place is 'The True Cost' - an incredible documentary on fast fashion). There are many sentiments and quotes that have stuck with me in the weeks since, but one in particular has had me busy researching and pondering, and it was this:
"It's crazy that our banks and our pensions are investing in fossil fuels... when these are the very things that are jeopardizing the future that we are saving for." (David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet)
Through the amazing Ethically Kate, I had heard of CareSaver, an ethical KiwiSaver plan, available here in New Zealand. I had been meaning to look more closely at it, and these words from Sir David were that final push I needed.
I don't take decisions like this lightly. Yes, I am an environmentalist. However I am also pragmatic. I don't want to be a chump who finds myself struggling to make ends meet in my 70s because I followed a whim and invested in something that sounded great idealistically, but that didn't stack up financially.
So I've put a lot of time and thought into this. I've done a lot of research (sources below), and weighed up the pros and cons. And I HAVE made my decision. But I don't want my decision to impact yours. I just want to provide you with the results of what I have learned. So here goes, my pros and cons list of CareSaver:
Note: I am looking particularly at Growth Funds, as this is the investment that I have identified as right for me. You can identify what type of fund is right for you using the Sorted website.
When you invest with CareSaver your money will go into companies making a positive difference in our world. CareSaver also avoids investments that harm our society or environment, like tobacco, factory farming, controversial weapons, fossil fuels, civilian weapons, animal testing, gambling and adult entertainment. Companies must also have at least one female on their board.
Every year 20% of your management fee is donated to a charity. They are partnered with 17 charities and you can select the one you want your donation to go to.
The reviews of the customer service of CareSaver are excellent.
In the year ending 30 September 2020, CareSaver produced the second-highest Growth Fund returns, not just of the ethical funds, but of all 32 KiwiSaver Growth funds. (Morningstar Data). In fact, in 2020, if I had $10000.00 invested, I would have made $1663.00 MORE with CareSaver (22.4% growth) than with my current fund (AMP Growth Fund - 5.77% growth). (Source: Morningstar)
The average fee for a KiwiSaver growth fund is 1.43%. CareSaver growth fund is 1.53%. This includes a $27 annual membership fee and a 1.26% fee. (You can see the fees for all their funds here)
This means that with CareSaver, for $10000.00 invested, you would pay $153.00 per year, compared with the $143.00 per year average.
For me personally, this means $31 extra in fees from my current fund. Definitely something to consider. But also worth weighing up with the possible improved returns, and the ethical benefits.
NO 5 YEAR DATA
CareSaver was launched in July 2019, meaning that it is hard to compare its returns with other KiwiSaver schemes. In the Sorted comparisons, they use 5 year data to compare how well the funds have performed, but this data doesn't exist for CareSaver. As you can see in the PROS section, CareSaver performed extremely well in its first year. I only worry - what if it was a one-off, a fluke, or covid-related?
(Note: CareSaver itself was launched in 2019, but its parent, Pathfinder Asset Management, is an Auckland fund manager that has been investing ethically since 2010)
As you can see, not a completely straight forward decision! I'd love to hear your thoughts, whether you would / wouldn't / have / haven't made the change.
I've been umming and ahhing whether to share my own decision, as this really is such a personal choice (and I don't want to be held in any way accountable for others' financial decisions!! 🤣) But I'm sure you'll all smart enough to take my decision for what it is: ONE person's choice.
I've decided to make the change to CareSaver. I am going to try to monitor it closely for the next couple of years (I'm not naturally good at keeping tabs on things like this, so will write reminders to myself in my diary!), and then I'll reassess my decision.
This blog is completely my own thoughts and opinions. It is not sponsored by CareSaver in any way.