Craigs Investment Partners

At 14, Michal McKay already knew what she wanted to be. “A fashion editor” she declared to a family friend – one Bernie Leser, who later became the President of international publishing giant, Conde Nast. It was Bernie who gave a fearless young woman from New Zealand with an ironclad work ethic and big heart her start. “He introduced me to Vogue,” recalls Michal, who had only just completed her journalism cadetship and arrived in London to start an OE. “I had an interview, and at the end of it, I was told I had the job of Beauty and Fashion Editor at Vogue New Zealand. I was 21.”


Michal very quickly rose through the ranks at Vogue, moving to London and working on Good Housekeeping, then to Vogue Australia, was Vice President of Aramis, part of cosmetics house Estee Lauder in New York, and launched Vogue Singapore. Illustrious roles, and a brilliant career, that eventually brought her home again, after years in Istanbul and Sydney, to NZ House & Garden. “When you’re younger, you believe you can do anything!” she says of her drive and determination. “And I was very lucky, also, to have the encouragement of both my parents.”

There is a misconception that only millionaires invest, or that it's scary. Women should not be afraid to invest

In fact, it was her parents that were to play the most significant role in Michal’s relationship with money. From childhood, she learned how to save, and why she should invest. “When my father was sent back from the war, he’d lost a lung,” she tells. “He was in a sanatorium, so my mother had to work. I quickly learned about the value of effort, budgeting, and being cautious about what you spent. My mother had Samoan heritage which means it is necessary to make sure the cupboards are always full, ‘just in case’. Meanwhile Dad believed in the stock market and as soon as I was earning, encouraged me to put some into shares. And while I made no great fortune from it, it formed a habit. That investment became my ticket to go overseas.”

While living and working in all corners of the globe, Michal continued to funnel some of her income into investments. And when she returned to New Zealand permanently, 14 years ago, she contacted Craigs. “Finding the right partnership is absolutely invaluable,” she says of her relationship with Craigs Investment Partners adviser Rasmika Maharaj. “Rasmika is smart, and I trust her completely, as I would a friend. She has been nothing but straightforward, supportive and clear at every stage. She’s unbelievably reassuring too, so when I panic that I’m going to live until I’m 96 she calms me and takes me through my financial plan!”

Finding the right partnership is absolutely invaluable

Michal says there’s a misconception that only millionaires invest, or that it’s scary. “Women should not be afraid to invest,” she says firmly. “Of course, they need to work out how much they can afford, and what their expectations are of a return. With Rasmika, we calculate how much I need annually from my shares and bonds, because I’m at an age now where I’m able to enjoy the benefits of hard work and good decision making. You need to find an adviser who understands your life.”

Michal says she depends “hugely” on Craigs, their financial tools and sound planning “on the understanding that they are fully conversant with my situation. I believe they operate my portfolio with this top of mind.”

Originally published in the June edition of NEXT magazine.