Trenna Probert is the fiercely determined and fun boss of super comparison tool Super Fierce, a personal wealth platform that aims to help women get a better deal out of superannuation.
Her drive to make a difference to the financial futures of women is a passionate one, and it comes from a place of lived financial hardship, although she’s quick to point out that it’s nothing compared with so many women.
After a successful career and high-flying lifestyle, at the age of 34, she left an unhealthy relationship with her 18-month-old son and was virtually penniless with little support.
“I had to borrow $3,000 from my parents to leave which was humiliating and incredibly stressful,” she recalls, noting that it was a time when there were “nights when I had to play games with my son because I literally couldn’t afford to give him dinner.”
The memory of a hungry child is not one that any parent likes to retell but it’s one that shaped Trenna into being a Mother who fights for her children’s wellbeing no matter what, and prioritises time with family over the fancier things that once surrounded her.
“I remember times in my previous life when we were traveling first class everywhere. We lived in a Sydney harbourside mansion, but it wasn’t a healthy relationship, and nobody was happy.
“Once I got pregnant, I gave up everything. I gave up all my power, my self-confidence, and I didn’t think I would be able to find a job again.
When she finally did have the courage to leave with her little one, her first job was putting up Christmas decorations for $10 an hour, and her first ‘real job’ with an IT company failed. She was fired after three months because she just couldn’t manage it all.
“They say nobody gives you a rule book when you have kids. Well, they definitely don’t when you become a single mum. I didn’t have family around; my friends were still partying, I didn’t have a pool of financial resources, and I simply didn’t know how to manage on my own. But gradually I learnt and kindness from new, older friends really helped me through.”
It’s a far cry from where she eventually found herself several years later when she joined Macquarie Bank – a place that she hasn’t looked back from both personally, or professionally.
Today at 49 years of age, she does care a lot more about money but it’s much different to how it was in her 20s.
“I have always been a really hard worker. But I never really cared about money very much.
“I come from a reasonably humble background in a small town in rural South Australia. I still remember the fights between mum and dad about buying a $9 hose reel. They still argue about every financial decision and watch every cent – so they’re now living very comfortably.
“For me, that’s what fierce is about. It is actually a synonym for choice. That’s what drives me today. I want every woman to have choice; to stay or leave. To live, fearlessly, on their terms.”
“Obviously through my life experiences there has been a real awareness for me around money. You never ever want to have to say to a child, sorry I can’t make you dinner tonight. I made stupid mistakes. And today I’m determined that women won’t have to go through what I did.”
Nowadays, Trenna lives a comfortable life, where most of her investing happens within her self-managed super fund. It’s managed by her ex-Macquarie banker hubby Craig, but they make the decisions together. Trenna believes their success is built on listening to each other’s different perspectives.
“Investing respectfully together – personally and in business – has saved us from some big mistakes and created incredible opportunities. We both see and agree that women are tremendous, intuitive investors.”
Whilst she probably could be more extravagant, she has a comfortable lifestyle and prefers to give back by being charitable – both directly to people in her life, and through Fierce Impact which is the philanthropic side of her business which is dedicated to helping marginalised Australian women.
When it comes to her money advice for women, her top tips are:
- Have your own Mojo Money. Even if you share a joint account with your partner, make sure you always have your own account. “Not only is it important to have a back-up plan, but it’s also vital as an adult to have some independence. It’s not cool if you have to ask for pocket money, and you shouldn’t always have to agree about what matters. Only you can do you!”
- Create a bank account that allows you to save for your goals. There is a sense of purpose, achievement and confidence that comes in seeing progress towards something that matters to you. “In my experience, naming it and seeing the progress incentivises me to stay the course and resist frivolous spending. Right now, my number one goal is having extra money put aside so I’m in a position to support my eldest son to follow his dreams – without asking permission from anyone.”
- Get up close and personal with your superannuation. “Imagine you’re 67. What does fierce, fabulous, and free look like for you? That’s the starting point when it comes to your super because that’s what it’s all about.” At 67 or somewhere near that age, you’ll be looking to retire. And you’re going to need cash to fund your lifestyle. So, work out what you’ll need and get a plan in place.
- Get help and make sure your super is working hard for you. “The average savings in pointless super fees is over $100k. Given the typical Aussie woman is retiring with $250k less than the government thinks they need for a comfortable retirement, this is a great place to start closing that gap.”
Of course, Trenna is big on this. That’s what her business is about. But even if you don’t use Super Fierce, doing your own homework to ensure you are getting the best returns and fees, is so important to your future self that it deserves a mention. Still, if you want support along the way, Trenna’s digital platform will show you how you’re tracking and if you can save on fees in a free Statement of Advice. It’s definitely worth checking it out.
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