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Michelle Carey |  Communications Manager
Late-starter Michelle Carey attended a 10X event as a sceptic and left as a believer. Now she is peddling to catch up but, she says, she ‘has a plan’

Sceptic was impressed by the evidence

Michelle Carey says she has never been a saver or investor. “Like many people I know, I have managed to avoid much engagement with the subject of retirement planning, which I saw as ‘for much older people’, and investing, which just seemed way too complicated.”

Michelle has had a fairly mixed professional life, holding various different positions with companies, but largely as a consultant, or working for herself. She has, on occasion, contributed to corporate pension funds, but has always cashed out when she has moved to another position.

She says the investment world had vaguely interested her, but always seemed too complicated, and something she would engage with later (later being some unknown point in the future).

Michelle adds that she was quite put off by the industry. It seemed to be made up of “dinosaur firms for older people with loads of money” and “full of unapproachable men who would see you as wasting their time … rich old white guys talking down to the rest of us”.

Michelle says she realises now that was a mistake and that she has lost precious time by starting to save so late in life “but there is no point looking backwards”.

“But,” she adds, “now I know I can still do it and have some choices later, instead of none.”

She says she knows that she must “pedal a little faster to catch up”.

“But don’t worry I have a plan,” she says: “10X and I are on it.”

Michelle says that when her partner started working at 10X she started getting a lot of retirement planning advice, “which was basically telling me to give them money that I would rather spend on holidays and dinners out”.

Her eureka moment came when she attended the Real Money Fight, an event 10X held with the Daily Maverick.

“It was a slam-dunk. I was totally won over,” she says. “I understood the language and could finally relate, realising that if I acted now and made some smart choices and small sacrifices I could more or less maintain my lifestyle now and, importantly, retire with dignity.”

“That night I saw the CEO Steven Nathan – armed with just facts, figures and a very cool temperament – absolutely take down his ‘opponent’, a guy from one of the super expensive, supposedly ‘trusted’ brands.”

Michelle says she had gone to the event largely to support her partner and had expected more 10X-evangelism.

“But,” she says, “once I came face-to-face with the facts, live and in real-time, it was hard to ignore.”

One of the truths that was revealed on the night is that the traditional industry, all the well-known names who make those great ads on television (at clients’ expense obviously), keep people in the dark on purpose so that they can keep charging many layers of fees to help their clients “make sense of it”.

In Michelle’s words: “It is a bit like switching the lights off and then charging clients to have them put back on again, plus additional fees to keep them on.”

Michelle says she wasn’t the only sceptic in the audience. There were quite a few, she says, with a number of them “having a go at Steven Nathan, trying to unpick his arguments”. But, she adds, they had the opposite effect.

The debate on the night was largely about active fund management versus passive management, also known as indexing. Facts and figures showed that indexing is the rational choice for long-term savers. It is cost effective and consistently better than the active alternative, which Steven Nathan likened to gambling with retirement savers’ money.

“This analogy struck a chord with me. I don’t need anyone’s help to play fast and loose with my money; I can manage that perfectly well on my own,” says Michelle. “What I want from a savings partner is steady, reliable performance at a fair price. I want a savings partner who gives me peace of mind.”

She adds: “There is no point at all entrusting your savings to someone else so that they can take a large slice of them and then not even achieve the average market return.

“The numbers were all up on the screen to prove it that night. And now that I am a 10X client I receive regular communications from the company showing me that they consistently outperform the gamblers, and I can see that they take only a very small percentage of my returns.”

Michelle says: “The biggest takeaway from that evening for me (apart from the fact that I had better start saving for retirement) was that investing should not be complicated and wildly expensive, and my experience with 10X so far has proved both counts”.


“I chose 10X because I like the brand and was impressed by the evidence,” says Michelle. “I love the simplicity and clarity of the offering and the communication. Almost a year in I can see my investment growing and am motivated to increase my savings rate and get closer to where I would like to be.”

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