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Australia’s Wealthiest Women of 2019

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Blog from 2019: Ladies (and gents) Forbes has once again released the 2019 Rich List of Australia’s 50 wealthiest people. If you often dream a little dream of making it big and being set for life, let’s take a look at this year’s elite money-makers and how they got there. We tend to hear a lot about high profile mogul men such as Packer and Palmer, so let’s celebrate some of the wealthiest millionaire and billionaire ladies in our midst.

Gina Rinehart 

Credit: Hancock Prospecting

Topping the list as Australia’s wealthiest person EVER is Gina Rinehart. Aged 65 years and worth approximately $14.8 Billion.

How did she get there?
Gina has long been considered an ‘heiress’ to her father’s fortune built on iron-ore exploration. However, NEVER call Gina an heiress to her face; as she is adamant she took her late father’s bankrupt estate to build her own fortune. While it was reported for years that the Hancock Prospecting inheritance was worth a measly $75 million, Gina largely gleaned her billions from her Roy Hill Mining project, which began shipments to Asia in 2015 – greatly eclipsing any of her father’s successes. As you can see, she’s the only female Executive Committee and is absolutely killing it.

Gina is also the third-largest cattle producer in Australia with a vast portfolio of properties across the land.

What’s her personal life like?
Gina was born in Perth as an only child (handy when your father is a multi-millionaire!) She married twice and had two children to each husband. She was widowed in 1990 by her late husband, corporate lawyer Frank Rinehart who died of a heart attack. Personally, Gina is unfortunately well known for her rather public litigation battles with her mother, her children, and Wright Prospecting – owned by her father’s business partner.

Australia’s famed female mining magnate attributes her success to resilience and hard work. Keep an eye on the sky, you might spot her flying around the nation in her $80 million private jet.

Fiona Geminder

Next on the list of loaded ladies is Australia’s 16th wealthiest human, the lesser-known Fiona Geminder. Aged 54 years and worth a cool $2.3 Billion.

How did she get there?
Fiona grew her nest-egg through plastics packaging and manufacturing – owning almost 40% of The Pact Group along with her husband Raphael. Together with her siblings Anthony and Heloise Pratt (also billionaires) she owns a large stake in their family paper packaging and recycling company – Visy Asia-Pacific, with 110 plants and factories across  Australia.

What about her personal life?
Fiona is a very private billionaire who keeps a low public profile. One of the few times she has been spotted in public was at her father’s funeral in 2009! Fiona’s late Dad Richard pioneered one of the leading packaging companies in Australia and earned approx $5 Billion in his time.

Fiona obtained a Bachelor of Arts at Monash in 1995 and completed her Law Degree at Monash in 2008. She is involved in a wide range of community charities, projects and causes in Australia and Israel.
Married to Raphael Geminder, Fiona lives in Melbourne and has four children. The family have gradually been buying up neighbouring properties to their Kooyong mansion, amassing an expansive landholding estimated to be worth over $30 million.

Heloise Pratt

Sitting pretty as the 21st richest person in Australia is Fiona Geminder’s big sister and fellow Visy Asia-Pacific stakeholder Heloise Pratt. Aged 56 years, Heloise enjoys a net worth of $1.76 Billion.

How did she get there
In addition to her lucrative stake in the family packaging business, Heloise built an investment empire called Thorney Investments with her then-husband Alex Waislitz. The company boasts over 20 listed companies in industries ranging from mining and gas to renewable energy, airline booking and biotech. If that’s not enough, she is a 30% stakeholder in ASX listed investment company Thorney Opportunities.

What about her personal life?
Like her sister, Heloise also likes to stay behind the scenes and avoid the limelight. She will, however, make appearances in support of her philanthropy projects – her involvement in which began when she was only 13 years old. In 2017, she was the first Australian ever to be awarded the Angel Ball Honour for her philanthropy work. An award that has been around for 20 years.

She married Alex Waislitz and the couple had three children. Heloise was diagnosed with throat cancer whilst pregnant with her second child and underwent months of treatment. The couple split in 2015, and in 2018 Pratt was spotted living the high life like a rock star while boarding her private jet with singer-songwriter boyfriend Jon Stevens. Go, Heloise!

Angela Bennett

Next up as our $24th wealthiest Australian, is 75 year old Angela Bennett with a whopping wealth of $1.65 Billion.

How did she get there?
It seems our lady billionaires are somewhat connected. Angela owes her wealth to her share of a Rio Tinto royalty paid for every ton of iron ore it mines in WA. The royalty was arranged by her father Peter Wright and Gina Rinehart’s Dad Lang Hancock. Bennett also owns a private investment company called AMB Holdings. While embroiled in a legal battle over Wright Prospecting, apparently Gina and Angela teamed up to sue Rio Tinto for $136 million in 2018.

In 2009 Angela set a National House Price record when she sold her enormous waterfront Mosman Park mansion in Perth for a staggering $57.5 million.

Angela owns several properties around Perth including an $8 million penthouse and rather understated (for a billionaire) $3.1 million five-bedroom home in Dalkeith.

Gretel Packer

Only two spots behind Angela with a healthy $1.6 billion under her belt is 53 year old Gretel Packer.

How did she get there
Daughter of late media mogul Kerry Packer, Gretel was delivered her billions in 2015 when brother James split the family estate 10 years after their father’s death. Gretel chairs the Packer Family Foundation and was the driving force behind the $160 million National Philanthropic Fund – said to be shared among indigenous education, arts and welfare. The fund is supported by the Packer Family Foundation and Crown Resorts.

As an arts patron, she is on the board of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and The Sydney Theatre Company.

What about her private life?
Gretel first married British Financier Nich Braham in 1988, they had two children Francesca and Ben; but parted ways in 1999. After dating Musician Shane Murray for several years, they married in 2005 and welcomed son, William. The pair have since separated and by all accounts it seems billionaire Gretel might be single!

Just this year Gretel offered to purchase two neighbouring penthouses atop the Potts Point Omnia building for $22 million in a bid to create a ‘super-penthouse.’ Sadly the deal fell through, so she’ll have to stick with her $125 million Ellerston property on which her father is buried.

Australia’s Wealthiest Women Under 40

In case you’re losing hope because your father is not a tycoon, not all successful Aussie women got their boost through a hefty inheritance. Here are the top 3 wealthiest women in Australia under 40 years who worked their way to the top.

Cyan Ta’eed

37-year-old entrepreneur Cyan and her husband Collis sport a combined net worth of $216 million.

How did she get there?
She is the co-founder of Melbourne based online business Envato – a subscription-based creative asset marketplace with a community over 8 million people. Named one of Australia’s coolest companies for women and coolest companies in tech in 2015. She is also the founder of ethical chocolate company Hey Tiger.

Steps to Success:

  • Completed Graphic Design Degree
  • Secured work at a boutique agency
  • Wanted more and started her own business at age 23
  • In 2006 launched her startup while living in her parents’ basement at age 24
  • Never gave up and developed her business skills over time

Melanie Perkins

Melanie is 31 years old and worth $128 million.

How did she get there?
Melanie founded est. $1 Billion online design and publishing platform Canva. Since its launch in 2013, Canva has exploded to over 15 million users in 190+ countries and now has more than 500 team members.

Steps to Success:

  • Coined the Canva idea while teaching University design programs
  • Saw students struggle to learn the basics
  • Wanted beautiful design to be accessible to everyone
  • Tested her idea for Canva with Fusion Books – designing high school yearbooks in Australia
  • Met Silicon Valley venture capital investor Bill Tai at a Perth Conference
  • Flew to San Francisco to pitch to him with a paper print out because she didn’t own an iPad.
  • Kept refining her strategy and pitch despite over one hundred investor rejections before someone said “Yes!”

Kayla Itsines

At 28 years Kayla has just welcomed her first baby! Oh, and she has also built a fit and healthy $64 million fortune. Combined, Kayla and Tobi are worth $486 million – making them the wealthiest self-made 20-something-year-olds in Australia.

How Did She Do It?
Along with her partner Tobi Pearce, Kayla developed the extremely popular fitness app SWEAT (previously called Sweat with Kayla in 2015), and the Bikini Body Guide. SWEAT reportedly made a gobsmacking $77 million in 2018. Combining fitness and meal plans at a $20 per month subscription, the app is designed to replace the need for a monthly gym membership.

Steps to Success

  • After an early interest in fitness, pursued a career in personal training
  • Launched a blog and Instagram account posting before and after pics of her clients
  • Developed 12-week “Bikini Body Guide” with Tobi which was a huge success
  • Continued growing her following and was reaching a worldwide audience
  • Branched out of Australia to the States and UK on a worldwide fitness tour
  • Launched her app “Sweat with Kayla.”
  • Now has more than 10 million Instagram followers
  • Continues to build on her brand with a book and range of merchandise

 

Fortune Favours the Financially Savvy

Despite whether you have hundreds, millions, or billions, sound financial planning and management are still critical to your success. Us regular folk might not strike gold when it comes to being an entrepreneur. We might not have the next big idea or money to invest, but what we can do is be prepared for a bright financial future by managing what we have well.

There are plenty of challenges that women face day-to-day but money stresses don’t have to be one of them! We can only start from where we are, but you never know what opportunities might be just around the corner when you’re financially fit. Look after your money, and never give up on your dreams.

If you’re looking to take control of your finances, ASIC has a great budget planning tool that can help you identify your spending habits, and make appropriate changes so you can save more. Then you’ll be ready, and be better prepared for whatever the future may hold.