Wealth & Purpose: Adding values to wealth
Investing in quality education pays dividends in social benefits. Flat World Partners founder Anna-Marie Wascher explains what motivates her to help others to make the right impact.
What do you hope to achieve with your wealth?
For me it's less about what I'm specifically hoping to achieve with my wealth and more about what wealth has given me in terms of opportunity. Education was the most important thing I had access to and I believe I can have a greater impact by applying my knowledge to build a company that can further drive impact investing forward. I am moving to 100% impact investments in my personal portfolio, and I have the ability to go beyond my own wealth and help others make sound investment decisions within impact. It's what drives me.
How have you incorporated your values into your wealth?
My values have always been centred on working hard and not taking for granted the things that have been given to me. It is easy to be isolated from some of the world's greatest challenges when you live in an area highly concentrated with wealth. The truth is that these challenges are not just in emerging markets but most likely within your community.
Providing access to high-quality education for all children is a large challenge for the US. The practice of using debt to fund schooling has led to the accumulation of more than $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. Getting more children and young adults access to cheaper and quality education is something we think about from an investment perspective. Tackling this issue through educational technology or service businesses can have a large impact on related issues, such as a growing wealth gap, terrorism, and health.
How do your values impact the way you think about your wealth?
Every individual has a different set of values. For me, I care about community, education, and future environmental challenges around water conservation and agriculture. I also care about female empowerment and want to invest in companies and funds that are moving the needle on these issues.
Although I actively work and donate to a variety of philanthropies I causes about, my wealth allows me to invest in these issues and still generate a financial return. I'm still young and think about the growth of my wealth and preservation of it in order to provide for my future family and ensure my kids can have the education opportunities I had.
What do you believe is a challenge in investing in impact?
When I first started investing in impact, finding the right set of opportunities, having the access to them, and ensuring I was making sound investments by doing adequate diligence, was a challenge. Impact investing is still a fragmented market and to understand the breadth and depth of investment opportunities as an individual is extremely difficult.
This was one of the main reasons for launching Flat World Partners. I want other people to have an easier time than I did in navigating an investment landscape to find the companies and funds that reflect the things they really care about.