Do you invest according to your values? The idea that you can do good and earn a positive financial return is not a new one, but it is getting easier to accomplish. You may be passionate about supporting environment, gender equality, or social justice, for example. You may be passionate about not supporting the firearms/alcohol/tobacco industries or private prisons, etc.
Are you curious about where to start? I spoke recently with Courtney Blodgett in episode 36 of the Adulting Is Easy podcast, the founder of Yield Positive, whose mission is to help everyday investors yield positive – positive returns, positive impact – through sustainable investing. She has worked for more than 15 years on sustainable finance and is a sustainable investor herself, doing personal sustainable investing since my early 20s. Here are her tips:
1. Investigate your bank: You may be like a lot of people, using the bank your family always did. Remember, the bank takes your deposits and lends money out. They may be lending money in areas you’d rather not support. Or you may be paying interest on your mortgage to a bank that invests in areas you don’t agree with. Check out your bank at mightydeposits.com and find the right bank for you.
2. Invest in the right mutual funds and ETFs: You can literally invest in mutual funds and ETFs that align with your values using asyousow.org’s program Invest Your Values. You can include certain companies and/or exclude certain companies.
3. Shareholder activism: If you are a shareholder in a company, you can vote in the annual board meeting. Proposals are increasingly values-based, for example, whether or not to report on racial diversity.
4. Invest in retirement with a sustainable option (and ask for one if it isn’t an option): Double check where your 401(k) is invested and pick an option that invests according to your values if you aren’t already invested in one. If you don’t see an option that works with your values, you can ask your employer to include a sustainable or ESG option, especially if it’s a smaller sized company.
Value investing is a great way to make sure you create a portfolio that is unique for you, Just remember to have a portfolio that takes your risk profile into account, along with diversification, your retirement timeline, and more.
Reminder: Use the Adulting Is Easy site for informational and educational purposes. Speak with certified experts about your specific investing needs.