Align your investments with your values

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Someone asked me the other day whether I support the business models of all the companies I own – directly through stocks or indirectly through mutual funds. The answer is: of course I do!

Your values are important aspects of who you are. Most of us strive to live as we preach, and this is just as important – if not more important – when it comes to investments. By purchasing a company’s equity or bonds, you demonstrate your support and facilitate its operations. So it is no surprise that ethical funds – dedicated to making their investors money without jeopardizing key values and beliefs – abound. No matter what your passions – or pet peeves – are, chances are your financial advisor can help you find a fund that shares them – and that can make you money.

If you want to break it down further and buy stock in companies that share your values and contribute to the world in a way that matters to you, consider hiring a knowledgeable advisor, who can tell you which of the companies within the field you seek can make you money, too. At the end of the day, investment advisors: some are excellent, while some are not so excellent — so be careful whom you trust.

A brilliant example is green energy. With an ever-increasing number of people concerned about global warming, companies exploring and developing geothermal projects have popped up like mushrooms in the fall. When many people believe in the same thing, capital is easily accessible, meaning even not-so-good companies are able to stay in business. To complicate things further, government subsidies are keeping unprofitable businesses afloat. By having someone identify the companies with real experts in their staff and truly promising projects, not only do you greatly enhance your chances of making yourself a killing. Perhaps even more importantly, by supporting the winners you also do the environment a favor, as the more efficiently we use alternative sources of energy, the less fossil fuels we need.

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