Ethical Investing (or “socially responsible investing”) is a way to invest in something good. For all one-percenters, it offers a hope of redemption. And for all of you who actually earned your money through hard work, it offers a great way to give back even more than you already do (and you probably already give back a lot, right?).
If you’re in the one percent, this guide to ethical investing will save your soul. If you’re not in the one percent but have some money to give, congratulations on being awesome. This guide will help you to choose where to invest your money.
You’ve worked hard. You’ve been smart with your money. Your bank statements look great. And your credit rating score is pushing 900. Now you want to put your money into something that matters. You want to give back. Or, you’re a one-percenter and you just don’t know what the hell to do with all this money stuff that keeps growing on your trees, but you’ve become bored of being selfish, so what do you do now?
If you want to invest in something good, what should you give your money to?
If I were smart and had the right attitude, I would tell you to put your money to TheDailyMeditation to help us grow and to stop me from being so damn poor. But I’m not smart. That’s why I make less than minimum wage working for something I truly believe in (the enlightened lifestyle).
So instead, let me suggest that you master the art of ethical investing.
What is Ethical Investing / socially responsible investing? Will it make America great again, or what?
Being smart and rich (one-percenters) or having actually gone to university and worked your socks off (everyone else), you know that ethical investing is about… er…investing ethically. But there is a lot more to it than that.
People are becoming more and more aware of the damage being done to the world and of the (too many) issues that the world faces. Because of this, people are choosing to invest ethically. This isn’t about investing your money in the right stocks so you’ll get paid dividends (what does that even feel like; God, how I wish I knew).
People are now choosing to make ethical investments that are socially responsible.
Of course, to clarify, “ethical investing” doesn’t need to be about finance. Resources are resources. I personally ethically invest in the world every day by helping people to learn to live enlightened lifestyles and by helping people to find happiness and inner peace (it’s rewarding, just doesn’t pay). Ethical investing can be about giving back in terms of time and effort rather than just cold hard cash.
Ethical investing is simply about putting your money / resources into something you believe will be for the greater good.
Obviously that will confuse you one-percenters. “The greater good”?! Sounds kinda kinky. You’ve spent your entire life making money for your own sake. The idea of now going from utterly selfish to actually putting your money into something that matters might be mind blowing to you.
So, let’s look at it like you’re five.
You have money.
That money could be spent on you.
But after so many years you’re now bored of being selfish.
You are slowly learning to be more enlightened.
So, you’re now going to put your money somewhere else
You’re going to invest in something good.
Or, the non-one-percenter version: money can help the world; let’s do that.
The one-percenters are confused. Let’s look again at Socially Responsible Investing
Socially Responsible Investing is about putting your money into ideals that you personally believe in. Some people put their money into making America great again. But let’s just go out on a limb and presume that you are not a douchebag. In that instance, you might like to put your money into sustainable, green developments.
Remember, one-percenters: Use your money to do something that is good for someone other than just you. And you guys who actually earned your money… well, you probably already put your money towards good things, like your family, so congrats, but we can go further.
Here’s how to choose what to invest your money in:
- Look for companies that share your beliefs: Once-percenters; because you’re now old-ish, you’ve gotten over being a playboy, you’ve realised that you have at least some depth to your character hidden away down there. Maybe you’ve even discovered that you have beliefs. If so, look for companies that share your beliefs. You belief that companies should treat those low-down subordinate employees properly? Congratulations. Now find a company that does likewise and invest in that.
- Put your money where it will be of influence: You love power. Because you’re in the one percent. Power is like your candy. Or, you feel somewhat gratified by power because you worked your butt off to get it. Thankfully, your ethical investing can also be a source of power. You want to make sure that your money is put somewhere where it will actually influence the company. For instance, if you go and buy stocks online for British Gas, you’re money will not grant you any power. You might make money. But because the company is so damn loaded already they don’t care about you, don’t need your money, and you wont have any influence. So choose companies you will actually influence.
- Invest in the community: Community investing is the fastest growing sector of Socially Responsible Investing. Now, one-percenters, when we say “community investing” we’re not talking about your pad in San Francisco. We mean supporting communities around the world that actually need help. You know, like starving kids in Africa and places like that. Socially responsible investing / ethical investing, is about making your money help those in need. Not your Butler Jeeves, he’s doing okay; we mean people who are starving and dying.
Don’t just trust those companies. Use positive and negative screening. Get a “socially screened portfolio”
Once percent, because you’re loaded, you already own stocks in companies and you like to discuss those companies while sun-bathing on your yacht. And you guys who actually earned your money, you chek your stocks everyday to make sure that you’ll be able to pay your kids college fund.
But you might not have tried positive and negative screening. Yes, those companies in your stock portfolio, mutual funds and pension plans; they need to be monitored. Why? Because now that you’re more enlightened you might not like to profit from certain activities. If a company is animal testing you might not to get rid of them, even though they’re making you money.
Yes, that’s a mind-bender for you one-percenters. But remember: Ethical investing is about spending money on something good.
Company screening is about looking at both the positive and negative influence that a company is having on society and on the world. Thankfully, there are companies that can help you with this. Consider looking into “socially screened portfolios”. These are portfolios that have been tested for ethics.
The company screen process is simple. It’s broken down into positive screening and negative screening. Negative screening is about punishing companies that use unethical methods, like animal testing (those guinea pigs are living beings, respect them) and off-shoring labour to third world countries so they can pay some poor starving man a buck a week. Positive screening is about looking favorably at companies that have a good influence. Maybe the company is environmentally friendly. That’s a plus.
Thanks to socially screen portfolios, it’s easy to find the right company to invest in, meaning even you one percenters can invest in something good.
All right, one percenters. You’ve made it this far. I’m proud of you. And everyone else, thanks for reading, and keep up your good work.