Sunday, August 23, 2009

Socially Responsible Investing

I finally feel ready to get back in the market again. No, not Whole Foods, I'm still boycotting that place, but the stock market. I'm actually kind of excited because I'm going to be investing with a new attitude! Cautious can describe my new attitude (who isn't after last year), but consciousness is the perfect descriptor. I am going to be a socially responsible investor (SRI) and invest in companies that not only perform financially, but also meet certain employee/community relations, social governance and environmental metrics. The good news is that these types of investments have performed as well as and in many cases better than their peers. The Domini 400 (400 SRI companies) has outperformed the S&P 500 over the years. I plan to speak with my broker about a few mutual funds in this category that are doing well so far this year, Appleseed Fund (35.21% ytd) and Pax World High Yield Bond Fund (27.42% ytd). I will also inquire about Ariel Funds, founded by African American John Rogers, Jr. Click here for details on these popular SRI funds and others. You can go to any bank and ask to speak to an investment officer and there should be someone available to service your needs, even if you are new to investing and have minimal dollars. Don't be surprised though if they are ignorant about socially responsible investments; while SRI's have been around for decades now, and hold assets of $2.71 trillion, some brokers are clueless. So you want to be armed with a little homework. Stick with me this week and I will share my research with you.

Show me the money baby! Hmm. Now, show me how you made it.


Ron Robins said...

Good post, great comments on socially responsible investing. Concerning brokers/financial planners, etc., you're right, they still need a lot more education regarding SRI and I'm helping in my own small way to do that.

For myself, I believe that when we invest in a company, or many companies in the case of a mutual fund, we share in the responsibility for the activities of those companies as well as participate in the outcomes of their corporate activities. So, anyone valuing their personal or spiritual growth has to take these things into account when investing.

Also, if everyone invests according to their personal values, then, since so many of our core values are alike — and are supportive of higher ideals — that in the long run, only companies employing these higher values will truly prosper. And there is real evidence of this now.

I advocate, teach, and write on the subject of personal values based investing -- and have a popular website that has unique information which might interest you. It includes the latest global socially responsible investing news and research. My site is at

Best wishes, Ron Robins

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