The Dramatic Growth of Sustainable Investing

The Dramatic Growth of Sustainable Investing

An important part of financial planning includes creating a Living Trust. It means that your family will inherit your assets as you have planned.

Another kind of financial planning: Investing that aligns with your values

Another kind of financial planning that has grown dramatically over the last few years is socially responsible investing (SRI). Also called impact-, sustainable- and values-based investing, SRI is a investing that helps people and/or organizations align their investments with their personal values.

A Morgan Stanley survey found that 75% of individual investors and 86% of millennials are interested in sustainable investing. But it’s not just a millennial thing, and it’s not just about politics. Things like climate change and equality transcend politics. Last year tied for the warmest on record, and Black Lives Matter protests sprang up across the U.S. following George Floyd’s death.

There are good reasons for SRI. It ensures that you’re not putting your money toward something you oppose for moral or religious reasons. SRI is a mature field with decades of history, but until recently it’s been relatively small and stable. The last few years have brought a significant increase in visibility, demand and a proliferation of new, sustainable investment products.

To assess sustainability based on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors, investors look at a broad range of behaviors:

  • Environmental criteria include a company’s energy use, waste, pollution, natural resource conservation and treatment of animals.For example, are there issues related to its ownership of contaminated land, disposal of hazardous waste, management of toxic emissions, or its compliance with environmental regulations?
  • Social criteria may look at the company’s business relationships. Does it work with suppliers that support the same values? Does the company donate a percentage of its profits to the local community or encourage employees to perform volunteer work. Is there salary equity between men and women?
  • Governance may examine whether or not a company uses accurate and transparent accounting methods and that stockholders are given an opportunity to vote on important issues. They may also want assurances that companies avoidconflicts of interest.

People are asking questions about corporations’ social impact. Many companies and fund managers are now publishing a Corporate Responsibility Report. This means that companies are self-reporting on their efforts to have a positive impact on the environment, social causes and culture.

What’s next for SRI?

  • Climate change is a big focus for President Joe Biden, which could further boost ESG funds, experts say.
  • There has been a rise in assets in SRI, to $12 trillion at the beginning of 2018, up from $8.72 trillion at the beginning of 2016, according to a US/SIF Foundation report on investing trends.
  • According to Morningstar, ESG funds captured $51.1B of net new money from investors in 2020, a record that more than doubled from 2019.

Financial planning and your Living Trusts

Our Living Trust package includes a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive. Having these legal documents in place now can help avoid confusion later on. We learned an important lesson from Covid: Once patients were infected with the virus, they were in no condition to be signing legal documents. We guide you through the process, and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

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janet
jpeischel@top-mindmarketing.com