As you all know by now, I like to help others with solid, sound financial advice, life planning and by being a friend too. In doing so, I especially like to assist my clients who want to make the world a better place. If you’ve been reading my client stories, then you’ll find that to date, they’ve been about how I’ve helped to make a difference to their lives. However, this collection of very short stories highlights how I’ve helped my clients to make the world a better place to live in. The way I see it is that if we all care about the future and want to make a difference, then where we invest and what we do with our money can be done so positively and contribute to a better life on our planet for generations to come.
I’ve been a member of the Ethical Investment Association (EIA) and the UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) for about 20 years. In fact, just a few years ago, I wrote my own guide to ethical investment. If you’re interested in reading it, then go to my website and download it from the dedicated ethical investment web page (or ask my team for a hard copy).
On to my stories.
One of my clients, Aaron, is the chairman of a branch of the local Green Party. He stood in the December 2019 elections and as you’d expect, he’s extremely passionate about ethical issues. This client came to me for a financial review and was horrified when he discovered where his pension funds were invested! Luckily, I have notable experience in ethical investing so I could make the changes and ensure that his investments were consistent with his values. Since changing over his pension investments some time ago, Aaron has been happily investing in green, responsible ventures. Not only does this make him feel better about where he’s investing but he can attend his Green Party meetings safe in the knowledge that his ethical funds are outperforming his previous non-ethical funds! So you see, there is even more added value to ethical investing!
Charities and Ethical Investing
Amongst my clients, I have a wonderful couple in their sixties called Frances & Colin. Recently, they inherited a significant amount of money. As it so happens, before they inherited, they were already debt-free and lived quite a frugal life that was always supported by their existing income. They’d also had no previous experience in investing and came to me because of my ethical investment credentials.
Since discussing what to do with their inheritance with me, Frances & Colin have invested their funds into a terrific selection of ethical funds. Each of those funds is contributing in its own way to the health of the planet which gives them tremendous peace of mind. In fact, the couple don’t want the income from their portfolio and instead, they’re contributing it annually to a range of worthy charities.
Only recently I completed their estate planning and set up a trust in favour of a discretionary range of charities. Frances & Colin feel so much better that I’ve solved their “money problem” – as they liked to call their inheritance! That’s because when I met them, they were genuinely concerned that their inheritance couldn’t be put to good use.
Frances and Colin are so grateful that I’ve been there to help them and for me, there’s no greater feeling than working with such fantastic people with strong values!
I also have other clients who’ve set up educational trusts or eco-environmental projects. For these clients, it’s really important to them that their trust monies are invested ethically.
That “Feel Good” Factor!
I’d also like to point out that the need to feel good about investing applies equally as well to ordinary investors. I’m talking about those people who save into a pension or regularly contribute to an ISA (Individual Savings Account) and want to make sure their money’s invested responsibly. For these people, looking at the financial return on their investments is insufficient. They’re seeking that “Feel Good” factor – which means they want to know that whatever money they have is contributing to a better future for everyone.
What’s the Point in a Pension if The Planet Won’t Be Worth Living On?
To close, I can do no better than quote one of my new clients, Alice, who is just 32 years old. She recently started investing into a pension, and when she came to me, she said, “What is the point in investing into a pension if the world isn’t going to be worth living in when I retire? We all have to do our bit to save the planet.” I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I was so impressed by my client’s passion that I set up her pension without charging a fee – perhaps that’s another small contribution to her future!