Invest In This, Not That: Advice for Investing Your Personal Portfolio

Jeremy Pearce is a Financial Advisor with Progressive Asset Management, the socially responsible affiliate of Financial West Group.

I need you and everyone you know to be socially responsible investors.  Your age or socio-economic status doesn’t matter. Your investment experience doesn’t matter, whether you are a new investor or have been investing in a retirement account for 25 years.  You can still achieve your financial objectives AND promote positive social change.  Socially responsible investing (SRI) gives power back to the investor—the shareholder—who wants to see our businesses be better community members.  As a socially responsible financial advisor, I help my clients daily make responsible investment decisions that do just that.

As a recent grad new to investing, you should ask yourself three questions.  One, what issues are important and how do I want my investments to screen them?  Two, do I want a retirement account, or a non-retirement account?  Three, what is my investment profile, that is, risk tolerance and investment objectives?  The answers are like fingerprints.  However, a young investor might say, “I want an investment that eliminates companies that have a poor history of employee relations and includes those companies that provide a fair wage and benefit package. “  She’ll continue, “I need to start saving for retirement, I want to be an aggressive investor, and I want to see my investments grow!”  Bingo!!

Obviously, I recommend you call a financial professional, like myself!  Advisors who specialize in SRI are able to discuss the different screens out there as well as how to construct and monitor an appropriate portfolio given your needs and wants.  But if you must do it on your own, seek a well-diversified, socially-screened mutual fund.  Some funds are comprised of a fixed mix of stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents, and can be rebalanced periodically to help with capital appreciation, (ahem, growth).  These funds have varying minimums for the initial investment, but a recent graduate would be wise to set up a monthly deposit and investment arrangement, commonly referred to as a periodic investment plan.

Socially responsible investments are growing in popularity and variety, due in large part to their successes as agents of change and better-than-expected returns.  However, we always need more socially responsible investors.  So, get started.  Call an advisor if you can.  But most importantly, accomplish your financial goals AND make the world a better place.  We all need you to do this.

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