Invest Like You Give a Damn: Align Your Money with Your Values

by: Sara on 12/10/2017

Today's featured book in our 12 Gifts that Make a Difference book sale is  Invest Like You Give a Damn: Make Money, Change the World, Sleep Well at Night by Marc de Sousa Shields.  During the holidays, as we spend time trying to find gifts that align with our values, it is also a good time to think about where we are investing our money as well. Is your pension riddled with oil and defense companies? Do you want to make sustainable investments, but don't know where to start? Then pay attention as Marc offer Five Steps to get you on your way to aligning your money with your values.

It’s true every author wants you to buy their book.

Not me. I want you to buy my book, Invest Like You Give a Damn if you are going to use it: otherwise, from a sustainability perspective it's entirely beyond the point.  

But if my book can incite you to make even one sustainable investments, then please do buy it, use it, flog it, get the word out on how simple and rewarding sustainable investing can be.  

If you are unsure, or not yet not ready to align your money with your values, maybe I can convince you with these five tips, I hope will make you want to Invest Like You Give a Damn (ILYGAD).

  1. YOUR VALUES - Go to a mirror. Look in it, and remind yourself of the sustainability values you hold dear. Pristine environment? Poverty alleviation? Equality? What makes your sustainability ecosystem hum like so many crickets in the night?  Now, make a list of those values, then celebrate: dance a jig, drink an organic beer, be nice to your weird neighbor you’ve take the first step towards becoming a sustainable investor.  Want to go one step further? Check out the free and easy to use Morningstar investment information service. Search for investments which have sustainability performance ratings. Drop me a note if you see any surprises.
  2. SAVING: A SUSTAINABILITY TRIFECA- Less stuff equals fewer stresses on the natural environment and more money in your wallet; the more you save, the more you can invest sustainably; and, saving more will make retirement, or whatever you save for happen sooner and more comfortably. 

    Want to save well? If you do, I’ve but two words: automatic withdrawal. And no, automatic deposits into your 401k or equivalent (RRSP in Canada) is not enough. You must save more.  Where?  If you need the money in less than a year, a bank certificate of deposit (1.25% average return). More than a year, but less than two, consider a money market fund (1.35%) or even value equity stocks. Longer, the stock market is the place (50-year average return is around 7.0%).  Don’t know what this all means? You need my book!

  3. KNOW THY ECONOMIC SELF - To save or invest well, you need to understand your Economic Front Person (EFP). That is, the person you become when considering a purchase or investment. Are you a Saver? Spender? Investor? Perhaps a Debtor? Knowing your EFP, and that of your Significant Other (if you have one), is critical to maximizing savings, investment returns, and peace of mind.
    ILYGAD offers a simple exercise to set you free from the negative and harness the positive EFP impulses racing about in your mind at times of economic decision, helping you to shape achievable and happy financial objectives!
  4. ALLOCATE YOUR SAVINGS IN THE RIGHT INVESTMENTS – While some investment professionals find asset
    allocationconfining and dull, ILYGAD loves it.  
    Asset allocation is the practice of dividing your portfolio according to your investment goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon; or, how much you want to make, how afraid/ unafraid you are of the market, and how long it will be before you need the money you are investing. This translates into how much and what type of equity, bonds, or cash you should hold in your portfolio. Sound hard? Not at all, ILYGAD gives you simple five-step exercise to find your sustainable asset allocating profile – see the result in the box.
  5. BE WISE GET HELP -  I once had wise intern working with me at my consulting company. One time, we were hitting up a potential client who was balking at our prices. Without warning, a frustrated Jeb (the intern) interrupted, “If you truly want a quality job where you do none of the work yourself, our fee is the fee. If you want lower quality and to do much of the work, you and you team can take a course.  If you want to do all the work with uncertain results, buy a book.”
    Now, this may sound counter intuitive coming from a DYI book author! It’s not: rather, it’s a warning. ILYGAD provides comprehensive knowledge to help you take charge of your investments. But it also recognizes that if you feel at all uncomfortable about making investment decisions, you should GET HELP.

If you have the knowledge, time, and ability, and if investing cranks your gears, give it a go. For most of us, the effort to stay investment product, service, and tax stuff current, well it’s just not what the weekends were made for.  Paying for advice and/or trades can be worth it. That’s why, ILYGAD offers an extensive bonus chapter on how to assess potential financial professionals (e.g., titles, certifications, and legal requirements etc.)

There you have it. If you think you want to Invest Like You Give a Damn, maybe between us we can make a net positive sustainability impact, making you and the world better off for having bought it.

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