When it comes to making a difference in the world, young people are greedy. Recent research shows that 79 percent of millenials want to invest in a way that has both a social and financial impact. It can’t just be about making more money. Welcome to impact investing.
For our latest episode of Be Your Change, Juliette Roy sat down with Rosa Lee Harden, a leader in this movement. Harden co-founded Social Capital Markets, or SOCAP, a large network of investors and entrepreneurs who want money to flow towards the greater good. Roy caught up with Harden at the group’s tenth annual conference in San Francisco.
Each choice we make counts: what we choose to consume or not consume; who we work with; and what stories listen to. Every action matters, and small actions can have big social impacts in the world. No matter how much money you have, you can make a difference. Here are four ways to start:
Know Your Bank, Know Their Values
Where your paycheck goes every month can make a difference. The city of Seattle recently cut ties with Wells Fargo for the bank’s support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. That took more than $3 billion of cash flow out of the hands of Wells Fargo.
While your monthly direct deposit isn’t in the billions, you can still be thoughtful about where you put it. Harden suggests looking at credit unions or a local bank instead of the major multinationals. “You should allow your money to be co-mingled with the money of other people who are thinking about their values in the same way you are,” she told us.
Check Your Retirement Accounts
Harden said a goal of the SOCAP Conference is to educate people so you “don’t just hand your retirement funds to some relative stranger and say just make me some money.”
Instead, consider whether your retirement money is invested with companies that match your values. You might also want to look into socially-conscious funds from places like Vanguard.
Look at Your Shopping Habits
Think twice when you buy a product. Are you perpetuating a bad system? Or are you supporting companies with a social impact mission? “Start looking more carefully at food labels,” Harden suggested. She continued: “Is it grown in a way that is good for the planet? Or, look at your clothing options and make sure that at least a few things that you buy came from a factory that didn’t use slave labor in any way.” Brands like Les Lunes are making eco-friendly fashion.
Invest Your Time
Time is money, right? So if you don’t have extra cash to invest, consider how you’re investing your time. Volunteer, do pro bono work, or advocate for a worthy cause. You’re guaranteed to make an impact.
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