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Can You ‘Vote’ with Your Investments?

The simple answer is yes. Every monetary choice we make says something about what is important to us, and every monetary choice we make supports a business, a cause, or a person. More importantly, every monetary choice we make is ours to make.

In order to have a positive impact with one’s money and invest in alignment with one’s values and ethics, the first step is to be honest with oneself. We have to ask ourselves, “What are the values and ethics that we want to embody?”

Once we understand and acknowledge what our top priorities are, we need to know our options. There are many choices out there, including retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, health insurance, college savings, automobile insurance, liability insurance, and bank accounts.

Easy Ways to Get Started

  1. Select a financial adviser or resource that understands your values and ethics (preferably someone with similar values) and check their background, their Facebook and other social media accounts, and make a point of asking them what they think of the issues that matter the most to you.
  2. Research the company behind the product or adviser. How long has the company existed? What kind of complaints have been filed? What is the company structure? Are they locally owned, and/or do they employ locals in executive positions?
  3. Use high ESG-rated companies (environmental, social, governance—factors used to measure a company’s positive and negative impact on a community, the environment, and within the company itself).
  4. Add SRI funds to your portfolio (sustainable, responsible and impact investing—an approach that considers environmental, social and governance factors in making portfolio selections).
  5. Be honest with yourself and your adviser.

Common Mistakes

The two biggest mistakes people make are, one, trying to do it alone or trusting the wrong person. Don’t do this alone. Ask an expert’s advice, but don’t simply select a friend’s friend or cousin as your resource based on the assumption of trust; make a selection based on common values and ethics.

The other mistake people make is not being honest with themselves. If your top priority is seeing your money grow instead of voting with your dollar, be honest about it and ask to see the numbers. Compare quotes or performance charts, and you may find that you can achieve similar and sometimes better results without sacrificing your values and ethics.

For more information on financial planning, contact Tania Horowitz Fukuda—a financial services professional with New York Life Insurance Company (841 Bishop St., Ste. 1900, Honolulu) and NYLIFE Securities LLC (member FINRA/SIPC)—at 808-388-6103 or TFukuda@ft.NewYorkLife.com



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