SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING: DOING WELL WHILE DOING GOOD
Have you ever considered the impact your investments make? Have you looked at the companies in which you’re investing and considered how they contribute to global problems or solutions? If you’ve wanted your investments to align with your values, you’re not alone. You just might not realize there’s a way to do so.
The Growth of Socially Responsible Investing
Socially responsible investing (also known as sustainable, ethical, or conscious investing) is an investment strategy that aims to consider both financial return and social good to inspire social change. Think of it as an opportunity for doing well while doing good. Socially responsible investing, or SRI, has increased in popularity over the years, growing 76% between 2012 and 2014 from $3.74 trillion to $6.57 trillion assets, according to Envestnet PMC.
Particularly since the Trump presidency and a slew of government policy changes, demand for SRI has continued to steadily increase. Additionally, Millennials have shown significant interest in SRI, which has contributed to the growth. Investors want to be able to invest in companies that support issues they care about, whether that’s social programs, education, or the environment. Individuals investors can essentially target their concerns through their investment behavior and consumption decisions.
Does Socially Responsible Investing Make Sense For You?
Investing in companies that support causes you care about while also generating returns is appealing to many investors, which is likely why SRI has steadily increased. However, opinions are still mixed about the impact of SRI strategies on performance. Some studies claim that socially responsible investments don’t perform as well as traditional stock market funds. Additionally, some of these investments come with higher annual fees. And, depending on the type of company in which you wish to invest, such as wind, solar, or other alternative energy funds, you may face more volatility.
Morningstar reports that the average U.S. SRI mutual fund trails the benchmark S&P 500 index, but many funds that don’t fall into the SRI category have also fallen behind the market. As you can see, the jury is still out on whether or not sustainable portfolios experience a performance penalty.
Generally speaking, professionals recommend identifying reasons to invest in a stock, rather than focus on avoiding ones you don’t align with. Instead of focusing on stocks you don’t want to invest in, research those that you want to support.
Like any financial strategy, balance is key. Depending on your specific goals, you can incorporate SRIs into your portfolio. This gives you the opportunity to generate returns and save for your future while also supporting companies with social missions that align with your values.
The first place to start is to speak with a financial advisor and discuss your investment goals, your social values, and how they can integrate. At Archer Investment Management, our investment approach is disciplined, unemotional, and highly diversified and we favor objective advice to “hot stocks” of the moment. The philosophy we follow is based on the science of investing that drowns out the noise of the media and focuses on time-tested and thoroughly-researched strategies that have been proven to drive returns, reduce volatility, and simplify the investment process.
Providing comprehensive investment guidance, we can help you evaluate your SRI opportunities. Contact our office at 800-840-5946 or click here to schedule a phone call.
Take Advantage of our Austin Energy $100 Rebate
For most of us, one of our biggest investments is our home. As such, we often want to improve it, making it the best it can be with the hope of seeing a significant return when we sell.
One of the big buzzwords in the homeownership world right now is sustainability. People are becoming more aware of how their lifestyles affect the environment and want to do their part to address climate change. One way to do this is to power your home with 100% renewable energy. But how can you do this without breaking the bank? Is it a worthwhile investment?
WHAT IS RENEWABLE ENERGY?
First, a definition is in order. Simply put, renewable energy is electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, sunlight, biogas, and tidal energy. Energy from these sources is limitless and clean and it does not add pollution to the atmosphere. Non-renewable energy sources like coal and natural gas have environmental costs, such as emissions into our air and water.
Is It Worth The Cost?
One question many people have is whether or not switching to renewable energy will save them money down the road. I recently had a financial planning client asking about this exact topic. They wanted to do their part to address climate change by powering their home with 100% renewable energy and asked if they could afford a large solar array on the roof of their home.
The problem was that a solar array big enough to completely power their home was going to cost almost $20,000. When we crunched the numbers, we realized it might take about ten years for them to recoup the upfront costs. Instead of the high initial investment of a solar array, I suggested another solution that would upgrade their home to 100% renewable energy sources for less than $100 extra per year. At that price, my client was intrigued. Are you?
The Power of Wind
Currently, fossil fuels make up 81.5% of U.S. energy production and about 40% of total US energy consumption is from the residential and commercial sectors. (1) However, renewable energy production was at record highs in 2016. From a local perspective, Austin Energy generates about 30% of its energy from wind, solar, and biomass. (2)
Wind power is a net zero energy source, meaning it has zero fuel cost, produces zero emissions, and requires zero water use for production. If you live in Austin, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the GreenChoice program, which allows you to support renewable energy by ensuring Austin Energy purchases Texas wind energy to match 100% of your usage instead of energy produced with fossil fuels. (3) When you subscribe to GreenChoice, you make a lasting contribution to Austin's quality of life and take a leadership role in moving Austin toward its community goal of 55% renewable energy by 2025 and 100% by 2050.
Subscribing to GreenChoice means that Austin Energy can purchase wind energy to meet your needs instead of electricity produced from natural gas or coal-fired power plants. Relying less on fossil fuel combustion for energy means less air pollution and less water wasted in drought-prone Texas. Your purchase of GreenChoice energy supports the growth of the renewable energy industry in Texas, which creates new jobs in the state and produces new revenues for school districts.
In 2016, Austin Energy GreenChoice customers invested in more than 719 million kWh of renewable energy. This translates into reduced carbon emissions equivalent to the impact of more than 11 million trees. If that isn’t enough to entice you to make this change, the average Austin residential customer can switch to wind energy for about an additional $6.70 per month with no contract, no subscription fees, and no penalty for unsubscribing. Additionally, new and existing Archer Investment Management clients who switch to Austin's GreenChoice program will receive a one-time $100 discount off our fees.
Other actions we take
Here at the Archer Investment Management office, we reduce our impact. We live close to our office, run our practice as paperless as possible and on 100% wind energy. Also, we are pursuing B Corporation certification, which is a community of verified corporations who meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Read more about what it means to have B Corp standards here.
Join our goals
Investing in companies that support causes you care about while also generating returns is appealing to many investors. If you’ve wanted your investments to align with your values, contact our office at 800-840-5946 or click here to schedule a phone call.