About the author: Lamar Watson, CFP®, is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor in the Washington, D.C. area that works with clients virtually across the country. Lamar's work with his clients focuses on budgeting, employee benefits, paying down debt, buying their first home, and investing. Lamar is the Founder of Dream Financial Planning, a virtual Fiduciary Financial Planning firm specifically designed to help young professionals and minorities take control of their finances and fulfill their dreams. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how we use the DREAM Financial Planning Process ™ to help our clients achieve their goals.
Earth Day is on Friday, April 22. Celebrate Mother Earth by taking the day to get outside, enjoy nature, and consider your role in your community.
We all want to make small changes to make the world a better place, and some of these changes can take place through your investment portfolio! This article discusses Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, how to get started, and the difference it can make for both your investments and the environment.
Discover ESG Investing
ESG investing is a strategy that allows investors to build a more ethical portfolio. ESG investments are very strict in what they include, and the criteria determining this classification are directly tied to a company’s structure and performance rather than personal values.
Here are some factors that are considered by each category:
- Carbon emissions
- Air and water pollution
- Water usage
- Fossil fuel/green energy usage
- Employee diversity
- Customer satisfaction
- Employee protection
- Sexual harassment and protected class policies
- Fair labor practices
- Human rights
- Board member diversity
- Executive salaries
- Conflicts of interest
- Shareholder rights
Investments can have an ESG score that determines how well they adhere to the given guidelines and consider the above factors.
The Rise of ESG Investing
Not only can ESG investing be better for the environment and social justice, but it can also be great for investors. According to Forbes, ESG funds outperformed non-ESG funds based on annualized returns over the last 3-, 5-, and 10-year periods.1 ESG funds also outperformed non-ESG funds and the stock market in risk-adjusted returns.
It is no surprise that ESG funds have become more popular for investors of all backgrounds. According to Fast Company, investors poured about $120 billion into sustainable investments in 2021, more than double the $51 billion in ESG investments in 2020. About one-third of all assets contain sustainable investments.2
Plus, the diverse availability of different ESG investment funds may fit more directly with your values, such as investing in a company that is championing green energy initiatives or is working to become carbon neutral or even carbon negative.
How to Get Started with ESG Investing
If you’ve decided that ESG investing is aligned with your personal goals and values, it’s easy to get started.
The first method is to examine your portfolio and include ESG companies. You can find ESG investments that align with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and personal values by doing your research. You can open your own brokerage account or work with a robo-advisor platform to manage your ESG portfolio. ESG investments can include both individual stocks and mutual funds.
Another option is to work with a financial advisor who has experience with ESG investing. Look for an investor who believes in being a good global citizen through their business practices and the investment options they offer their clients.
From recycling and cutting out single-use plastic to cleaning up the streets, parks, and beaches by your house, there are many ways to get outside and celebrate Earth Day. ESG investing can be a lasting strategy to help you create a portfolio that reflects your values. As we grow as a global community and educate each other on ways to protect our planet, we will likely see an even more dramatic increase in ESG investing.
Dream Financial Planning Process ™
Whether you're managing student loan debt, starting a family, or considering buying your first home, the DREAM Financial Planning Process™ is tailored to the unique needs of busy professionals in their 30s and 40s. This process focuses more on short-term goals while you grow and evolve in your personal and professional life. So if you're looking for guidance on Financial Planning, optimizing employee benefits, budgeting, student loans, and managing your 401k or investments, we can help.
With uncertainty surrounding the economic stability of our country, it's okay to have fears and anxieties surrounding your own savings and investments. The most productive course of action from here is to reach out to Dream Financial Planning (or whoever your trusted advisor might be) and discuss your options. It's easy to have knee-jerk reactions when it feels like the bottom is falling out, but it is imperative to make decisions using research-backed data and a level head. If you'd like a Complimentary Review and risk assessment of your investment portfolio, feel free to send me an e-mail.
In the January Newsletter, there's a chart that shows you how often you should expect a market correction. I discuss how a Financial Advisor can help you avoid emotional decision-making with U.S. News and World Report and how to know if your Financial Advisor is the right fit for you. There's also a blog post where I share a PDF checklist, What Issues Should I Consider At The Start Of The Year 2022, to help guide you for the rest of the year. If you find any of this information helpful, feel free to sign up to receive future newsletters via e-mail.
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Disclaimer: Dream Financial Planning, LLC does not warrant that this information will be free from error. None of the information provided on this website is intended as investment, tax, accounting, or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as an endorsement of any company, security, fund, or other securities or non-securities offering. The information should not be relied upon for purposes of transacting securities or other investments. Your use of the information is at your sole risk. Under no circumstances shall Dream Financial Planning, LLC be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or consequential damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, the materials in this site, even if Dream Financial Planning, LLC or a Dream Financial Planning, LLC authorized representative has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Please consult with your own advisor before making any changes to your Financial Plan, Investments, or Insurance coverage.