Our Advisors
Todd Sirrine & Jake Oyler

Value Based Investing: How to Align Your Money with Your Mission

By Todd Sirrine
February 20, 2024
Value Based Investing

I remember once, while working at the headquarters of a global bank several years back, that I had forgotten something at the office and needed to grab it as we headed to the airport. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and we were traveling to be with our extended family. The office was closed. The executive floor was dark. All the lights were off as everyone had gone for the holiday. I grabbed the item I needed and then made for the elevators.

 

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the faint glow of light in the corner office and thought I’d better check as perhaps someone had left something on. As I entered the doorway, I found Wally, the senior VP of operations, with his feet on the credenza staring out the floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows of his office to the parkway below. “Wally”, I said, “It’s late – you should go home and be with your family for the holiday!” “This is my family”, he said coldly. “I’ve given up everything in my life to sit right here in this corner office, and now I don’t have anything else”.

 

The Realization: Investing in What Truly Matters

He’d accomplished his goal, but what he’d worked for wasn’t tied to anything he truly valued. It was pretty sad, really. All of us do that sometimes in small ways, I suppose. We tie effort and resources to things that don’t really matter. Sometimes we do that because we aren’t aware that we could change it or do anything about it. The resources that you have, your time, your money, your talent – should always be invested in things that you value. Have you ever thought about investing your time and money in ways that reflect your personal values and goals? There is a complete strategy built around that interest called “value based investing”. It’s a strategy that allows you to support the companies, initiatives, and causes that you actually care about.

 

The Growth of Value Based Investing

Value based investing is not a new concept. It has been around for decades, but it has gained popularity recently as more investors have become aware of the personal interest in environmental, social, and governance issues that affect the world. On a smaller scale, perhaps you’d like to see your money invested in company A rather than company B. Perhaps an ETF or mutual fund that covers companies and issues that are important to you personally as an investor.

 

Personalizing Your Investment Strategy

According to a Global Sustainable Investment Alliance report, sustainable assets reached $35.3 trillion in 2020, representing 36% of all professionally managed assets worldwide. This shows that more and more people are choosing to align their money with their mission. But what exactly is value based investing, and how can you get started? Here are some key points to consider:

 

Value Based Investing is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

It depends on your personal preferences, beliefs, and objectives. You can choose to invest in companies that promote positive social and environmental impact, such as renewable energy, health care, education, or diversity. You can also choose to avoid or divest from companies that engage in harmful or unethical practices – the key is the choices are personally meaningful to you.

 

Value Based Investing Can be Done Through Various Channels and Products.

You can invest directly in individual stocks or bonds of companies that match your values, or you can invest indirectly through mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or seek assistance from advisors that offer value-driven choices. You can also use your shareholder rights to vote or engage with companies on social issues or donate or lend your money to charitable or social enterprises that are meaningful to you. Value based investing is more than just a financial decision. It is a way to express your identity, values, and vision for the world. By investing in what you believe in, you can make a positive difference for yourself, your community, and the planet.

 

Investing from the Inside Out: A Charles Schwab Perspective

Analysts at Charles Schwab call this “Investing from the Inside Out”. Whether you’re just starting to think about investing or you’ve been investing for years, the inside-out approach can help you look at your investments (and the reasons behind them) in a whole new way—potentially making them feel more meaningful and more tied to your life.

 

Combined with smart investing habits and professional support, completing an inside-out plan could help you experience both financial and emotional benefits. For one thing, basing investments on internal, values-related goals—rather than arbitrary, external factors—may deliver better results. As for emotional benefits, aligning your investments with what’s meaningful to you could help produce feelings of:

 

  • Satisfaction by making progress toward what you want
  • Motivation by setting goals and planning to reach them
  • Resilience by knowing that a long-term plan can likely withstand short-term volatility
  • Accomplishment by taking an important step toward your future
  • Confidence by knowing your portfolio is tied to your life

 

Discovering Your “Why”:

Investing from the inside out starts with the heart, with your deepest values and most cherished aspirations. It starts with why you want to save and what you want to accomplish with your money. And it includes understanding at least some of what fuels your current approach to money and investing. Understanding the “why” beneath your desire to invest and the challenges and myths that could be holding you back will help free you to create a genuine, empowered plan for your financial future.

 

Working with Charles Schwab, our firm is making a free workbook available to help you find your “why.” Click the link in the section below to have one sent to you. No obligation – it’s just a workbook with some thought-provoking questions to help you get started.

Ensure that your time, energy, and resources are focused on what you value. If you’d like some help, let me know – I’d be pleased to be of service.

Investing From the

Inside Out

If you want to achieve your life goals and secure your assets but don’t know where to begin, questioning yourself can be a good start.

Find the why behind what you are doing and better understand your relationship with money with the help of this easy-to-follow workbook.

 

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As fiduciaries, we provide personalized, transparent, and impactful financial advice, fostering meaningful relationships that transform financial well-being into a source of empowerment and growth.

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