Why It’s So Hard to Invest With a Social Conscience

Friday, March 2, 2018

Peer under the hood of your mutual fund or portfolio of index investments. If you’re like most people, you’ll find that you own shares of at least a few companies that make you squeamish. Perhaps you no longer wish to make money when Equifax collects and sells your data, especially when it has proved that it can’t do so safely. Or perhaps you have soured on big banks that treat customers poorly.

And it should come as no surprise that in the wake of the deadly Florida school shooting, some people would want to use their largest pool of capital — their investment portfolios — to single out the gun industry.

For those so inclined, the good news is this: There are more opportunities than ever to invest with a conscience. One firm, Wealthfront, will even let you strip individual American companies that rub you the wrong way from one of the index-fund-like portfolios it creates for you.

But with all these choices comes a fair bit of confusion. To land the biggest blow with whatever investing dollars you have, you’ll first need to confront at least seven challenges.

Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo.

Source: New York Times (link opens in a new window)

ESG, impact investing