Is Socially Responsible Investing Right for You? 5 Ways to Tell

Social responsibility and love for the environment go hand in hand. Surprisingly, so do social responsibility and love for ROI.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s absolutely possible to remain true to your most deeply held principles and earn a competitive return at the same time. The key lies in socially responsible investing, a discipline that (per USSIF, a U.S. social investing consortium) “considers environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact.”

Like all investing strategies, socially responsible investing isn’t for everyone. Before changing your portfolio allocations or adopting an entirely new approach to managing your money, check with a money management firm, ideally one that focuses on Canadian investors.

  1. You Care Passionately About Social Causes

If you didn’t have a passion for protecting the earth’s bounty, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But socially responsible investing works best when it’s not focused on a single source of good.

The lowest-cost socially responsible funds tend to be broadly diversified, meaning they invest in dozens or even hundreds of friendly companies. If you’re investing in individual stocks, it’s in your interest to diversify your portfolio across a wide range of industries — meaning you’ll likely invest in some companies that benefit the environment, some that support social justice causes, some that aim to improve human health, some that empower individual consumers, and so on.

  1. You’re Willing to Take a More Active Approach to Money Management

No, you don’t have to embrace the wild, wonderful world of day trading. But you do have to take a certain degree of ownership over your funds. That’s because the most passive investing strategies tend to focus on index funds and other instruments that don’t filter for socially responsible status.

Put another way, the broader market isn’t yet quite responsible enough for socially responsible investors to put their trust in ultra low-cost passive strategies.

  1. You Care About More Than the Bottom Line

Are you willing to give up some return potential for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your money is in the right place? Then socially responsible investing is for you. To be clear, not all socially responsible investments underperform the broader market. But periods of relatively anemic performance aren’t out of the question, either — for instance, renewable energy stocks tend to underperform oil and gas stocks when energy prices are low.

  1. You’re Willing to Accept Some Risk

Every investment carries some measure of risk, of course. However, many socially responsible firms are riskier than their established, less responsible counterparts. Though the renewable energy industry has some titans, many green companies are relative newbies. Ditto for companies committed to social justice causes or charitable works.

  1. You’re Given the All Clear by Your Financial Advisor (Or Do Your Own Thorough Due Diligence)

Last, but not least: don’t switch up your investing strategy, even for a good cause, without first consulting a financial advisor or conducting your own due diligence. Socially responsible investments aren’t going anywhere, but you want to make sure you’re doing right by your hard-earned money.

Are you invested in any socially responsible instruments? Why or why not?

 

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3 Must-See Landmarks on America’s East Coast

If a trip up America’s East Coast is on your bucket list, then this year may be the time to get your plans in motion. With a mixture of large cities and historical landmarks along the route, you won’t be short of places to explore.

When planning your road trip, make sure your itinerary includes these three must-see natural landmarks to get a good flavour of what the East Coast has to offer.

 

  • Hanging Rock State Park

 

Located in North Carolina, Hanging Rock State Park is perfect for those who want to add a scenic hike to their holiday. With over 18 miles of trails, you can explore the numerous peaks and waterfalls that are located around the park and stay in the overnight accommodation, with a campground and cabins available.

Set over the highest peaks of the Sauratown Mountains, you can enjoy the stunning view of the surrounding landscape, or enjoy some of the activities on offer, such as boating, fishing, swimming and mountain biking.

 

  • Niagara Falls

 

A visit to Niagara Falls is a must when travelling up the East Coast. Comprised of three waterfalls – the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls – it is famed for its beauty.

A memorable way to see the falls is on a Maid of the Mist boat, which takes visitors right to the base of the falls – it passes so close that passengers are provided with ponchos and rain gear to protect them from the spray. For a tour by a local guide, take a look at the range of group adventures to the falls on offer, which are available with travel companies such as Trek America.

 

  • Acadia National Park

 

Experience the 47,000 acres of landscape in Acadia National Park, located on the coast of Maine. One of its best-known sites is Cadillac Mountain, which stands at 1,530 feet and is the tallest mountain along the East Coast of the US – perfect for taking in the spectacular beauty of Mount Desert Island.

Attracting over two million tourists a year, Acadia is popular with families, hikers, photographers and anyone with a love of nature. Explore the park by enjoying activities such as rock climbing, kayaking or biking.

Don’t miss out on the stunning natural landscapes that a trip to the East Coast has to offer. Add our three top landmarks to your itinerary when planning your trip to America for a holiday you’ll be talking about for years to come.

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Why You Should Have an eWallet if You Don’t Have One Already

eWallets are becoming a major asset to both business owners and consumers. The reason for this trend is that eWallets allow consumers and business owners to connect these eWallets to their bank accounts and facilitate efficient transactions. What is remarkable about eWallets is that they are available during non-traditional banking hours and even have become available in other countries. For the consumer or business owner that wants to shop, transfer money or pay their bills by using eWallets, they absolutely can. By doing so, they will also save time and money in the process. Here are the fundamental concepts to understand about eWallets:

http://digitalwallet.weebly.com/advantages–disadvantages.html

What is an eWallet Exactly?

eWallets fill in the void that the online consumer had previously regarding always having to enter their information into every transaction they were conducting on the Internet. Where eWallets are particularly helpful is that they provide an additional security in the consumer has a verification stage where they enter their credit card number and contact details before making a purchase. eWallets are essentially the middle man in a transaction that create instant purchasing transactions for consumers to enjoy around the globe. eWallets have also become ideal ways to send money to friends and family electronically, which has eliminated the need many times to take out cash from an ATM.

The Biggest Perks of Having an eWallet

eWallets have opened up a whole other way of spending and transferring money that did not exist in prior years. Some of the major players in the industry are companies such as iDebit, Instadebit, and iDeal that have been particularly amongst Canadian consumers. Additional eWallet companies that have become quite popular on the global scale are PayPal and TransferWise. What all of these companies have in common is an added efficiency to transferring money that did not exist ten years ago between individuals both domestically and abroad.

Where eWallets truly benefit consumers is their direct connectivity to the consumer’s bank account without giving their financial information to the plethora of merchants that they will be spending money with. For this reason, it is very both convenient and safe for consumers to use. Another benefit to consumers that use eWallets is that they can purchase a great deal more on the Internet than ever before because many Internet websites are opening up their doors to potential spending with eWallets. This is allowing merchants to enter into a new sector of global international commerce that did not exist previously.

Disadvantages Associated with eWallets

Granted eWallets are truly a revolutionary change to how we buy and receive money for transactions. That being said, eWallets still have a long way to go before they are perfect. Some examples that are quite frustrating for consumers to deal with is that it is quite difficult to contact these companies in the event of a customer service issue. Companies such as PayPal are notorious for having nearly impossible customer service phone call wait times. Another issue with PayPal is that they are almost too secure in that if an individual is buying and selling in many different countries, they close down their account frequently, which creates a very annoying situation in that the customer has to contact them regularly almost before any major transaction. Until more advanced features are available for eWallets to track transactions, this will be a major downfall for companies such as PayPal.

Another issue with companies such as PayPal and TransferWise is the high fee that they charge between exchange foreign currencies. Particularly relating to PayPal, PayPal has possessed a great deal of success with their PayPal Global feature that allows expats to get their earnings out of China, for example; however, there is a very low daily transfer limit coupled with a very high fee. For this reason, the expat would have to transfer several times and pay triple or quadruple the rate should they need to transfer money in excess of $500 out of the country or pay merchants abroad.

Concluding Remarks on the Subject

In sum, eWallets are no doubt a revolutionary addition to the current financial landscapes. There is an absolute certainty that these eWallets will be around in the future; however, they still have little ways to go in connecting individuals and markets essentially. As we as a global society approach the inclination to connect markets and currencies more than ever before, eWallets will absolutely be the pioneers in this sense of finding ways to safely and efficiently spend regardless of where one resides in the globe. Where eWallets need to improve is in how consumers can resolve disputes and/or customer service issues while working with these companies. As it stands now, consumers lose their funds for several business days, which does not promote efficiency for global commerce. Once eWallets sort out this glitch, they will become even more effective and trustworthy ways to buy and sell goods all over the globe.

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