The next step after choosing an investment brokerage or bank is choosing where to put my money. Not only do I have to consider my acceptable level of risk, I have to then consider how I’ll split my investment portfolio among things like ETFs, Stocks, GICs, and so on. However, aside from all of that, there’s a big aspect to investing which I want to address today: ethics.
The financial industry is chock-full of unethical people and unethical systems but it seems that you have to engage with it at least a little bit to do things such as save for a house or for retirement. However, just like with every other aspect of my life, I try to reduce my negative impact on the world as much as I reasonably can. When it comes to investments, this means investing in ethical sectors, ethical companies, and ethical funds as much as I possibly can.
Of course, when you’re trading stocks on the stock market, you won’t actually be giving an unethical company your money directly (unless you’re buying stocks from an IPO or something). You are, however, contributing to an increase in the company’s value and participating in the buying and selling of parts of an unethical company. If you’re holding on to these stocks, you own a part of an unethical company.
For example, there are many large, stable, high-dividend-yield companies in the Oil and Gas sector such as Enbridge (TSX:ENB)—a company which is contributing to the wanton destruction of the environment. Companies such as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) or Equifax Inc. (NYSE:EFX) can be really profitable, but are also ultimately unethical companies (for different reasons).
Since I have ethical issues with those companies, I will not knowingly invest in them. Instead, my money would be better spent investing in something else such as a renewable energy company like Innergex Renewable Energy (TSX:INE) who are one of the largest renewable energy companies in Canada.
As is typical when considering ethics, it makes the job of selecting investment products more difficult because a lot more research is required and there will be many companies that your ethics will prevent you from investing in. Ultimately though, in my opinion it’s incredibly important to consider ethics when deciding who to give my money to, just like I do when choosing what software I use.
This is my ninety-third post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.