Are you hearing this term, “Responsible Investing,” more and more today? So what is it exactly? In a nutshell, it is investing in stocks and/or bonds of companies that focus on protecting the environment and its people. These companies may focus on cleaner energy sources, sustainable food supply, reducing air pollution and/or recycling technologies and tend to steer away from major areas such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, nuclear power, firearms, or military weapons. In some cases, there is a major push to review and evaluate corporate accountability and transparency by reviewing hiring and advancement practices and workforce diversification.
Sustainability is the wave of the future. At least, so I hope. This is an important aspect of investing that I feel should be highlighted. It is about becoming more aware and enlightened. My hope is that my daughter has an opportunity to enjoy the many “fruits” of earth as possible. This is why we recycle and I am conscious about the foods we buy. I am even planning to start my own vegetable garden. One of my goals is to teach her the importance of preserving our natural resources. Help her to understand that our environment is precious and that everything has a purpose. This is one way I can do my part.
Now, being a conscious investor doesn’t mean sacrificing returns. There are companies and families of mutual funds that are making a decision to focus on reducing their carbon footprint and able to compete with achieving investor satisfaction by producing a positive return on investment.
This is why I wanted to highlight one of them, Green Century Funds. I had an opportunity to talk with Leslie Samuelrich, Senior Vice President for Green Century. She shares the overall mission of the funds and their philosophy for investing in companies that reduce their environmental impact. I hope you will take time to listen in on our discussion.
I recently had an opportunity to talk with Jan Ridgely, Executive Director, of the United Charitable Programs. Their mission is to empower people to help others by fiscally sponsoring targeted charitable programs that encourage positive change through charitable, educational, scientific, or religious actions worldwide.
During our discussion, Jan and I spent time talking about women giving circles and how this can be a way for women to join together collectively to impact change within their communities or the world.
So you may ask, what is a giving circle? It is a form of philanthropy where groups of women donate their own money or time to a pooled fund. Once the fund achieves a certain funding level, the circle decides what charities or community projects it will support. Either choice is a way for the circle to increase awareness and engagement in the issues covered by the charity or community project. Many circles, in addition to donating their money, will also contribute their time and skills to supporting local causes.
This is such a powerful way for women to promote change for a cause. So, take a moment to listen to our discussion. I hope it influences you to use your high heels towards shaping your community and the world. Because as you know, women working together CAN change the world. That’s why Women Rock!
Something that is near and dear to my heart is giving back to my community. When I was asked by my coach to describe what life looked like for me 20 years from now, I seriously thought about it from the aspect of what I want people to say and think about me when I die. I know this may be grim to think about death and dying but that is where my mind went. I want people to remember me as being an advocate for girls to have positive self-esteems, believe they can achieve their dreams, and encourage them to consider a career in finance especially since girls tend to shy away from careers that involve math and analytics.
So it was just how life works for me when I have a problem and make it known, life presents me with a solution. Sometimes it is right away and other times it may be years but I seem to always encounter the answer. Well, I wanted to offer a service specifically to women and women run organizations and businesses that want to lead with their hearts by pursing philanthropic endeavors. So my solution to them is donor advised funds.
You may be asking yourself what are donor advised funds? Well it is a cost effective way to establish charitable funds of any size and scope in order to support a charitable organization that may be near and dear to your heart. It allows you to create a family legacy of giving that can last over multiple generations. A donor advised fund can reduce legal and administrative burdens such as establishing a foundation or writing out individual checks to different organizations. Instead, you can establish a donor advised fund account and recommend how the funds will be distributed. Did I mention this can be a tax deductible donation to the donor advised fund?* Other benefits include:
· Easy to Establish
· Wealth Preservation
· Donor Flexibility
· Investment Management Control
· Reduced Administrative Costs
So if you are interested in creating a scholarship program for female students who attend your Alma Mata from your hometown that major in Finance, you can do so and collect tax deductible donations from the public to support your efforts. Talk about creating a legacy and paying it forward. Now this gets my heels to clicking with excitement knowing that this can start a chain reaction within families and corporations when it comes to giving back, paying it forward.
*Information presented in this post is not to be considered tax advice. Always consult your tax advisor prior to making any tax decisions.
I had the honor of interviewing, Joseph Fisher, founder of First Generation College Bound (FGCG). His organization’s mission is to increase the participation of low- and moderate-income youth in higher education, particularly those whose parents do not have a bachelor’s degree. FGCB doesn’t just help students apply to college; it also works with them to secure the financial aid they need to matriculate.
Click here to listen to our conversation.
FGCB’s success rate, the numbers speak for themselves:
- Participants who have entered college: 1,262
- 2012 high school graduates entering college: 98
- 2012 college graduates: 33
- Participants in college during the 2011-2012 school year: 300
- Total known college graduates: 420
You may support FGCB, in their upcoming event on June 19, 2013 at University of Maryland, Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, College Park, MD. This is their annual celebration and fundraising event. Come be a partner for education and our youth.
We talked in my last post about how important it is to plan for your financial future. Now we’re going to talk about understanding what it costs. Specifically, discussing all of the different payment options for hiring a financial advisor or planner. Then you can determine which is right for you. Because having a financial planner that you like, trust and have confidence in can literally change your life.
Let’s start with the four ways financial planners can get paid: Commission Only, Commission and Fees, Salary Plus Bonuses, and Fee Only.
· Commission Only: This is when advisors receive only commissions for selling financial services and products. This commission comes out of your investment dollars; it is not paid by the vendor of the product. You find this type of structure within the banking environment. With this structure, you want to be clear as to why it is being recommended and get several alternatives so you may compare products and costs.
· Commission and Fees: Another term commonly used is Fee-based. Commission and Fee-based advisors may receive a fee for developing a financial plan for you, and then receive commissions on the insurance and investment products they recommend in your financial plan.
· Salary Plus Bonuses: Discount brokerage firms and banks compensate their employees with a base salary plus incentive pay for bringing in new clients and recommending or selling certain products and services.
· Fee-Only: These financial advisors provide advice or ongoing management. They’re typically self-employed Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) or employees of this type of firm. Fee-only advisors have no financial stake in the recommendations they give you. They may charge an hourly rate, a flat fee, and/or a retainer. Here’s how they work:
1. Hourly fee: You pay for all the time that the financial advisor works on your case and/or spends with you. Multiply the time spent by the advisor’s hourly charge, and that’s how much your fee is. Always find out the expected cost and the maximum cost – there usually is one – before you begin working with an advisor who charges by the hour. An hourly fee may be best for:
a. People who need specific advice about one or just a few financial products or services.
b. Do-it-yourselfers who just want a professional's opinion.
c. People who want to do as much as possible to save money, but want expert analysis and direction.
2. Flat-fee: Then there are the flat fee packages for specific services. Flat-fee pricing may be a good choice for people who need specific advice or services such as evaluation of your employer’s benefits package or a detailed review of insurance policies and coverage.
3. Retainer : A retainer can be calculated based on a) a percentage of assets the advisor manages, b) a percentage of your net worth or income, c) a mixture of the previous two, or d) by estimating the amount of time required and complexity of the services promised. A retainer fee may be good for people who want ongoing assistance with managing their financial affairs.
Click here for more on this topic.
Now you see there are many ways you can work with an advisor. Determine which best suits you when you seek expert assistance with your plans for your life. When you’re working with the right person, it’ll feel like a huge load has been taken off your back. And you know that’s good, because you will walk confidently in those stylish platform heels you love so much!