Can investors be activists?
A lot of emphasis is placed on the failures of institutional investment practices to fix the holes in our capital ecosystems, but what if there were ways for regular people to do good with the money they have? What if people were empowered to park their money in sustainable ways instead of contributing to destructive financial vehicles? To answer these questions, we talk to Phuong Luong, an educator and financial planner who specializes in helping individuals and families invest in sustainable and regenerative investments. She also talks us through what to look for in a financial planner and warning signs to look out for.
Phuong Luong is a leading voice for the shift in capital from extraction to an economy built on solidarity. As a financial educator and planner, she specializes in working with individuals and families, focusing on ESG and regenerative investing in community loan funds, land trusts, and cooperatives. Her deep understanding of the historical barrier to wealth building comes from her experiences as a former public-school teacher and nonprofit professional, a student of financial history and structural/systemic inequality, and from her own upbringing.
A renegade not only listens but acts. We've consolidated a few tips from this episode to help you invest in local communities.
- Understand your personal history and emotion with money: What were you taught about money growing up and how has that impacted how you use and engage with money today? Were you taught to be proud of the money you have? Is there shame with money?
- Get organized and see all that you own: Look at all of your account balances (bank, investment, retirement, debts, etc) so you'll know what you have. Do this at least once a year and around big life changes so you'll know what you have and owe.
- Review your cash flow: See how much you bring in each month and how much you spend each month. This way you'll be able to see what your priorities are based on your spending and if you have excess funds to invest sustainably.
- Check out The Next Egg to learn about sustainable investing for your retirement funds: The Next Egg is a vibrant forum of "do-it-yourselfers" who want to invest in sustainable investments outside of Wall Street. They provide webinars and other resources to help you make informed decisions.
- Check Out As You Sow to see how responsible your current investments are: You are able to look up the ratings of various index and mutual funds to see how they score on various issue screenings.
- Look for a fee-only advisor who is a fiduciary: You don't have to take this journey alone. Work with a fee-only advisor who is a fiduciary standard and is committed to helping you invest in the causes that are most important to you. (If you're interested in working with Phuong, contact her here.)
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