Halfway through 2021, the U.S. stock market is doing well with the benchmark index up 14.4% year-to-date while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite both are up more than 12% each. Seems like everyone wants to make money or learn how to invest with the explosion of Robin Hood. But while you are watching your 401k increase and your investment portfolio is on fire, here is your conscience question: are you a socially responsible investor? What types of stocks are in your portfolio?
Socially Responsible Investor
Who is a socially responsible investor? Simply put, a socially responsible investor is a person, who invests in stocks, shares, bonds and other instruments that are in alignment with their values. For example it is not considered socially responsible to invest in “sin stocks.” Sin stocks are stocks of publicly traded companies involved in or associated with an activity that is considered unethical or immoral. In 1971, when the first socially responsible mutual fund was launched, sin stocks were those associated with alcohol, tobacco, gambling, sex-related industries, and weapon manufacturers. In other words, while you don’t believe in gambling; some of your 401K was invested with gambling companies. Today, the socially responsible investor also critically examines publicly traded stocks of companies who do not support communities, or are not environmentally conscious. The questions remains, are your investments in alignment with your values? Are you putting your money where your mouth is, or is it all about the Benjamins?
Investing in the stock market is all about making a profit. Therefore, the natural question is, will you have to compromise performance when investing in socially responsible stocks? The data suggest you will not have to sacrifice returns on your investment. Why? Significant research now reveals that more socially responsible stocks over-perform than under-perform. Last year, one out of every three dollars invested under professional management, were invested in the environment, social causes and good governance. Those numbers represent a 42% increase from the prior year.
But if I am going to keep it 100, there is another side to this story. As the Coronavirus spread, beer sales went up 42%. Wine sale rose 66% and sales for liquor such as tequila and gin increased by 75% compared to the same time the previous year. Comparing these returns on your investment between sin and socially conscious stocks, I suppose this is where the rubber meets the road!
The decision is yours. Socially conscious investors vary from for profit investors.
A socially conscious investor evaluates their investment through the lens of the environment, social consciousness or the good governance of a company. For example if you are passionate about the environment, you may examine companies by asking questions such as does the company use renewable energy resources? Does the company repurpose or discard waste?
Upon completion of such evaluation, examining the stock or investment performance of the company is next on the checklist. This is where you examine the numbers and geek out on financial data and ratios like price to earnings, dividend yield, cash flows, balance sheets and all the basic investment fundamentals. The point is, being socially conscious investor does not mean you ignore the fundamentals!
I have decided to add a new section to Money Monday’s called “ what’s up!” Basically, it is something very important I think you should know and may be unrelated to the main article. Today’s what’s up is very simple . With the federal eviction moratorium set to expire on July 31, 2021 or in a few weeks, what should you as a tenant be doing? If you are a tenant, check to see if your state eviction moratorium also ends on July 31, 2021. For example, in Maryland, the executive order on residential rental property and foreclosure will expire on August 15, 2021. If you are a landlord, note whether or not the tenant is a hold over tenant or one who is still on their current lease. If the tenant is a hold over, your argument for eviction may be different than for a tenant currently on a new lease. This has been a legal loop hole used in some jurisdictions successfully to evict tenants or at least to collect rent. Not good news for either side, but that’s what’s up!