Sustainably Responsible Investments - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 02-03-2005, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone want to talk about investments? My kiddos were both given investment money from the grandparents, ostensibly for college, but the college funds are not the best places to invest, I've been told. So, we'd like to put them into stock options or mutual funds, but want to choose something that invests in their futures in more ways than one. I need to begin researching the companies and stock that's available. Two I just thought of while at the grocery store were Seventh Generation and Eco...something. Ecover, maybe?

Does anyone else do this already? Would love to hear what you think!

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#2 of 17 Old 02-03-2005, 09:35 PM
 
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You might want to look inot socially responsible mutual funds. I know that there are bunches of them because I see the ads in the Utne reader all the time, and I know my mum has her retirement money in one, but I haven't got any one in praticular to reccomend.

A mutual fund, IIRC, is where an investment brokerage buys shares of a bunch of companies and holds them all together. Then the people who buy shares of the mutual fund get a certian percentage of the whole pot of shares held in common by the investment company. It's better because it's more diverse -- your investments aren't riding on the future of one company, but on a bunch of companies, so if one or two are loosing money and others are making it, it averages out to a good rate of return.
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#3 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 12:01 AM
 
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A mutual fund is usually safest- maybe a balanced fund with half stocks and bonds? Some popular socially-responsible ones are Pax World and Calvert- there are others. I've been happy with Pax World.

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#4 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 12:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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great to hear from someone who is actually using one of these. that's what i was wondering. so Pax World. I'll check it out. thanks!

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#5 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 01:37 AM
 
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Yeah- the Pax World Balanced Fund has done well for me. I'm not a big risk taker.

The reason I chose Pax World over Calvert and the others was 1) It has been around a long time 2)They had the most clear and easy to understand materials 3) They had a highly rated balanced fund (Morningstar Ratings). I have been happy with the service and the way they operate so far, as well as the returns (which may change... you never know with the market)

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#6 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you for the info. i am definitely looking into this fund.

i was sorta thinking it might be fun to invest my kiddo's money into something they like, like: chocolate milk from Horizon or Ben & Jerry's ice cream. But, I really don't know how to research it. Pax World is a mutual fund investment, right? I'll go pull up their website now.

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#7 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 12:11 PM
 
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ben and jerry's is owned by someone else --- someone corporate, but I can't remember who. they were bought out about 4-5 yrs ago I think.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#8 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 12:12 PM
 
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when looking for 'socially responosible investments' it is important to figure what issues are important to you. A company might have a good environmental record and bad labor polices for example. A profitable company may fail in some areas so you should know what you are loking for speciafically that is 'socially responsible'

Amy
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#9 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 02:56 PM
 
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I have participated in both Domini Social Investments and Green Century. I wasn't completely happy with Domini because their indexed fund contained, among other shockers, Wal-Mart!! I went with one of their other funds (don't remember what it was called) and I also used the money market fund, which gave loans to low-income women who wanted to start businesses, but eventually (when the stock market crashed) the rate of return on the money market fund went down so low (1% interest) that I pulled all my money out and put it in a Roth IRA with Green Century. I have been pleased with them.

Namaste!

Ps. I would recommend a mutual fund over stock in a single company because the more diversity you have, the more protection your money has.
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#10 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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dharmamama - how do you learn all that? how did you learn about Wal-Mart being part of the fund? And can you buy stock in multiple companies that are Sust. Respons?

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#11 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 06:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerc
ben and jerry's is owned by someone else --- someone corporate, but I can't remember who. they were bought out about 4-5 yrs ago I think.
A VT girl here who happens to know that B&J's was bought by Unilever several years ago.

A link you may find interesting is:http://www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca/rc...ownership.html

It shows corporate ownership of organic companies. Prepare to be shocked though. Organic Valley is one of the only companies we buy on a regular basis that's not corporate owned.
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#12 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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okay, so if you want to buy stock - what's available? i was thinking about 7th generation, but it's privately held, too.

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#13 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 07:26 PM
 
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I've also been very happy with Pax World fund. Not at all satisfied with Green Century, however (bad returns). I also think mutual funds are the way to go. I don't want to have the responsibility of keeping track of stock, and since we wouldn't be able to afford much, I wouldn't feel right having my eggs in one basket.

In terms of college 529 plans, there are only two that do socially responsible investing: DC and Pennsylvania. We actually sat down with a financial planner who specializes in socially responsible investing. It was extremely helpful (and free, by the way). We learned that the best way to save for college is not necessarily the 529 but the Roth IRA. She recommended the Calvert funds for that and we'll probably go with them just so we don't have everything in Pax. The only thing that makes the 529 better than the Roth is that anyone can contribute to it, so we will probably open ones for the kids with nominal amounts and let that be the place grandparents can put that birthday $$ if they're so inclined.

Good luck! It's a daunting task, getting all of this off the ground.
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#14 of 17 Old 02-08-2005, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Zinemama - great idea. I have also heard that about the College Funds. Relatives in PA who get the exact same Christmas money for their kids every year, ostensibly for college, have also said the college fund is a terrible place to put it. There's just so much more you can do with it.

You said you sat down with a SRI planner. I may have to do that. It's a daunting task. I hadn't thought about the Roth IRA. Great suggestions! Thanks!

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#15 of 17 Old 02-10-2005, 05:11 AM
 
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We've had Pax World, Calvert, and (through ym work) Citizens Funds. Co-op America (www.coopamerica.org) has some good info on socially responsible investing, or you can use that phrase and do a google search--there is tons of info out there.
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#16 of 17 Old 02-10-2005, 10:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loftmama
dharmamama - how do you learn all that? how did you learn about Wal-Mart being part of the fund? And can you buy stock in multiple companies that are Sust. Respons?
I did a lot of research on sustainble investments. There's a good website about socially responsible investing, but I forget what it's called. I'm sure you could Google it. I read about a lot of funds, narrowed it down to a few I was interested in, and researched them further.

As far as finding out what companies they hold stock in, it's published in their prospectus.

Namaste!
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#17 of 17 Old 02-10-2005, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! Still researching.

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