Buy Like Buffett: Socially Responsible Investing in Ethical Business So You Can Sleep at Night
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Historically most investors have looked to buy companies that generate profits by just about any means. Companies like Altria and Fortune Brands were quite popular despite the fact that most of their earnings were derived from cigarettes and alcohol. Today, many investors are a lot more concerned about the goods that their investments produce. They are looking to invest in companies that actually make a positive contribution to society as a whole.
For investors interested in companies that contribute to the social good of society, here are a few ways to invest in a positive way.
Oil may be sky high and gas is rising, but that is not enough to tempt many environmentally-conscious investors into buying oil stocks. Environmentally-friendly investors can buy alternative energy stocks, green energy exchange traded funds, and energy efficient funds. Green energy investing means looking for the next leadership class for energy in the future. You never know if solar power or wind is the next breakout star in the sector. You not only have the potential to make money but you get the added benefit of knowing your investment is making a difference.
Contrary to popular opinion, there are still some ethical companies on Wall Street that know how to do business the right way. Ethical investing involves only buying securities that are in line with your personal morals, beliefs, and convictions. You would structure your entire investment portfolio with only shares of companies that have business practices that you believe in. If you were an advocate of gun control, for example, then you would not buy shares of Smith & Wesson.
Socially Responsible Investing
There has been a huge influx of money into socially responsible funds and exchange traded funds over the last 20 years. Socially responsible funds have an overall investing strategy that adheres to the guidelines of the fund. These funds are typically concerned with whether or not a company is a good corporate citizen. This can include workplace practices, operating procedures, company ethics, and the safety of products. It is the job of the fund's management to find companies whose strategies are in line with those of the funds.
It is important to note that none of these forms of investing have been proven to outperform or under perform the market. These investments make it easier for you to invest your dollars because you are buying an ownership stake in companies you actually believe in.
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of New Horizons Financial Management, an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark is a regular contributor to Seeking Alpha and has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers. Mark publishes his own financial blog, BuylikeBuffett.com and has written the book Your Financial Playbook.