I suspect there are many people like me who’ve thought about green investing but done nothing about it. Let’s make 2014 the year we green our 401k, savings, investment, IRA, and stock accounts.
Green investing is the practice of investing in companies or projects focused on business sectors such as renewable energy, clean water, alternative transportation, eco-friendly consumer products, and sustainable food. It doesn’t matter if you have hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars, you can participate in green investing.
New Year’s Resolution
My spouse and I had been talking about greening our retirement investments for a few years but hadn’t taken any action to move the ball forward. Greening our investments seemed a daunting task. As the daily money handler, family record keeper, and a former project manager, a green investing project would naturally land on my plate, at least as far as leading the effort. I admit I wasn’t jumping up and down volunteering to take on the project.
As 2013 rolled to a close, we reviewed the green projects we had completed and considered which ones to put our list for 2014. Green investing came up, again. It was time to either tackle it or acknowledge green investing just wasn’t a priority for us. We decided 2014 was the year. I agreed to act as the green investing project manager.
I opted to make greening our retirement investments my New Year’s resolution. Last week I wrote a post entitled A New Take on the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 in which I proposed we each commit to one personal goal and a companion goal to benefit the greater good. I figured I’d better walk my own talk so added a companion goal that we’ll contribute to a green project, nonprofit, or social business.
As one of my strategies to help keep me on track, I’ve chosen to chronicle our green investing journey on this blog. I’ll write periodic posts to share our progress and what we’ve learned. I hope readers will find the information useful and will share their own ideas and tips.
The Journey Begins
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
— Lewis Carroll
My family will say I’m a planning kind of gal and perhaps a tiny bit fanatical when it comes to money. We needed a goal and a roadmap so I reread a post I wrote last year about how to make SMARTER New Year’s resolutions. SMARTER is a useful acronym for establishing achievable goals.
After conducting a SMARTER review of my New Year’s resolution, I found that we are currently on Lewis Carroll’s journey to anywhere. Below are my findings:
- Specific – “green our retirement investments” is way too general. We need to define what we are trying to achieve. For instance, do we want to allocate a certain percentage of our funds for green investing, buy stock in a cleantech company, or divest from fossil fuels?
- Measurable – measure what?
- Relevant – we’re already committed to taking actions to help keep earth habitable for our children and future generations so green investing is relevant to us.
- Attainable – attain what?
- Time-bound – 2014 is our overall time frame but we’ll need milestones to check our progress.
- Enlist – my spouse and I will support each other in accomplishing our goal. In addition, I’ve enlisted help to stay energized and accountable by committing to share our progress on this blog.
- Reward – interim rewards will be appropriate after we actually make some progress.
As it turned out the SMARTER review was an easy and useful exercise. Now I have a few ideas about how to get started.
When in doubt, collect data.
I decided we need some data and established a few mini-goals to be completed by the end of February 2014.
- Collect and review our retirement investments with my spouse.
- Conduct online research about green investing for at least 1 hour a week, starting this week.
- Contact a fee-only financial planner with green investment expertise and make an appointment.
Stay tuned to find out how we did on our first three mini-goals.
I like making New Year’s resolutions and I usually keep them, but not this one. However, in 2015, my spouse and I did finally move our IRAs to fossil fuel-free socially responsible investments and we donated our time and money to a local environmental nonprofit organization.