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06/12/2008 10:08:57 AM · #1
Investing in mutual funds?

It took me a while but I'm coming to the realization that I am in fact investing in companies that I don't support. My mutual funds are diversified, but give my money to companies and industries that have priorities that I do not share. Very few companies stocks are growing - but guess which companies ARE!!!! - Big Oil!!! ...

So am I sharing in the wealth or am I profiting from polluting, old-school corporations that are helping to hold back innovations?

It is my feeling that if everyone invested in companies they believed in, wouldn't the world be a better place? Wouldn't that truly be "Capitalism"?

Message edited by author 2008-06-12 10:09:32.
06/12/2008 10:10:58 AM · #2
You can always choose to invest in 'socially responsible' mutual funds. I believe there are more than a few out there...
Originally posted by metatate:

Investing in mutual funds?

It took me a while but I'm coming to the realization that I am in fact investing in companies that I don't support. My mutual funds are diversified, but give my money to companies and industries that have priorities that I do not share. Very few companies stocks are growing - but guess which companies ARE!!!! - Big Oil!!! ...

So am I sharing in the wealth or am I profiting from polluting, old-school corporations that are helping to hold back innovations?

It is my feeling that if everyone invested in companies they believed in, wouldn't the world be a better place? Wouldn't that truly be "Capitalism"?
06/12/2008 10:19:37 AM · #3
I know. Unfortunately the 7 cent to a dollar "match" from my company only goes to select mutual funds - none of which have a priority of sustainability or social responsibility. In my research, I did find a few that were promising but I might have to go at it on my own, not as part of my 401k:

10 green Mutual Funds

5 more
06/12/2008 10:59:32 AM · #4
I have about $18K invested in BlackRock Global via my 401K at work. BlackRock is heavy into gas/oil/alternative fuels, etc.... my rate of return over the last 6 months has averaged about 11-14 percent.
06/12/2008 11:07:47 AM · #5
Yes, Most of my retirement money is into Mutual funds. :)
06/12/2008 11:09:32 AM · #6
Originally posted by metatate:

Investing in mutual funds?

It took me a while but I'm coming to the realization that I am in fact investing in companies that I don't support. My mutual funds are diversified, but give my money to companies and industries that have priorities that I do not share. Very few companies stocks are growing - but guess which companies ARE!!!! - Big Oil!!! ...

So am I sharing in the wealth or am I profiting from polluting, old-school corporations that are helping to hold back innovations?

It is my feeling that if everyone invested in companies they believed in, wouldn't the world be a better place? Wouldn't that truly be "Capitalism"?


Who cares? Big Oil is the same as any business. They aren't any more corrupt (or less) than the next type of company. All business is open for one reason, to make money. Investing in what brings you money is what capitalism is all about. Unfortunately, values (morals)and money making VERY RARELY go hand-in-hand.

Wall street is for money making, church is for you morals.

Just my two cents.

Message edited by author 2008-06-12 11:10:50.
06/12/2008 11:11:17 AM · #7
it might be cold and capitalistic, but I don't invest to help a cause support any specific company. I know that when I retire there is a good chance social security won't be around, so the only thought behind my 401K investing is to make it grow as big as possible so I can retire without worry.

And a message to anyone out there not investing in their 401K. DO IT, NOW! I wish someone beat me over the head with this when i first started working.
06/12/2008 11:12:15 AM · #8
Originally posted by metatate:


So am I sharing in the wealth or am I profiting from polluting, old-school corporations that are helping to hold back innovations?


Also, you could do both.

Keep your current portfolio as is. And just start investing in alternative energy resources.
06/12/2008 11:15:08 AM · #9
Originally posted by LoudDog:

it might be cold and capitalistic, but I don't invest to help a cause support any specific company. I know that when I retire there is a good chance social security won't be around, so the only thought behind my 401K investing is to make it grow as big as possible so I can retire without worry.

And a message to anyone out there not investing in their 401K. DO IT, NOW! I wish someone beat me over the head with this when i first started working.


LoudDog, has a very good point. You must invest your money if you can. From how things are going 1 million dollars will not be enough to retire with. The whole idea of being able to retire and live the big lifestyle has become harder and harder with simply investing. You must save about 10-15% of your salary to be able to retire wealthy. The younger you start the better off you will be. I know people who started saving when they were 22 and they are now 50 and close to retirement and with big chunk of change. Wouldnt surprise me if they had about 5-7 million dollars invested from 401ks. The miracle of compounding interest. :)

Message edited by author 2008-06-12 11:16:10.
06/12/2008 11:34:34 AM · #10
I'm not talking about morals, necessarily.

Let's say there's a company that is polluting the lake in your town, as well as the air.

Another company is cutting down trees willy nilly on your private property because they don't want to trim branches for phone lines.

Another company has created a monopoly by buying out competitors in your area and raised consumption rates for customers.

Then there's the restaurant that sells Foie Gras and Polar bear and endangered species on their menu (ok an extreme example).

Then there is the company that hires lobbies to convince politicians to build a highway next to your house so that a huge strip mall can get more traffic.

They are in your mutual fund right? Just a thought.

Originally posted by egamble:



Who cares? Big Oil is the same as any business. They aren't any more corrupt (or less) than the next type of company. All business is open for one reason, to make money. Investing in what brings you money is what capitalism is all about. Unfortunately, values (morals)and money making VERY RARELY go hand-in-hand.

Wall street is for money making, church is for you morals.

Just my two cents.
06/12/2008 11:40:50 AM · #11
Why not?

Such is life.

No matter what YOU do, the game will be played. If you are sitting on the sidelines as a spectator, you are only hurting yourself.

I would much rather get a cut from the profits of the companies that are doing all of those horrible things to me and my community than to have them happen anyways without any sort of positive coming out of the situation.

Except the restaurant, I will only eat at restaurants that serve baby polar bears served on top tabletops constructed of the finest baby seal pels. These ,of course, can only be eaten with the finest of the elephant tusk plate and 'silver' ware. :p



(just kidding by the way, on this part)

I mean, I agree those things suck. And in a perfect world we wouldn't have them happen. This just isn't a perfect world. You have to play the hand you are dealt. At least ,in the states, we dont have to put up with This.

Message edited by author 2008-06-12 11:47:53.
06/12/2008 11:48:47 AM · #12
Originally posted by metatate:

Investing in mutual funds?

Very few companies stocks are growing - but guess which companies ARE!!!! - Big Oil!!! ...

So am I sharing in the wealth or am I profiting from polluting, old-school corporations that are helping to hold back innovations?


Tate, why all the animosity and hostility regarding oil & gas companies. Reading this thread, you would think that all we (I say "we" because I am "BIG Oil") do is pollute, instead of providing power and transportation needs to billions of people globally. The idea that we hold back technology is simply wrong. We research, develop, deploy and implement more technology than than most other industries. Technology and innovation IS the reason the oil & gas sector is so successful. The reason the Big 5 are who they are is because they have learned to utilize technology on a global basis and secure revenue streams from many sources. That is what makes them such an attractive investment and why so many fund managers are strong on this industry.

Originally posted by metatate:

It is my feeling that if everyone invested in companies they believed in, wouldn't the world be a better place? Wouldn't that truly be "Capitalism"?


Without a valid business model for sustained growth and profitability, "belief" in a company or technology will not get you very far, or make you much money. There are a lot of technologies out there which sound smart, green, safe, etc., but many of their business models are not viable or their technology is not yet proven at scale.

The way I see it is that the only reason to invest is to profit and grow wealth. Right now the profitable winds are in the energy sector, a great place to be - or to have been over the last 8-10 years. In the early 90s it was the tech sector. If your investment strategy includes political, social or psychological limitations, then you are, in many ways, diluting your potential for maximum growth.

06/12/2008 11:57:13 AM · #13
If we had fewer "unconscious investors" perhaps we could more directly influence positive change.
The almighty dollar has taken over people consciousness in many ways.
Big oil will research ways to make more money, this is true.

Originally posted by signal2noise:

The way I see it is that the only reason to invest is to profit and grow wealth. Right now the profitable winds are in the energy sector, a great place to be - or to have been over the last 8-10 years. In the early 90s it was the tech sector. If your investment strategy includes political, social or psychological limitations, then you are, in many ways, diluting your potential for maximum growth.
06/12/2008 12:04:18 PM · #14
Originally posted by metatate:

The almighty dollar has taken over people consciousness in many ways


'the love of money is the root of all evil...'
06/12/2008 12:15:44 PM · #15
Originally posted by metatate:


Big oil will research ways to make more money, this is true.


I think you will find that ALL successful companies do this.
06/12/2008 01:04:09 PM · #16
“I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people's efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”
“Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It's to see my dividends coming in.”
“Competition is a sin.”

All from John D. Rockefeller, he knew a thing or two about how to turn a buck.
Gotta love the era of the robber barons, fascinating characters, at least they were honest about what they were doing
06/12/2008 01:56:50 PM · #17
There is a common mindset of "make more, spend as little as possible on as much as possible" - and that's it.

Don't question where a product comes from,
Don't care whether a process, product or service affects people or the planet negatively,
Don't invest in people or products for a good cause,
Don't shop at little stores because they might be more expensive,
Don't boycott,
Don't protest,
Fall in line and make money ... when in doubt, make more money.

As long as you are making money, the rest falls in place?

06/12/2008 03:33:25 PM · #18
I watch the news online and tv everyday looking for gas/oil prices to either go up or down any...then wait for end of the day and always check the 401K account to see if I made anything or lost some. For a long time now..it has been steady growth. I may pay more at the pump right now....but at least I will be able to afford it in the future by investing in it while I can.
06/12/2008 03:42:22 PM · #19
Originally posted by egamble:

I would much rather get a cut from the profits of the companies that are doing all of those horrible things to me and my community than to have them happen anyways without any sort of positive coming out of the situation.

This seems beyond cynical. Wouldn't it be morally preferrable to object to all the horrible things being done to you and your community, irrespective of your own personal gain? Furthermore, wouldn't it be better to organize an effort to stop all those horrible things, rally your community, and make it difficult for profit to be made from suffering?
06/12/2008 03:57:36 PM · #20
I suggest to my clients they think carefully where they wish to exert the rigidity of their ethics. Look at the tangible things that you can do to make a difference rather than choosing a silent protest in your investment account where the impact of your moral stance is miniscule.

In other words, if you are going to stay away from oil stocks, then you should also sell you car which burns fossil fuels otherwise you are a hypocrite. You will be protesting an issue that will not be heard by anyone other than yourself when you see your statement of returns and it will hurt, for the time being. Maybe this will change but not just yet. Likely a generation away.

If you want to make a difference, consider volunteering, picking up trash when you go for a walk or best of all, educating your children on the sensibilities of sound social / environmental ethics.

I will never question the values of those sensitive to the issues we all face but I will suggest they strongly consider the venue in which they choose to voice their concern. In most cases, the personal investment account of most investors in not the most effective method. Just a thought.

Message edited by author 2008-06-12 15:59:01.
06/12/2008 04:46:25 PM · #21
Unless you're buying an issue of new stock you're not giving your money to any company..well, the brokerage gets some. It's like when buying a used 30D - Canon doesn't get a dime. Same for stocks or mutual funds bought off another person. You as the investor are hoping for the company you own stock in to do well - either to pay dividends or grow in value so that you may one day sell the stock you own for a profit.
I don't follow the market anymore (not since college, 20 some years ago) but I would imagine owning stock in oil companies would be a good idea right about now if they're dividend paying stocks/company. Owning an airline or trucking company might be a bad move. Medical always seems to do well.

As to owning a company that does 'unethical things' vs boycotting them - if you own their stock you get a vote in what they do - and can exert some influence plus have a better idea of what they really do.

Message edited by author 2008-06-12 16:48:08.
06/12/2008 04:55:14 PM · #22
Originally posted by Louis:

This seems beyond cynical. Wouldn't it be morally preferrable to object to all the horrible things being done to you and your community, irrespective of your own personal gain? Furthermore, wouldn't it be better to organize an effort to stop all those horrible things, rally your community, and make it difficult for profit to be made from suffering?


Morally preferrable? Yes
Financially Responsible? No

Sometimes the two have to be mutually exclusive. Especially if you have to work for everything you have or will have. It might be different if you are born with a little money. But when you are born with none, passing up the chance to give my family a better life than I started out with would be more morally irresponsible than trying to play Captain Planet with all of my friends.

Message edited by author 2008-06-12 16:57:46.
06/12/2008 05:01:04 PM · #23
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:


As to owning a company that does 'unethical things' vs boycotting them - if you own their stock you get a vote in what they do - and can exert some influence plus have a better idea of what they really do.


Never thought of it that way. Excelllent point.
06/12/2008 05:04:26 PM · #24
Originally posted by egamble:

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:


As to owning a company that does 'unethical things' vs boycotting them - if you own their stock you get a vote in what they do - and can exert some influence plus have a better idea of what they really do.


Never thought of it that way. Excelllent point.


That is much like spending $2000 in a department store with the ambition of becoming a preferred customer so you can earn the right to complain. That makes little sense.
06/12/2008 05:08:56 PM · #25
Originally posted by Ivo:


That is much like spending $2000 in a department store with the ambition of becoming a preferred customer so you can earn the right to complain. That makes little sense.


Depending on how a company is set up, the stockholder could have some sway with how things are done. A regular customer (or preferred customer) has absolutely no vote or 'official' voice in how the company does its business.
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