Intentionally investing your money is one of the easiest activist decisions you can make. You can divest from shitty companies while sitting in your pajamas in your favorite chair with the TV on in the background. No protest sign required!
I believe one of the keys to unlocking fulfillment and financial freedom is taking control of your life instead of allowing others to control it for you. It means doing things with purpose.
Intentional living is always a work in progress. In my personal life, I always strive to do better, but I’m still guilty of indulging in that next glass of wine, grabbing a second serving of ice cream, or reading another sensational news story instead of doing something productive. Discipline is tough!
It takes hard work to be intentional. It means scheduling time to go to the gym, even when there is no time. It means planning meals and buying the necessary groceries instead of just ordering takeout every night. I view sustainable investing through the same lens. I want to understand where every dollar goes and the purpose of each industry I own.
I try to be intentional about the people I spend time with. I’ve found that the happiest moments of my life are spent with close friends and family, so it makes sense to actively plan this time. I try to avoid toxic people who are constantly complaining or bringing others down.
My belief is that if I’m around smart, funny, and proactive people, then maybe it will rub off on me. Ever wonder what kind of person you are? Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose your friends wisely!
It's the same with investing. Would you associate with people who didn’t clean up after themselves and actively littered in their neighbor’s front lawn (big oil)? Do you like hanging out with people who take advantage of the most vulnerable (big tobacco)? Do you want to spend time with a fearful, paranoid person constantly lying or peddling conspiracy theories (gun companies)?
You are the company you keep. Why should it be any different with your investment portfolio? Of course, no company is ever going to be perfect, though. Nothing ever is.
You might not think that your $10,000 equity stake in Exxon Mobil will have that big of an impact on the company’s financial standing, and you’re right. But what if everyone thought that way? Why bother voting or standing up to any injustice? Small actions can really add up and make a major difference.
Positive action can generate a ripple effect in your everyday life. Say you decide to actively sell all the fossil fuel companies in your portfolio. Maybe you will then be more focused on not using as much plastic. Or you opt for a greener mode of transport, like riding your bike instead of driving. You tell your friends and family about what you are doing, and they see the rationale behind it. They also decide to take action.
All of a sudden, one seemingly small action compounds into something massive. These actions matter and will help you live a more intentional life, which I think is good for everyone as well as the planet.