Inspired by the reading and deep thinking I've done during COVID-19, I've realized that my financial planning and investment advisory business can be a pivotal part of channeling resources toward bettering our families and our clients' families, our communities, and the world. My own work has always been about "healing the world" either through the 11 years I was an environmental policy analyst, the 10+ years I ran a massage therapy business helping clients who were in chronic pain, or the 15 years I've provided financial planning, tax planning, and investment advice (I call it "healing one retirement at a time"). The place that we find ourselves in 2020 cries out for healing of the world. How can we all participate in that healing in ways that are meaningful to each of us as individuals? What can each of us afford to do with our own precious resources?
Focusing on the various opportunities for creating positive social impact, we can all make a difference. There are many ways that each of us can chose to "Be a Light for the World." Most recently, I read William Macaskill's book "Doing Good, Better: How Effective Altruism can Help You Help Others, Do Work that Matters, and Make Smarter Choices about Giving Back." I highly recommend his book and the organization that he works with: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/
For my part, we are doubling down on moving our business and advisory services toward these key areas:
- Socially Responsible/Environmentally Sustainable/Impact Investing - this is a major initiative that we will be working on through 2020.
- Charitable Donations through Donor Advised Funds, Appreciated Stocks, Tax Advantaged Donations and Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRAs, and donations to the most effective, impactful organizations that have missions that are meaningful to clients.
- Estate Planning to ensure that your bequests and life time gifts are maximized for creating the type of good that has meaning to you.
- Financial Life Planning in support of clients finding their "right livelihood" and volunteering opportunities.
- Creating abundant financial resources through earnings, minimized taxes, increased savings, and investment returns.
And the business itself is evaluating how we can transition to being a B Corporation (or Benefit Corporation) later this year or next. Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. For more information: https://bcorporation.net/
There are many large and small steps that each one of us can take on this journey. Some recent small steps we've taken include:
- The property where our home office is located is certified by the National Wildlife Foundation as a wildlife sanctuary (a safe environment for our foxes and bees).
- We are trying to get bee hives installed this year (who knew this was so hard!)
- Our electricity through Clean Choice Energy/PEPCO is 99% solar and 1% wind rather than fossil fuels.
- Our heating and air conditioning is provided through ultra high efficiency equipment (installed by my husband the mechanical contractor).
- We recycle and compost here, and reuse what we can.
- Donating what we can to support various causes such as refugee resettlement/integration, civil rights, public broadcasting, puppy mill rescue, microcredit through Kiva.org, and the list continues. There is so much need in the world!
Let us know where we can partner with you in thinking about how you can maximize your social impact.