Guy LeSage

Today, Americans are perhaps more pessimistic then ever regarding their finances. With the constant news of scandal and crime that flows out of Wall Street and Capitol Hill, many feel lost and helpless when it comes to making financial investment decisions. In this age of mistrust and skepticism regarding almost every aspect of big business and government, it is important to know there are still avenues of empowerment and hope. One of these is the Socially Responsible Investment movement, either as an investor or advocate. SRI is an activist-created financial movement that understands the power of money and wants to direct it towards making the world a much better place to live for everyone.

For those who seek greater understanding of our current financial dilemma, I recommend Reckless Endangerment by co-authors Morgenson and Rosner. They describe in some detail the causes of our current financial and social situation. One of the basic themes of the book is that the government bailout of mega-financial institutions and corporations with our tax money has left them stronger and more in control while weakening and endangering our government and society.

The SRI movement was created out of a necessity to address ethical problems within the financial industry by giving investors a choice and voice for where their money goes. Diversity of investment opportunities has long been a basic tenet of intelligent investing, yet we find ourselves again with huge concentrations of capital controlled by a handful of “Too Big to Fail” banks and corporations. One solution to this is an engaged citizenry that purposely diverts money away from this into socially responsible banks and financial institutions.

An equally compelling reason for considering Socially Responsible Investing is that it is competitive with Wall Street in terms of generating profits and returns. If you believe as I do, that the Green/Sustainable movement is here to stay and is the way of the future, then SRI should appeal to you. Many of the companies that socially responsible investors invest in and advocate for are progressive businesses dedicated to a sustainable vision of the future. They have developed and are developing products and technologies that will change the world for the better. It is my belief that it is only a matter of time before these industries become the new norm.

In these rather bleak economic times it is perhaps more important than ever to have some beacons of hope and promise. I think we are teetering on the cusp of a new direction, and it will be our cooperative and collective actions that will get us moving and pointed decisively on this new, necessary path. Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment and share other financial issues of your concern with me. Until next time, invest wisely.

Guy Le Sage is a financial advisor with Horizons Sustainable Financial Services in Santa Fe, an independent firm licensed in over 20 states. Horizons offers securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker/dealer and member FINRA, SIPC. Email: guy@horizonssfs.com, call 505.982.9661 or 877.321.3236.