I am not now, nor have I ever been a psychic. Well, ok sometimes I have a knack for prediction, but not in any way that you’d be interested in, and usually it only hits me on Wednesdays between noon and three pm (PST.)
Because I am not psychic, I will not bore you with declarations of how the stock market is going to fare…oh, wait, yes I will: The Stock Market will go up and down for a long time. Most likely, forever. Since investing is a sure fire way of earning passive income, many people flock to the markets, and then get shocked when it doesn’t yield the type of return that they want.
I don’t really invest in the stock market…I did, a little, awhile ago, but lost everything with the .com bust. It was more annoying than anything, luckily, only a fraction of my income was destroyed beyond a reasonable salvation. The rest was kind of salvageable. Sort of…
Because of this, I have developed a wariness of Wall Street. Part of me knows that investing is a great way to have my money work for me…but the other part of me is just too untrusting. Even though I’m still relatively young, and there’s time for long growth returns, I’m just not interested.
There’s always danger in picking investments…trying to find a safe place to put your money can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Of course, you can always read through the prospectus of the companies that you’re looking in, but it’s so full of legalese that it hurts my head, and I get bored and frustrated.
I looked into doing Mutual Funds…that’s where you can invest in a whole bunch of different companies at once. In theory, it then spreads the risk thin, since you’d be investing in hundreds of companies at once. I like this idea, and I went to talk to a broker about it…and then learned about some of the companies I would be investing in.
I should note, that I’m a happy hippie. I’m not an extreme hippie, I still eat meat, and I love my truck, but try to live on whole foods: fruits, veggies, etc. I only drink water, sometimes tea or orange juice, and I have alcohol maybe 5 or 6 times a year. Yeah, I’m kinda boring…I do yoga, pilates, and have been known to walk 13 miles to work just because. I’m telling this to you now, so that you can understand my frustration when it comes to Mutual Funds.
My broker pulled out the list of companies that the mutual fund would entail…a top of the list was Nike, (which runs sweat-shops) Wal-Mart, (which is just completely evil in my mind) and all the way at the bottom…Tobacco companies.
I asked the broker if there were any other mutual funds that he could show me, and he said that there was another one that they recommended…once again, the big evil three were on it. I get annoyed with indignant hippies, so I tried to politely explain that I really needed some other options to put my money…I couldn’t support companies that I didn’t believe in.
Instead of honoring my request, my broker went on to say that the companies weren’t so bad, and any type of investment would have some aspect of something that I wouldn’t like. He told me I would be happy once the money came in, so I should reconsider my position.
I didn’t…of course.
Instead, I did my own research and found socially responsible stocks to invest in. With the “greening” of America, I do think that these types of companies will yield great returns. But, because the industry is so new, there will definitely be failures along the way. Remember when we thought that ethanol was a great idea? (harvesting corn for gas) and then realized it took more effort to grow the corn, harvest, and turn it into a fuel than regular gas. The more environmentally friendly way turned out to be less friendly, and actually harmful to the environment!
Just so you don’t have to go through what I did, here are some links to more information about socially responsible investing:
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