How can you incorporate your values into your investments? While many of us have principles and views about what is “right” and “wrong”, putting those principles into action within a portfolio can be difficult.

Although hard to accomplish, there are different ways of making an impact. They vary in terms of feasibility, effectiveness, and potential cost.

When trying to determine the best approach, ask yourself, what am I trying to achieve? What outcome do I want? Is it about making me feel good or are do you seek an impact in the world?

If you’re considering adopting a values-based approach to investing, there are four different options to consider:

  • Divestiture: When you avoid owning the stock or bonds of of a company or issuer.
  • Engagement: Owning company stock, and putting pressure on the board and management through voting.
  • Impact investing: Investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact.
  • Charity: Giving to the causes you believe bring about the right change.

Of course, all investing involves risk, but the advent of funds that allow screening based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors has prompted the Department of Labor to issue some warnings.

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