What could be better than doing good and making money? So-called impact investing seeks to do just that. While the practice, also called socially responsible investing, is growing, it’s still under the radar for some.
Here’s what you need to know.
- Educate yourself: Rather than donating to one cause, a mutual fund focused on impact investing benefits numerous companies with a common mission. School yourself. Start by studying up at The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment website, ussif.org.
- Know what matters most: While being mindful of your financial goals, also set clear goals for your impact investing. “What area or areas, like education for children in third world countries, or protecting the environment, are important to you?” asks Charles Massimo, CEO of CJM Wealth Management in Deer Park.
- Get the right adviser: There are opportunities to invest across many asset classes — cash, fixed income, public equities, private equity, venture capital and real assets. “Find an adviser with experience investing this way, who can help you select investments, establish a baseline impact for your investments, and continually benchmark and monitor your investment performance,” says Massimo.
- Determine the best percentage: Decide how much of your portfolio to devote to doing good. “We have clients who want to start with a single fund, and those who are moving 100 percent of their portfolio,” says Terence McLaughlin, managing director at U.S. Trust in Melville. The answer depends on your goals and situation.
- Keep your heart in check: Robert Johnson, president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, offers this advice: “Don’t let your altruism make you compromise and choose inferior financial investments.”