Michael Kern: Investing Based on Your Faith and Values

As a reader of the Christian Post, the chances are pretty strong that faith matters to you and it guides how you live and work.

When it comes to raising a family, how you educate your children, how you spend your time, and how you conduct yourself in the workplace, your religious principles drive you. They give you the strength to live your life with conviction, courage, a strong moral compass, and with joy.

Why can’t the same be the case for the way you manage your money?

I’ve spent over 20 years in the financial services industry and in doing so, have been very direct and proud of my faith. Indeed, my own business decisions and the way I’ve run organizations and worked with clients has been guided by my religious principles and deeply held values.

What surprises me – although it shouldn’t – is that many people of faith don’t realize that they can align their investment decisions with their values. They don’t know that they can plan for retirement, or build a portfolio, all while maintaining a deep and focused commitment to their religious values.

The idea that one’s investments should align with their religious, social or moral beliefs is hardly new, but it is growing in importance in today’s investment marketplace. Whether you refer to the practice as “values-based investing,” “faith-based investing,” “socially responsible investing,” or “impact investing,” the guiding principle is that people and organizations should invest according to what they believe and how they want to make a positive change in the world around them.

More individuals and institutions than ever before are “investing where their heart is” by taking a values-based approach to their investments. Approximately US$22.8 trillion, or about 26% of the professionally managed assets globally, are now invested according to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, according to a McKinsey & Co. study. That percentage is up from 21.5% percent in 2012. And, interest is only increasing. According to our own recent survey, 88% of millennials want to talk about values-based investing with their advisors, and ask their individual advisor about their values.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Kern