Millennials are known as a generation that’s socially consciousness and passionate about environmental protection. But millennials aren’t stopping there. They’re taking social responsibility to the financial sector, using their discretionary income to invest and plan for retirement through social investing.
The socially responsible investing sector has grown 107.4% annually since 2012. This is partially due to the fact that Millennials are going expected to receive $30 trillion in wealth transfers from Baby Boomers, according to a survey by Accenture. Split evenly, that’s over $4 million per millennial in the US. Just as Millennials have changed communication with technology and slang, they can leave their mark in the financial sector by popularizing socially responsible investing.
Another study from the World Economic Forum shows how powerful this trend is. In this study, 36 percent of Millennials said they want to invest in businesses that make a positive impact on society.
So what is impact investing and socially responsible investing?
The terms mean the same thing, but socially responsible investing sums it up best. Essentially, an investor selects investment options, including stocks that support their moral and social ideals. It’s about making a conscious effort to define what’s important to you as an investor – beyond your returns. Many times, it’s focused around technologies of interest, dedication to employment equality or environmental causes. Many Millennials will make investments based on ethical business practices or partnerships with philanthropies.
Of course, the point of investing is to get a solid return on your investment (ROI). The more you make, the better you feel. But being able to promote your values while making money, makes it feel that much better. You’ll find yourself narrowing down your possible investment options by their value to you, and then by financials. It’s about balancing these two perspectives so your investments earn a solid return – while supporting a greater cause.
Why it appeals to Millennials
Socially responsible investing supports other trends made popular by the Millennial generation. A Morgan Stanley study compared Millennial and non-Millennial investors and found that Millennials are nearly twice as likely to purchase a brand because of the company’s social and/or environmental impact (15 percent of Millennial investors, compared to 7 percent of the total individual investor population). And 40% of millennial investors are nearly twice as likely as non-millennials to check product packaging to ensure sustainability.
These behaviors show how Millennials are integrating the power of personal fulfillment by investing in their values.
Getting into socially responsible investing
If socially responsible investing piques your interest, you’re not alone. Toniic, a global investing forum, recently released a report on Millennials and Impact Investing. In this study, 79 percent of Millennials described themselves as seeking to balance both financial returns and social impact/moral returns. Some values that intrigued Millennials in the study most are: social returns, energy, environment and agriculture, employment, food security and water.
If you want to get started, look no further than yourself. Define what’s important to you and what causes you want to support. From there, your financial institution, investment advisor or investing service probably has some more information to help you narrow down which investments are best for you. Some online research will help you decide what companies and investment funds support your goals. Talk to your friends and peers and see what they know. Sustainability or socially conscious business practices are at the forefront of many marketing and branding efforts today. To find what you’re looking for, you can probably look to advertising and marketing campaigns to get some ideas.
A financial advisor can also provide you with values-based investing options. 29 percent of Millennial investors interested in impact investing end up working with an advisor. Once you have your values and causes selected, your advisor can help you establish a balanced portfolio and break down how to integrate your social and financial goals.
Impact investing is about being invested in the investment process – and the things that matter to you. It’s a win-win if you want help reaching your financial goals while supporting companies that make the world a better place!