What is Values-Based Investing?
You probably got yours from your parents. You likely taught them to your kids. Values embody the way you live. The way you work. How you vote. Where you shop. The products you buy and the people and companies you do business with.
Values can also be an important part of the investments you own. Values-Based Investing is the process of selecting and managing investments that meet your values and match God’s standards.
Values-Based Investing is a subset of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). Socially Responsible Investing generally seeks out companies that promote secular progressive causes. Causes that could be yesterday's news as soon as a new hashtag is trending on Twitter.
Socially Responsible Investing seems like a moving target to me. A social cause could be hotter than global warming until global cooling takes over the news cycle and renames it climate change.
Biblical principles stand the test of time. For my money, Jesus was the original socially responsible investor. He was socially conscious, ethical, considered financial returns as well as the environment to bring about social change.
"...Love your neighbor as yourself..."
Why Do Values-Based Investing?
As a Christian, every part of our life is worship. One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:23 - "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." To me, that means whether you’re driving a truck, preparing dinner, or handling money, do it for the Lord.
If you believe it all belongs to God, and you’re managing His money to the best of your ability, doesn’t investing fall under the managing part? You’d want to invest to the best of your ability. And you’d want those investments to be pleasing to God.
Many Christians handle their finances according to Biblical principles. They tithe, avoid debt, set up emergency funds, and set aside a percentage of their income to put into retirement accounts.
When it’s time to choose the investments inside of their 401ks and Roth IRAs, no thought is given to whether those investment choices would make God proud. Most folks select what they think will provide the greatest return on their money, never considering how that money is made.
Sound like you? That was me. How could it not be us? We didn’t know there was an option. BRI provides that option.
Now you know. And once you know, there’s no longer an excuse. It’s a little harder to claim, “Father, I didn’t know any better.”
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31
How to do Values-Based Investing
How do you, or the professionals that you hire, choose these companies that align with your values and biblical principles? They run screens. Filtering out investments that don’t match specific criteria.
Do you know much about the companies inside your mutual funds? Sure, it says large-cap growth in the title. But which large companies are they? And what do they do? How do they make their money? What causes or charities are they promoting and funding?
This is where Values-Based Investing comes in…running those screens to find out and then exclude any companies that don’t meet up to standards. Typically filtering out companies that have anything to do with abortion, or abortion drugs, pornography, anti-family activity…and the list goes on. Think of Values-Based Investing as a background check on your investments.