Guest column: Give yourself a financial head start - invest early, and with a conscience
As a financial security advisor, I work closely with individuals, families, and businesses to plan a stable and secure financial future. One of the best pieces of advice that I give to young adults is to start saving and investing early. The earlier you start saving, the more likely you are to make it a lifelong habit, and that can help you reach your financial goals on time.
Think about your current situation, and any future obligations that you might take on. Things like marriage, children, and home ownership can be very expensive. If you have a good job and don't find yourself in these situations, your cash flow may be at its highest point. And if that's the case, it's the perfect time to start investing.
Since young Canadians are becoming more socially and environmentally conscious, many of them are considering socially responsible investments (SRIs) when they invest. SRIs are investment portfolios that integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into the investment decision-making process. With an SRI, your money is invested in businesses that work to reduce their impact on the environment, respect human rights and worker safety, and ensure that their board of directors is diverse and independent.
As Ethical Funds explains, the idea behind SRIs is that "the best possible returns can be achieved by investing in companies that combine strong financial performance with positive ESG performance." This is important because citizens around the world are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of their activities on the global community.
One of the benefits of investing in SRIs is that fund managers actively engage with companies to promote ethical and sustainable practices. For example, Ethical Funds works with businesses to address issues surrounding climate change and supply chain risk. The fund convinces companies to embrace business solutions that include unconventional performance measures, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing quality employment.
Another benefit of SRIs is that their entire premise - rewarding businesses that respect the environment, communities, and their employees by encouraging people to invest in them - shows companies that operating ethically is not only responsible, but also profitable.
For someone who is looking to invest early and be socially conscious at the same time, there are many different options available. Ask yourself: What are your goals? Where do you want to be later in life? The answer to either of those questions will require a financial security plan, and there is no better time to start one than now.
Regardless of market trends, the longer the term is on your investment, the more likely you are to weather short term volatility - so it's in your best interest to start planning and investing as soon as possible. The benefits of investing early, combined with the better risk/return profile of SRIs, can be a winning combination for planning your financial future while creating positive change in your community.
Kylene Channer (Hon. B.A) is a Financial Security Advisor at Freedom 55 Financial, and an Investment Representative for Quadrus Investment Services Ltd. To read more of her investment advice, visit www.kylenechanner.com.