I’ve never engaged in Millennial bashing because I can’t think of anything bash-worthy. I love Millennials! I have two daughters, both in their twenties. They don’t do things the way I did at their age but that doesn’t matter because I appreciate their different point of views and passions. For example, my daughters and their friends care about the earth. They place a high value on friends, teamwork, and collaboration. In general, Millennials tend to prefer experiences over things.
I’ve been telling my girls that if they could just understand how big their numbers are, their demographic would be very powerful. That power could be huge. I’m happy to see that they are starting to understand, based on all the “I Voted” pictures I saw on Facebook this November.
I was recently at a conference for Socially Responsible Impact Investing (SRI) and one topic was: Women and Millennials – What do they Want? There was a lot of political discussion and concern about the environment as well as conversation about sexual harassment since the Weinstein scandal was just breaking.
Then a gentleman in the audience stood up and said, “I don’t get it. I am flabbergasted. Women hold a majority of wealth in the U.S. Don’t they understand their power? Why are they not using their power to combat some of these concerns? It’s beyond me.”
He was right. I sat stunned because of the depth of feeling behind his words.
It had never occurred to me that women with a lifetime of earning and investing could wield as much power as I believed the Millennials could.
According to Business Insider women now control more than half the US personal wealth. If women collectively decided to invest only in companies that are good stewards of our earth, valued both genders (as evidenced by women on their board and in upper management) and treated their employees well, imagine what could happen. It would mean those companies who didn’t follow fair and sustainable practices wouldn’t have half the population investing in them. Their stock prices would drop. The only way they could survive would be to run their organizations responsibly. That’s power.
Our power with money can manifest in a number of ways. And that power could be huge. Below are six ways a woman can wield her financial power.
1) Support good companies with your spending.Boycott the bad guys. For example, after Uber made headlines recently due to misogynistic practices, my family switched to Lyft when we need a ride share.
2) Buy local.Support your own community by buying products and food made locally. My daughter insists I only buy Minnesota fruit in season for this reason.
3) Donate to causes that seek to change the world.Do you support equality? Do you feel girls around the world should have access to education as much as boys? Support a non-profit with the same goals. She’s the First is an example of a non-profit supporting girl’s education.
4) Put your savings where your values are.Some organizations use savings dollars to invest in communities. One example is Community Investment Notes by Calvert Impact Capital. It’s a fixed income savings-type product in which you can choose to invest in a number of fields such as renewable energy, education and health.
5) Time is money.Donate your time. Make a difference by giving your time to a cause that is important to you. A few hours a week can affect a lot of change. Call your Senator, join a political committee, or volunteer at a local non-profit.
6) Become a Power Investor.
Choose to invest only in companies that treat our earth, its inhabitants and its laborers well. Determine your values and only invest in companies that mirror them. Sustainable Responsible Impact (SRI) investing has been around for a long time but has recently become more popular. It is also known as Socially Responsible Investing and Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing. The Deutsche Bank published a report that indicates that you don’t have to sacrifice investment performance (and your own retirement) to invest in this way. Deutsche Bank found that 89 percent of the studies on investing suggest that ESG investing provides superior returns.
If you are interested in wielding your financial power and helping to change the world for good, speak with your financial advisor about how you can create an investment strategy using SRI/ESG principles.
For more information about SRI Investing click here: What is SRI Investing?