As we reach the end of 2011, Simon Leadbetter asks whether our investments are building the future we want for the following generations.
When you invest or save money, it’s more than just an investment or saving.
Your money is working round the clock and round the globe investing in the markets and companies that make and sell things.
Your money could be manufacturing battleships, bombers, bombs or bullets – many destined for wars of aggression and domestic oppression.
Your money could be producing and marketing alcohol, gambling, smoking and pornography, much of it marketed to children.
Your money could be building nuclear power stations on fault lines, or dislodging poverty-stricken indigenous people to mine the precious minerals beneath their villages.
Your money could be building new coal, oil and gas fired power stations to spew millions of tonnes of particles and pollution into the air we all breathe.
Your money could be pumping toxic chemicals into the earth to release shale gas or destroying areas of outstanding natural beauty to remove oil from tar sands.
Your money could be clearing the seas of fish, pushing whole species to extinction.
Your money could be backing companies that pump billions of tonnes of toxic waste into the rivers and seas, entering the food chain and ending up on your kitchen table.
Your money could be tearing down rainforests, literally starving the earth of oxygen and the soil that literally holds our hills and mountains together while eradicating thousands of species and plant life that may hold the as yet undiscovered cure to so many diseases.
Your money could be marketing products to children that make them harder to teach through ADD, more materialistic, obese and living tragically shorter lives than their parents.
Your money could be supporting regimes and companies that abuse or kill women and men, harm and kill children and let thousands of men, women and children die from unnecessary accidents at work.
It’s not just a pension, a bond, an ISA, an annuity, a fund, an OEIC, a unit trust or simply a nice tax-efficient return on investment. It is so much more than that.
Your money could be so much more.
Your money could be developing clean energy; powering a sustainable pollution-free economic renaissance globally; providing plentiful fresh water for millions who have none; improving quality of life for the elderly, weak and sick; eradicating diseases that kill millions needlessly; employing the planet’s poorest; educating the world’s children; producing technology to mitigate or adapt our lives to a changing climate whatever the cause. And delivering a nice rate of return.
Where do we think the growth will come from as our manmade problems become more acute? More companies producing more bombs, more mining, more pollution and more waste?
29.5 million people gave £11 billion to charity in the UK last year. 15 million people invested £45 billion in individual savings accounts (ISAs) alone in the UK in 2009/2010 – a tiny fraction of all investments and savings. Both made a big difference … one way or another, and many good deeds were cancelled out by many ‘bad’ investments.
There are two versions of the future we will build for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, one bright and one bleak. Moreover, it is being built now, every minute of every day and night with every dollar, pound and euro that is spent, saved or, more significantly, invested. Will it be a future our kids will thank us for?
Henrik Tikkanen, a Finnish author, said “Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us“. It takes one phone call or one email to your financial adviser, if you have one, to ask a simple question, “What is my money invested in?” and then ask yourself this, “Are these the companies that are building the future I want for my kids?”
It really is as simple as asking your IFA, if you have one, or complete our form and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser to make your money do so much more for you and all of our futures.