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Responsible Investing With Your Own Personal Values

Phil Town
Phil Town

Our personal values are incredibly important to successful investing. Almost no one talks about how to connect your values or your heart to where your money is going.

I think it is the most important vote in your life to invest your money into the things that you value and that you want to see in the world 20 years from now.

The Importance of Investing in What You Value

Remember that wherever you’re putting your money is what is going to grow in the world.

I know that you don’t think you’re going to change the world by investing your $1,000, $10,000 or even your million dollars given that the stock market is something like $15 trillion. Think about this, we as a group as small investors have 85% of the money in the stock market. The California Teacher’s Retirement Fund is one of the biggest investors in the world. All of those teachers have about $180 billion invested in the stock market. It’s unbelievable how powerful we can be when we vote our money in the right direction.

By making the decision to invest based on our personal values, we can change the world radically. Probably faster than any single thing we could do is to vote our money where our values are.

What Are Your Values?

Now how do you know what your values are? Your values are what you do. Your values are not what you say you’re going to do.

What you say you are going to do, are called our intentions. When we talk about our values we talk about the things that we are promising ourselves to do. We promise ourselves to be honest, we promise ourselves to buy companies that we really want to see in the world.

Related: "Socially Responsible Investing" Using Rule #1 and Thinking for Yourself

Don’t Let Someone Else Invest in Their Values

Let me explain something really important. If you’re investing in a mutual fund, you’re handing over your values to some fund manager who doesn’t have the same value set. He’s investing in his values and his values may be, “I’m going to invest in Altria because they make cigarettes, and maybe that’s a company that may go up in price, and maybe we can make some money.”

But, you’re making money doing something that maybe you’re telling your kids not to do and if you think about it, that makes you a hypocrite We don’t want to be hypocrites to our children right?

If we say, “Hey look, don’t be smoking, its not a good idea.” But we own a piece of the company that makes cigarettes, that’s an incredibly hypocritical point of view and our kids get tuned into that.

I also think that what goes around comes around and you get to get results from your karma. If your mutual fund manager is buying companies that you personally think are really bad, that’s kind of bad karma here.

For example, I think Whole Foods is a wonderful business. They’re out there changing the world and every time I can buy the company on sale I’m going to do it because I want to invest in my values and in what I want to see in the world in 20 years.

Rule #1 investors are owners and, as owners, with a responsibility for what the company does.


If you can learn Rule #1 Investing, you can do the same thing and put your money where your heart is, invest your money in your values are and lets change the world together.

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