If someone invited you to go overseas to chop down some orangutan habitat, or to make some half-starved 8-year-olds make you a pair of shoes instead of going to school, would you go? No? Then why would you let your money do it?
The way we spend our money is a large part of how we define ourselves – where we send it defines what we stand for, and we create our world through how we consume.
In Australia we have compulsory Superannuation (i.e. retirement savings). According to the Australian Government around 80% of Australian’s simply accept their employer’s default superannuation product without question.
So here’s the question; do you know where your money is going? I recently went through what turned out to be an extraordinarily frustrating process of trying to find out where my default fund was investing. The ‘social progress’ product (which wasn’t the default product but the ‘greenest’ one they offered) invested in fossil fuels, uranium and a few other apparently ‘socially just’ industries. The PDS (product disclosure statement) didn’t actually disclose where my money was going. The sales staff and fund managers weren’t allowed to tell me – I wasn’t allowed to know where my own money was going or what it was doing.
Just recently the Chief of the Australian Army, David Morrison, declared this:
“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”
when denouncing unacceptable behaviours in the Army. So I took my money and switched my Super.
So, this weekend’s challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to become active in where your Super is going. If you’re part of the 80%, but want to make your money do good things (in addition to just getting good returns), check out Australian Ethical Investment. They disclose where every cent goes. I’m not normally keen to promote specific products, but in this case I’m comfortable with singing their praises – they are investing in some of the coolest stuff around the world and I love their weekly stories on their Facebook site.
I switched, and for the first time in my life am engaged in my Superannuation and take an interest in what it’s doing. Good returns and feels good.
Spend a little time today getting curious about what your retirement money is doing – what kind of awesome future do you want to create?
[note that I’m not giving financial advice here – I’m not qualified – if you thought I was then stop trying to multitask and read it again properly. What I’m urging is that we lead by example and vote with our buying decisions, that we be part of the solution not part of the problem]