There are many ways to make an impact with your money.

Making It Count: Save, Give, Spend and Invest for a Cause

by Jenifer Sapel ChFc | 20 October 2020

If you grew up in the 90s, you remember the game Perfection where there was literally a “frantic race” to put all the pieces in the right spaces. If you didn’t the board would “pop up” and all your perfectly placed pieces go tumbling about.

Sounds a little like life before COVID, right?

You can’t “fall behind” the other students and must do the “right” extracurricular activities so you can go to the “right” school, then get the “right” job so you can afford the “right” house. Of course you have to pick the “right” partner and have the “right” kids so the cycle can start again. Not to mention the “right” clothes, cars, social media messages, taste in books, meals, etc…..

I’m exhausted just thinking of how long the goddamn list is. And who determined what “right” looked like anyway? And, remind me what the rush is? Who started the clock on this frantic game?

Good, bad or indifferent, the events of 2020 have stopped the clock and popped out the pieces for everyone. Some of us are still frantically trying to shove the same pieces back into the same board, some of us are just staring at the pieces in disbelief or exhaustion, and some of us are picking up each one and asking, “why did I even own this piece in the first place.”

While each of our worlds has been disassembled, many of us feel powerless as we watch the collective state of our country stretching, fraying, and breaking at the seams as well. Personally, I believe its progress (which is always messy), but our future will only be shaped by the decisive and seemingly small actions we take each day.

Here is an exercise and example of how you can use your everyday financial decisions to influence the world you want for the future.

There are essentially four ways we use money, and, as an example, I’ll use climate change (of course, you can do this exercise with whatever your top priority is):


Ask, how does my spending influence climate change?

I’m no expert here but a quick google search shows many ways to consume in a more environmentally friendly way. Choosing 1 day/week to eat vegetarian is one example or buying used (anything) clothes are quick and relatively easy adjustments


Ask, what is the bank doing with the money I have on deposit?

By a quick search on Mighty Deposits, I can see that there are 2 banks nationally that do not fund fossil fuels whereas Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are some of the top funders for fossil fuels. Head over to Mighty Deposits to see how your bank is using your deposits and ensure you aren’t funding areas you’d rather not by default.


Ask, what impact are my investment choices making?

There are many ways to be an impact investor, climate change is one of the most accessible among options. Management companies like Calvert, publish on their website how your investment influences sustainable choices compared to similar investments without a sustainability focus. Coincidently, because of the Covid pause we experienced as a nation and a dramatic decrease in fuel consumption, socially responsible funds outperformed their traditional investment options in Q1 this year.


Ask, how can I make effective donations toward my cause?

Again, a quick google search here and a NY Times article has done a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Something they smartly point out, political donations is one of the most effective strategies.

If you’re still reading, pick one of the above, and implement it today. The world needs your voice to be heard.

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Jenifer, founder of Utor Wealth, is a Chartered Financial Consultant on a mission to changing American’s relationship with money. You can find her practice and podcast here.

Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). OSJ: 3585 MAPLE STREET SUITE 140, VENTURA, CA 93003, 909-399-1100. Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Utor Wealth is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. 2019-90632 Exp. 12/21

Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. This material contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice.

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