Many of us seek to do business with LGBT accepting and respectful companies when doing business in our daily lives. It can be the stores we frequent, the cleaners we use, the places we eat, or maybe the mfr. of the tools we use or beer we drink. This also applies when investing our hard-earned money in companies for both short and long-term investments.
One of the most important questions asked by many LGBT persons is how much we should each weigh a companies community support as a criterion, when deciding whether to invest in a company or not. It’s a very important question, but one not easily answered.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) offers a list of such companies that they as an organization feel excel or succeed in supporting or protecting our civil rights.
In major cities such as Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and others, you will usually find paid portfolio managers and advisers who specialize in tracking such issues for LGBT persons. You could seek those persons easily, but a reminder that these persons usually specialize and that usually means a substantial fee. Those fees must we weighed against anticipated outcome.
Another option would be to seek mutual funds tailored specifically to the needs and civil rights of LGBT persons. Those are harder to find, but can often be determined by reading prospectus and other available financial information offered by each firm/fund.
The best, but most time consuming method to determine which companies to invest your money for long-term gain, would be to research on your own. Then you can determine yourself the level of social investing you seek and what really matters to you. What is important to you as it relates to companies to do business with and to invest in.
Criteria you may want to consider would be LGBT issues such as non-discrimination policies within the company. The policies they have on their own investing, the types of services they invest in or do business with. Other criteria to consider could be domestic partner benefits, philanthropic activities for LGBT groups undertaken by the company or several other social screens that you might determine on your own, both LGBT pertaining or not.
One thing to remember with any of these is one very important detail. You must be very careful and take your time when evaluating companies for your own peace of mind. Remember that social responsibility alone will not full-fill your investment objectives or compensate for sub-standard returns.
A final thought, the higher on your “moral” barometer social investing is, the more time you should plan to invest in making sure you make the right decisions. By using the tools above you can determine companies meeting more of your objectives, but at the same time you must realize the higher the bar you set, the fewer investments you will have to choose from.
Always, above all make sure that you do not compromise on issues of diversification and return on your investments just for the sake of full-filling your social investing. You can try to be smarter with the companies with which you do business with and invest, but in the end you must also provide for your financial future!