Advices for investing money.

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
buddho99
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Advices for investing money.

Post by buddho99 »

Hi,

I have been saving money for a long time and a lot of it is in different mutual funds. I chose them with ROI in mind (making the most money out of them). But I've been thinking for some time that I should move the money.

I don't mind investing in something I'd consider neutral (like.. let's say real estate) but since a mutual fund has stocks in many companies, I figured some of my money is invested in "evil" companies .. the likes that don't care about environment or human rights.

Therefore profit is not my sole concern now and since I don't want children, except maybe fostering or adopting, I won't ever be short of money. So I was wondering what were my options and obviously I will do my own research but I thought I'd ask opinions here because I very often like the views of people who post on this forum.

Ideally I'd want to invest in something "good" (like a company who makes real efforts toward the environment or don't kill animals, etc.) but I wouldn't necessary mind investing in something neutral.

Thank you in advance for your answers :)

Edit: you can also share your opinions about this topic in general :)

SarathW
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by SarathW »

There are some investment called ethical investment funds.
But I am not sure how genuine they are.
Perhaps they are no different to large charities, majority of money spent on administration.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

char101
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by char101 »

Since you are asking in a Buddhist forum, the answer is you should invest in good kamma.

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DooDoot
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by DooDoot »

In Australia, there are at least two investment funds on the stock market that claim to have ethical investments, namely:

1. List of investments for company #1: https://www.australianethical.com.au/pe ... invest-in/

2. List of investments for company #2: https://morphicasset.com/wp-content/upl ... r-2019.pdf

These companies claim things such as:
#1 wrote:Share investments produced 70% less CO2 than benchmark

Nil investment in fossil fuels

Nil investment in nuclear

Nil investment in tobacco

6 times more investment in renewable power generation than the global share market

https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20190828/ ... 86bw95.pdf
#2 wrote:“Negative Screen” excludes buying shares in:
Armaments Tobacco & alcohol Coal & Uranium Gambling Mining Intensive animal Oil & gas farming & aquaculture Rain forest & old growth logging

We seek out “positive” investments that support:
Water quality Air quality Conservation Renewable energy

https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20191129/ ... 8yb4dk.pdf
However, when we closely examine the companies these ethical investment funds invest in, we will see most of the companies are connected to the entire world economy therefore they are providing services to non-ethical companies & even non-ethical governments. In other words, there is a real blur between what is ethical & unethical. For example, ethical fund #1 owns shares in Microsoft & Facebook. These two companies are engaged in both ethical & non-ethical business & social practises. For example, I personally despise Microsoft & Facebook for certain practices they engage in. I personally don't like being forced to use their services but i have little choice in the matter.

A person can invest in individual companies. However, this requires having the knowledge of how to appraise an investment. In other words, it can expose the investor to high risk, given they are not expert in certain industries, such a medical or green minerals.

For example, I have five small investments and one larger investment in medical or biotech companies. They are all very speculative. The larger investment is not so speculative given the technology is proven & approved for sale yet they have not booked any major sales yet.

Lithium mining was a popular investment for greenies. Most lithium mining companies have lost 60% to 90% of the value over the last 2 years.

To conclude, I personally would not worry too much about ethical investments if your managed funds are doing well because most of the world economy is interconnected. What appears ethical is often providing services to what appears unethical. For example, merely putting your money in the bank means the bank may be lending your money to unethical businesses or people. While you can clearly avoid certain sectors, such as gambling, weapons, etc, imo, your managed fund's partial investment in an oil or mining company isn't going to change much for the world because what is fueling harm is demand/consumption rather than supply.

Its similar to Climate Change activism. Most activists don't want to change their lifestyle. Instead, they want governments to find new ways of producing energy. I think, for a Buddhist, what is most ethical is their personal lifestyle.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by Kim OHara »

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:21 am
In Australia, there are at least two investment funds on the stock market that claim to have ethical investments, namely:

1. List of investments for company #1: https://www.australianethical.com.au/pe ... invest-in/

2. List of investments for company #2: https://morphicasset.com/wp-content/upl ... r-2019.pdf

These companies claim things such as:
#1 wrote:Share investments produced 70% less CO2 than benchmark

Nil investment in fossil fuels

Nil investment in nuclear

Nil investment in tobacco

6 times more investment in renewable power generation than the global share market

https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20190828/ ... 86bw95.pdf
#2 wrote:“Negative Screen” excludes buying shares in:
Armaments Tobacco & alcohol Coal & Uranium Gambling Mining Intensive animal Oil & gas farming & aquaculture Rain forest & old growth logging

We seek out “positive” investments that support:
Water quality Air quality Conservation Renewable energy

https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20191129/ ... 8yb4dk.pdf
However, when we closely examine the companies these ethical investment funds invest in, we will see most of the companies are connected to the entire world economy therefore they are providing services to non-ethical companies & even non-ethical governments. In other words, there is a real blur between what is ethical & unethical. For example, ethical fund #1 owns shares in Microsoft & Facebook. These two companies are engaged in both ethical & non-ethical business & social practises. For example, I personally despise Microsoft & Facebook for certain practices they engage in. I personally don't like being forced to use their services but i have little choice in the matter. ...
All good so far, DooDoot, but I would continue differently, saying that investing in these ethical investment funds is a good choice in that (1) they nevertheless do less harm than other funds and (2) they usually offer very nearly the same ROI as non-ethical funds. Sure, it's a compromise, mixed kamma, but it's a step in the right direction and its very manageable.

A lot of my money is in superannuation funds, and each of these funds offers a range of investment options: shares, cash, property, mixed, and "socially responsible", for instance. Shares offer high ROI and high risk, cash is the opposite, mixed is their own best compromise without taking onboard the ethical dimension, and "socially responsible" is their best guess after dropping the nasties. Members of the superannuation fund can choose their priorities and put their money where they like. It all works pretty well, IMO, and I certainly do better than I would if I tried to do it all myself.

:namaste:
Kim

sunnat
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by sunnat »

"I won't ever be short of money." - ?, are you certain

The way to ensure a bright future is
- not equate it with having or not having money
- the greatest merit is getting the Dhamma. Contribute so the spread and reach of the Dhamma continues. For example, build a monastery.

chownah
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by chownah »

buddho99 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:59 pm


Ideally I'd want to invest in something "good" (like a company who makes real efforts toward the environment or don't kill animals, etc.) but I wouldn't necessary mind investing in something neutral.

I don't see why this requires discussion. Go find a "good" company as you descrive them. They really shouldnt be hard to find so what is there to discuss? There are plenty of companies to choose from but YOU will have to be the person who decides if they are "good" or not....if you are asking about specific suggestions I'll offer one.....Tesla......or yet another: start an organic farm....or several....
chownah

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Right-livelihood is one factor of the Buddhist path, so one should not dismiss it as not worth thinking about or discussing.
  1. One should avoid investing in the five types of businesses as listed in the Vanijja Sutta
  2. It is intention that the Buddha called kamma, so profit should not be the sole motive, though one should not waste one's inheritance on pipe-dreams.
  3. Investing in a firm like Tesla, as suggested above, might help the environment. Elon Musk seems to be motivated by noble intentions.
  4. Investing in Buddhist activities such as publications, meditation centres, or social welfare should be done as charity rather than as an investment. They should be run on a not for profit basis.
  5. One can also help the environment more directly by changing one's own habits. Do not fly unless essential; drive an EV if one must have a car, or use a bicycle, walk, or take public transport. Use a search engine that plants trees; grow your own food or buy organic, etc.
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SarathW
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by SarathW »

grow your own food
Good posting Bhante but I have a reservation on growing my own food.
In my opinion, growing your own food is the most wasteful action.
I believe in mass food production.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

If you have even as much as a window box you can grow herbs or salad leaves. It costs next to nothing, and is guaranteed free from pesticides and polluting fertilisers. If you have a small garden you can grow enough vegetables and fruits to share with neighbours. Every kilo grown at home means one less kilo to be transported, refrigerated, wrapped in plastic, and thrown in the bin if it is not sold before it goes off. Any unused food grown at home goes to the compost heap.

Grains and pulses are best grown on a large scale, but it makes no ecological sense to grow fresh fruit and ship it half way around the world, just because it is cheap to exploit low paid workers in banana republics. We Brits can eat apples, pears, plums, and berries, instead of Avocados, Lychees, and Durian.
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SarathW
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by SarathW »

and thrown in the bin/quote]
Perhaps I have to agree on this point.
Supermarkets accepts only perfect fruits and according to standard sizes.
I heard 50% of the farm products perfectly edible are thrown away due to meet supermarket standards.
In my opinion, the governments should bring laws prohibiting standardization of food in supermarkets,.
when I was young I was quite happy to eat a mango half-eaten by the squirrels. Now I don't eat it unless it is perfect and even. :rolleye:

The drawback for homegrown vegetables according to my experience ( I am a hopeless Gardner) are:
- Over usage of pesticides killing bugs eating animals such as lizards, birds etc.
- Overuse of fertiliser washes away to waterways creating algae.
- Expose to pollution. Vegetables grown in the city apartments and roadside are exposed to pollution.
- Waste of fertiliser and chemicals. Every household Gardner has tons of unused materials
- The hidden cost of the home garden. (water, transport electricity, materials etc,) If you make real costing on household grown vegetables it is cheaper to by from the supermarket.
- Home garden is more of a hobby and a leasure activity.

Sorry to hijack the thread.
:focus:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Kim OHara
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by Kim OHara »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:40 am
If you have even as much as a window box you can grow herbs or salad leaves. It costs next to nothing, and is guaranteed free from pesticides and polluting fertilisers. If you have a small garden you can grow enough vegetables and fruits to share with neighbours. Every kilo grown at home means one less kilo to be transported, refrigerated, wrapped in plastic, and thrown in the bin if it is not sold before it goes off. Any unused food grown at home goes to the compost heap.

Grains and pulses are best grown on a large scale, but it makes no ecological sense to grow fresh fruit and ship it half way around the world, just because it is cheap to exploit low paid workers in banana republics. We Brits can eat apples, pears, plums, and berries, instead of Avocados, Lychees, and Durian.
:goodpost:

but if there's a bright side to global warming (which I doubt, but just saying) it's that you Brits will be able to grow your own grapes (again), olives, avocados, bananas ... sequentially as the place warms up.

:tongue:
Kim

buddho99
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by buddho99 »

Thank you DooDoot and Kim. Very interesting takes and it's helping me thinking about the situation. Also thank you Bhante, very good ideas and reminders.

sunnat wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:31 am
"I won't ever be short of money." - ?, are you certain

The way to ensure a bright future is
- not equate it with having or not having money
- the greatest merit is getting the Dhamma. Contribute so the spread and reach of the Dhamma continues. For example, build a monastery.
You are right, I am not 100% certain :) . I'm not worried about it though. If there is a problem with that, I'll deal with it.

I agree with your the rest of your post but I don't think it's relevant to my post! There is no need to obsess with money or investing but as long as I am a layperson, I think it's responsible/important to think a bit about those things.

chownah wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:06 am
buddho99 wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:59 pm


Ideally I'd want to invest in something "good" (like a company who makes real efforts toward the environment or don't kill animals, etc.) but I wouldn't necessary mind investing in something neutral.

I don't see why this requires discussion. Go find a "good" company as you descrive them. They really shouldnt be hard to find so what is there to discuss? There are plenty of companies to choose from but YOU will have to be the person who decides if they are "good" or not....if you are asking about specific suggestions I'll offer one.....Tesla......or yet another: start an organic farm....or several....
chownah
You are right, I can find them on my own. But I think there are people with more wisdom and knowledge than me on this forum and I wanted to see if I could hear their thoughts on the subject. Also I was hoping for some discussion similar to what Kim and DooDoot posted, about the concept of responsible investments in general. Thank you for your suggestions, it's appreciated :). For me I think it requires discussion.. case in point: multiple messages in this thread are already giving me a new perspective and things to think about.

dharmacorps
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by dharmacorps »

We've discussed a bit on investing here in the past and had some good conversations-- I recommend searching the forum for these subjects. In a nutshell, it sounds like some people including myself are in favor of "index funds" meaning, rather than hazard hoping that a company is run ethically (i.e. individual stocks), investing in an entire market (small pieces of all stocks relative to their industry representation) is also a frugal and simple way of investing which avoids being too invested in any one company. Socially responsible investing, while good in theory, is also based on what the company presents to investors, and could be totally false. I have relatives who are involved in such a fund and were shocked to find out a large percentage of their portfolio was in a major defense/weapons manufacturer. Clearly what one person considers "socially responsible" is not what another may find ethical. Unfortunately it seems like cherrypicking investments doesn't work from a ethics standpoint or a investing standpoint (also interestingly, socially responsible funds underperform).

sunnat
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Re: Advices for investing money.

Post by sunnat »

Ok, to labour the point. Is possibly not having enough money in a future a problem.? solved by getting money? What exactly is enough. If you have enough why have more.?

The suggestion is that to spend on things that spread the dhamma is in a final analysis the wisest investment that ensures a truly prosperous future. That may be a leap of faith so setting aside a portion for a seemingly irrelevant investment may in time show result. The more opprtunities you create for people to experience the Dhamma the more likely it is that you are one of those people with a result being that you become less attached to money and therefore, paradoxially, more the person likely to have money.

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