I had a look at one of my older posts Vultures and while it is an interesting rant which fires in all directions the first comment made me think about something that I keep hearing about these days, and that is the concept of Ethical Investing.
The commenter in that specific post pretty much called me a scum bag for investing in banks, which given my rants about how terrible the service is that Banks give, makes me more of a hypocrite than a scum bag (IMHO), but I only bring this up to start the discussion.
Yes, I do invest in the Canadian Banks, mostly because they do seem to find new and exciting ways to make money, most likely in a way that screws regular folks royally, but I don’t have an issue with that, but that is pretty much where I draw the line for where I invest. You might ask what I don’t invest in (directly, I may invest in these because I hold many index funds and ETFs that may spread funds to these industries/areas):
- Payday Loan companies: interesting that I will invest in banks which make a fortune off consumer debt using credit cards and bad loan terms, yet I don’t want to invest in Pay Day loan companies, which are just a much smellier part of the same financial compost heap. I am a complicated guy that way (or a hypocrite as I am sure someone will point out).
- China: I am staying the heck away from China and Russia (to a lesser extent), just because totalitarian governments worry me, and what they have done to their populations just makes me leery of giving them my money.
- High Tech: this is mostly a once bitten, twice shy scenario where I have lost enough money in this area in my younger days, and frankly the scum bags that run some of these companies are really in the same category as a few dictatorships I have read about.
- Carbon Footprint Offset Funds: I don’t understand it, and I really don’t trust any of it. I think I’d rather invest in Sanitation Companies before I got into this Green Shell Game.
I do not go out of my way to live up to these high ideals that I have put down, but I do try to steer clear of these areas (and some other areas which seem shady at best). Is this Ethical Investing? Somewhat since it is my own ethics that I am following, but I think it is not Big E ethics, more small e ethical investing.
What areas do you stay away from and are you a Big E Ethical Investor, or a small e?