Divest yourself from fossil fuels

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Do you own stocks or mutual funds? Perhaps as part of your retirement or pension portfolio? Do you know if your savings are invested in fossil fuels? There is a simple tool called Fossil Free Funds to help figure that out!

Search the mutual funds in your portfolio to see if they include polluting companies. If it turns out they do, then Fossil Free Funds helps find other options. Once you know where you stand, you can start to move your money to investments that are not detrimental to our future prosperity.

It might be better for your investments as well. Energy stocks, which are mostly made up of oil and natural gas companies, were one of the biggest losers of the 2010s decade. If we rally together to address climate change, then that trend will likely continue.


• The Fossil Free Funds website tends to focus on the United States and globally oriented funds. If you cannot find your funds it may be because of this. One option is to find similar funds to the ones you have by comparing the types of companies included in the fund. Once you get a sense of the types of funds that do and do not include fossil fuel companies, you can hopefully figure out where you stand.

• Keep tax implications in mind when moving your funds around. If your money is in a retirement pension account, there likely will not be any tax implications. If it is not, then look into what the impact may be. In either situation, investigate ahead of making transactions to avoid any surprises.

• Does someone help manage your portfolio? Share the Fossil Free Funds tool with them so they can help develop a plan to move your money as needed. If they are unwilling or unable to help transition away from polluting companies, maybe it is time to find a new adviser.

• If your investment options are limited because your funds are tied to where you work or for another reason, it will take more effort than if you have a personal investment account that you solely control. You will need to engage the plan administrator to include funds that exclude polluters. This may require building a coalition of other plan participants and key decision-makers. On one hand, it could be too big of a barrier to overcome, but if you can, positive changes will happen on a larger scale.

• It is critically important to consider the expense ratio of any fund you invest in. This is how much money the fund manager takes per year for managing the fund. Anything above 0.50% is extremely high and will cost you a tidy fortune over the years.

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