Financial Investments

I’ve always appreciated the simplicity of investing in mutual funds. The stock market is confusing and intimidating but leaving my savings in a checking account where it will depreciate would be unfortunate. Mutual funds are the perfect balance where I can invest a relatively small amount of savings in a wide range of stocks without needing to study the different companies continuously.

Then I started to observe the disconnect between my money and my the companies I whose stock I own. I just want to check my balance each quarter and see that it has grown. If my mutual fund is performing worse than a different mutual fund I might consider changing. At no point have I evaluated the ethics or integrity of these companies. I’ve never asked if the products they’re selling are helping society. I just want my savings to increase.

This system, my system, seems only to perpetuate the “me now” attitude in our world. If I really knew suffering that was caused by my pressuring the system to churn out 4% instead of just 3%, would I still invest in this way? Is there a way to invest my savings more responsibly? Am I over exaggerating the idea that uninformed investing is causing suffering?

I’m not suggesting that investing is bad. I’m actually suggesting that we have the potential to influence our economic system if we invest with a different agenda. If we invest our savings in companies that are serving society and stop investing in companies that are hurting our society we can promote a better world. How do I do this without spending a lot of time researching my own companies? I don’t know.

This is a complicated topic and I know very little about the ins and outs of the stock market. In no way is this the opinion of a financial expert. This is just me talking out loud about some concerns regarding my personal investing. Maybe someone can provide some further insight on this subject. Time to meditate.

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9 thoughts on “Financial Investments

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks Ryan this is a very timely piece for me. Im currently battling with a similar issue as I have been lucky enough to receive an inheritance and want to invest it ethically and avoid putting in the big corporate banks or mainstream corporations on the stock exchange, I think you are very wise to questions the ethics of companies you invest in as unfortunately a lot of companies do mot operate ethically and are fuelled by greed and corruption, This is the reality as it is. Im Australian and there is a company called Australian ethical Investment that only invests in ethical companies that are positive for the environment and society. Its interesting that ethical investments have performed better than mainstream in the last few years in Australia. Im sure they have similar ethical investment companies in your country, My actual plan is to invest the money and live of the interest and spend the next year or so travelling through Europe doing Vipassana retreats/ volunteer work. I hope your not too jealous…oh that’s right Vipassana meditators don’t get jealous!! I really enjoy your posts Ryan. Vipassana can be a challenging path and its nice to hear about others experiences with the practice. Take care

      1. Ryan Shelton

        Thanks! I believe you need to be logged into a wordpress account. It’s pretty easy. You interested in sharing your global adventure on this blog?

  2. my friend and colleague belongs to this community. he didn’t invest in our company stock. in his community investing in stock is unethical. he does not practise vipassana. my other vipassana friend in Australia lives on stock market. Would like to have his view on it.

  3. I’ve contemplated making financial invests, too. Then my mind gets swept right back to breath. And perhaps this is the most reasonable investment, earnest energy for continuous awareness of breath and/or sensations as impermanent, unsatifying, and not self. Maintaining this awareness while clicking the mouse or contemplating future finances is the most undeluded action I can foresee for myself.

    Here is something a friend passed along to me about all forms of security:

    “The desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are intimately connected. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

  4. masculineffort

    I think the important thing is intention. As long you invest in a company because you truly believe that they are producing services and products to benefit humanity, that is good enough. Now how exactly to pick out such companies, I do not know. Please share. Maybe a webpage for a Dhamma investor?

  5. jeremy koelmel

    I have had the same nagging,
    Please see the options below, and email me at treehugginghippiedancers@yahoo.com if you find new ones! It took a while, “socially responsible” labeled mutual funds are often not socially responsible.

    Ive had the Chase Bank investment plan for sometime funding terrorism (oil companies), predatory to big to fail banks, and environmental destruction, (you know the normal investment plan) and thought it was about time to change that.

    Here are my Ideas:
    Tech: Google, Paypal, Ebay

    ***Environment: NAFLX (my favorite mutual fund, sincerely focuses globally on alternative energy, and has done very well)
    http://www.newalternativesfund.com/

    Utilities, hey we all need them right? eg. FLRUX

    Parnassus endeavor fund (PARWX) only invests in companies with really good work place conditions (also looks into global impact)

    I would do bitcoin, but that also has been one of that major currencies supporting ISIS

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