The RRSP deadline for 2012 came and went this past March 1st, and Catholics need retirement plans just like everyone else. But how does one choose an investment plan that reinforces our Catholic values, morals and ethics? It’s easy enough to buy a stock or a mutual fund, but should we also make sure our choices are in line with our faith?
This particular form of investing can be described as moral, ethical, sustainable and/or socially conscious. Socially responsible investments are determined by the nature of the business the company conducts and the products that they deliver. Simply put, these are companies that conduct themselves in an ethical manner and create products that fit into an ethical Catholic worldview. For example, an investment in a company that does not support sweatshops and has higher labour standards makes perfect sense. Of course, a company that produces weapons of mass destruction can be an ethical company in themselves, while the products they create are not, so a little research is required.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops certainly thinks that we should align our investment choices with our faith. In 2003 they wrote a paper on socially responsible investing and highlighted six things that Catholics should keep in mind when choosing a fund or a stock:
- protecting human life
- promoting human dignity
- reducing arms production
- pursuing economic justice
- protecting the environment
- encouraging corporate responsibility
And how do you decide which stocks to pick? Well, I’m not going to link to any specific ones here, but there are faith-based mutual funds on the market now that can take the guesswork out of ethical investing. Funds that label themselves as sustainable, or socially conscious can also be an excellent choice for someone looking to match their investment returns to their faith.
—Maxine Levine, Sales and Marketing Assistant