How Impact Investing Can Change Our Relationship With Money

Feb 26, 2019 8:35 AM ET

by Yuliya Tarasava, Co-Founder and COO, CNote 

While difficult at the moment, the many conversations with my friends about money inspired me to explore a different path. Conversation after conversation, I started to chip away at what felt wrong about money, and we would talk about their “wish list” when it comes to finance. What came up again and again was the desire to feel smart about money decisions – “whatever I do should be easy to understand, available to all, convenient to do, and make me feel good and empowered.”

I discovered that for many of my millennial friends, money decisions are not about high returns and becoming rich. Their goal is to have enough money to support their lifestyle and feel empowered about the decisions they make. They also had strong views that “how” they make money matters. Indeed, millennials are two times more likely to make investments that target specific social goals than your typical investor[1]. They already buy fair trade coffee at local cafes, shop for organic produce at farmers markets and avoid clothing that isn’t sourced from an ethical supply chain. So, why can’t they request that same transparency from their banks and other financial institutions?

Call it “impact investing,” “aligning your money with your values,” or “socially responsible investing,” — what they wanted to do was to make a difference with their dollars. The challenge is that impact investing is generally unavailable to the masses and often requires a big bankroll or “being in the know.” Even if you just want to buy an ESG ETF, you need to have a brokerage account, which is a non-starter for many. What if we made it easier? And, what if the ability to connect your money with meaning changed the way you felt about your finances?

Which leads me to why I started my company, CNote. Knowing that 76 percent of millennials see investment decisions as a way to express their social, political and environmental values, we wanted to make investing simple and impactful. With CNote, our members’ money works hard to revitalize communities around the country; women and minorities get loans to start and scale their businesses; affordable housing gets built in lower middle income (LMI) communities; and new charter schools open their doors — all because someone like Anna opens a CNote account and invests. 

Read Yuliya's full article here 

Cliff Feigenbaum, founder and publisher
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