"I Want to Know my Money is Doing Good"

Investor Views: On Good Money Week, retired investor Elisabeth Curlet explains why she wants her investments to have a positive impact on the environment

Emma Simon 28 October, 2020 | 10:25AM
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Investor views

Elisabeth Curlet was late to investing, opening her first stocks and shares Isa in her 60s. As well as hoping to grow her money, she wants her investments to have a positive impact on the planet.

Elisabeth, 67, is passionate about the environment and organises a community litter pick in her local area of Ealing, West London, every Saturday. She wants to carry this passion through to her investment portfolio, choosing funds and stocks she believes are sustainable

She says: "I am particularly concerned about air pollution and the impact of climate change. I'd like to see the world join together to meet these global challenges and I see impact investing as a small part of that effort." 

Elisabeth, who retired in 2013, came to investing after her husband Colin died after a brief illness. She says: “Most of my working life I have just about managed financially. But some while after being widowed I found myself in a more fortunate position financially, and looked into ways I could invest my money to where it could also do some good.”

I Want My Money to Have a Positive Impact

In choosing her investments, Elisabeth wants to know her money isn't being used funds "the wrong things", such as armaments or fossil fuels. While it's not always easy finding investments that match her principles, she has put her money with sustainable bank Triodos, through which she holds a current account, cash Isa and ethical stocks and shares Isa. She also receives a pension from her previous workplace and moves some of this money into her Isa when she has any surplus funds. 

“I care hugely about the planet but trying to find the best way to make a positive impact can be incredibly complicated, particularly when you don’t know all the ins and outs of the world of finance," says Elisabeth. "With this in mind, I find it reassuring that Triodos have experts to look at where the most impactful areas to invest in are.”

Triodos run a number of sustainable investment funds including its Global Equities Impact Fund, which has a three star rating from Morningstar. This fund primarily invests in large cap equities from across the globe, although a proportion may also be held in small and mid-cap companies. Stocks held in this fund have to have to comply with the sustainable investment strategy set out by Triodos, as well as offering good investment prospects.

Happily, this over-arching sustainability filter does not appear to have dampened returns. According to Morningstar data the fund has delivered annualised returns of 9.95% over the past five years, outperforming both its benchmark and category peers.

Elisabeth, who has three adult chidlren and four grand children, has been putting more money into this stocks and shares Isa recently because sustainable funds seem to have delivered much better returns since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. “I think this is a sign of positive change for the future,” she says.

Sustainable Stocks 

In the past Elisabeth also held some direct shareholdings, which she inherited from her parents. “My father was an investor and I remember many years ago him going visiting Companies House to research businesses that he believed had potential," she says. 

While she held on to these inherited investments for a while, she sold the stocks to help her children through university. Now she prefers to invest through funds, where an expert manager can manage the time-consuming task of keeping track of indiviudal stocks. 

She adds: “I feel lucky not to have so much money that it becomes a burden in itself, but lucky enough to be able to treat my children and grandchildren occasionally. It is a good position to be in.”

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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About Author

Emma Simon

Emma Simon  is a financial journalist, specialising in investment and consumer issues, writing for Morningstar.co.uk