An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Putting your money where your mouth is ... (that's my clever lead in :-)

You're probably getting sick of hearing me say this, but there is a lot of cool stuff that goes on at the library. Admittedly, as the days get nicer it's getting harder to convince myself to go to a 7:00 movie or seminar, but I almost always come away feeling really good about what I had just heard.

So anyway, recently I went to a seminar at Central Library on socially responsible investing. A little background about me. I am, what I would call a very small time leisure investor. I invest a small (very small!) amount of money every month (outside of my 401(k)) just for fun. It's kind of geeky I know, but I think it's fun. In fact, in my monthly budget (also kind of geeky), I actually track the trading costs as leisure spending! I also think of myself as socially responsible - or at least I try to be - but the concept of mixing the two items seemed a little, well, like not a wise financial decision.

But enough about me - the discussion was really intriguing and the information was really good and there was lots of good questions. One of the presenters pointed out that it's a value choice and noted that we often pay higher for a certain product because we value it more than another, even if another may be cheaper. As obvious as that might seem, I had never really thought of it that way. And yes, he is right. I actually pay a little more for my electricity because supposedly I am encouraging more solar energy (although I often worry that I'm gettting duped on that one, and am just a big sucker. Anybody out there work for Washington Gas and Electric and can tell me?)

So, what I can really say about this discussion is that it made me think. I haven't really reached any conclusions, but it made me think, and for that I appreciate it. And if you are interested in learning more about socially responsible investing, check out this website.

And BTW in case you think I just rave about everything (part of the purpose of this blog after all was honesty, not marketing), I also recently went to a seminar on investing online. Eh, it didn't really do it for me. The presenter was OK, but I never really felt like I got the information I wanted. It wasn't terrible, just didn't work for me. But, hey, that will happen sometimes. All in all, most things are definitely worth trying.


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