Investing and saving may seem completely unrelated to veganism and animal rights, but if you were to examine your 401k or mutual fund investments you might find out that you may be inadvertently profiting from these practices. The easiest way to illustrate this point is to look at the holdings in an index that tracks the S&P 500, the most heavily tracked index. If you own an S&P 500 index mutual fund you are investing in the following: Tyson Foods, Yum! Brands (parent company of KFC), McDonald’s, and ConAgra Foods (maker of Slim Jim’s, Beefaroni, Tennessee pride country sausage, and many other meat related brands), just to name a few. Investing in a total stock market fund opens you up to an even wider range of meat and animal product related companies.
When you buy stock in a company you are the owner of that company, and you may in fact be boycotting your vegan lifestyle. The stock market is a system that allows you to allocate capital to businesses for whatever reason you choose. By refusing to support companies that directly engage in animal cruelty and the meat industry, you can have a direct impact on the value of these companies, and you can sleep better at night knowing that you are making an extra effort. Additionally, you do not have to accept a lower return on your investment just because you want to remain invested in ethical companies. There are plenty of great companies that can provide a well-diversified portfolio, but you will have to make an extra effort of due diligence. You can purchase individual stocks through an online brokerage account after you have done your own due diligence, but most people do not have the time or desire to do that.
I started Financial Tailor, an online investment management company, to allow prospective clients to limit their exposure to certain areas of investment such as animal testing, tobacco, firearms, or any other criteria of their choosing. My goal was not to impose my personal views on others, but to help them align their financial goals with their ethical criteria, while maintaining a suitable level of risk. To see a vegan friendly portfolio you can visit www.financialtailor.com/signup, fill out the quick questionnaire and type Vegan into the “Other” category. The sample portfolio is completely free, and if you decide that you would like to invest we can setup and manage a portfolio for about half the cost of a traditional adviser. If you have general questions about investing or Financial Tailor you can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.