Lifestyle

How Your Wallet Can Do More Good This Year

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Here are three low-effort ways to have a social impact with your dollars.

Spencer Tierney
January 9, 2018

Here are three low-effort ways to have a social impact with your dollars.

The season of dieting and renewed gym memberships is upon us, but your New Year’s resolutions don’t have to benefit only you. Here are three low-effort ways you and your wallet can help spread social good in 2018.

» Want to see more? Here’s a list of our stories about how you can have a social impact with your money

1. Join a socially responsible bank

If you’ve ever wondered how banks make money, here’s part of the answer: They use your deposits in checking and savings accounts as leverage to make loans. And the funds from many national banks could go to businesses that risk harm to the environment, such as the oil and coal industries.

Options for socially responsible investing, or SRI, have shown similar returns as traditional benchmarks.

Here’s where your money comes in. You can make your deposits at a financial institution that upholds social and environmental values. A handful of U.S. banks are serious enough about supporting their communities and the planet that they undergo third-party certification or annual assessments. See our list of socially responsible banks.

2. Invest based on your values

Your investments don’t have to include companies that profit from selling weapons or fossil fuels. Options for socially responsible investing, or SRI, have shown similar returns as traditional benchmarks such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. You can select individual stocks of companies aligned with your values, or to make it easier, you can opt for mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, which bundle many investments together in a single transaction. Here’s more on the basics of socially responsible investing.

3. Maximize online donations

If you donate to a nonprofit online, part of your gift might get eaten up by credit card or third-party transaction fees. And some payment platforms take cuts that range from 1% to 8%. Although writing a check or giving cash are surefire ways to avoid transaction fees, you can still deliver 100% of your donation online in some cases. Check this list of programs.

As you think about making good on your New Year’s resolutions, remember that they can include supporting the world around you, too.