Green Investing

04/17/2012 05:06 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2012
  • Natalie Pace Author, 'The Gratitude Game,' 'The ABCs of Money' and 'You Vs. Wall Street'

Learn how to profit on the companies you love most.

Want a cleaner, greener world? One way is to live green. Another is to invest in clean energy companies and divest yourself of old school oil, gas and dirty energy in your 401k, IRA, annuity, pension, trust and any other "retirement" plan you own.

Here's how.

1. Know What You Own
2. Profit on Good Products
3. Great Gains While You Sleep
4. Co-Create a Cleaner, Greener World

Learn more about just how easy it is to Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is and profit from sustainable living and investing below.

1. Know What You Own
If you don't know the companies that are held in the "funds" in your retirement accounts, chances are very high that you own oil, gas and old, dirty energy companies. What a lot of conscious creatives don't know is that many "socially conscious" fund companies invest in oil, gas and old, dirty energy companies, too. Apple is now the most valuable company in the world and paying dividends (Exxon Mobil is #2). So, you can go greener/cleaner and still have the benefit of owning large companies that are more stable and provide some yield.

Most financial websites allow you to see the holdings of the funds you own. All you need to know is the name of the fund and the ticker symbol, which can be found on your brokerage statement.

2. Profit on Good Products
Over the past three years, investors of Whole Foods have earned 450 percent more than investors of legacy grocery companies. Google investors are far richer than owners of British Petroleum.

Yes, I'm as happy as anyone that I don't have to ride my horse from L.A. to New York. But, I'm going to be even happier when I can fly in a solar-powered plane. So, while we're dreaming of a better world and co-creating our future, I am more into profiting on organic food and the democratization of the Internet, over canned food and gasoline. A win-win.

3. Great Gains While You Sleep
There is a risk to investing in emerging markets of any kind. NASDAQ was the best investment in the late 1990s and the worst in the Dot Com Recession of 2000-2002. Clean energy scored almost 60 percent gains in 2007 and was the worst performing industry of 2011. That is why Modern Portfolio Theory is a great strategy for your nest egg. (I add in a few other tricks, like avoiding the Bailouts, adding in Hot Industries and 1-3 times a year rebalancing as well.) To reduce risk in your nest egg, avoid investing in individual companies, and choose funds instead. Keep your industry exposure to a reasonable percentage. Below are two pie charts illustrating what a reasonable clean energy exposure might be for a 25-year-old versus a 50-year-old investor.



4. Co-Create a Cleaner, Greener World

A lot of people, particularly the "conscious creative" community, are living green and buying green. Many are promoting bike-friendly, green city policies, choosing more fuel-efficient cars, eating organic, recycling and far more. However, the next evolution of green advocacy is to align your investing dollars with your spending dollars. Should you buy an electric car, but own stock in gas guzzlers? Or purchase organic food, but profit on pesticide companies? Older, more established companies make it easy for you to invest in their stock. It takes information, wisdom and commitment to align your 401k, pension, annuity, IRA, health savings account, etc. with your vision of a new world. But if you don't, you're just funding the Bailouts, the Banksters and cronyism economics. So, make 2012 your year to get money smart and put your advocacy efforts where they can force the most change. Make sure that all your investments are in a cleaner, greener world -- from the money you "spend" on products and services, to the money you "invest" in the companies that make them.

Join me for a special Natalie Pace show on green investing on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. PT (noon ET) to learn more and get your questions answered. Call-in number is (347) 215-7305.

Pie Charts (c) 2012. Used by permission.