When we talk about climate change, the conversation usually covers how environmental degradation affects everyone. And, while it is true that climate change does impact the entire globe, it is also important to recognize that the effects of climate change are not equally distributed across the world.
The United States history of systemic racism and reliance on fossil fuels makes environmental racism especially prominent.
Environmental racism is a concept that identifies how people of color are disproportionately impacted by pollution and environmental degradation.
In the United States, a country founded on the exploitation of Indigenous Americans and Black people, environmental racism is especially prevalent.
According to a recent report by the Dig Deep and the U.S. Water Alliance, “race is still the strongest determinant” to access to safe potable water. And, multiple studies have shown that air quality is better in predominately white neighborhoods than in predominately Latinx and Black neighborhoods.
This is not accidental. Neighborhoods of color have been systemically stripped of resources and divested from for decades.
Fighting for Environmental Justice
By learning the systemic injustices against neighborhoods of color, we can better understand the fight for environmental justice. Environmental justice is a social movement pushing for restorative actions in environmental legislation.
The environmental justice movement recognizes the role of racism and classism in the climate change crisis. To create a more equitable environment, we need to amplify the voices of climate activists in historically and presently polluted areas, redistribute environmental resources into highly polluted communities, and champion for environmentally conscious changes to our system.
Get ready to pull out your notebooks, cause we’ve planned to teach a concept of investing that has needed some explanation for a long while. I would’ve liked to insert a drumroll here, but you’ve already read the title, so you already know we’re tackling market sectors today.
What are Market Sectors?
When it comes to creating an investment plan – especially if yours includes stocks – it’s helpful to know what a sector is to make sure your interests are represented accurately. It’s not common knowledge that the economy is broken up into eleven different market sectors, and each sector has its own unique amount of industries that live inside of it. So basically, a sector is its own grouping of related industries, and knowing what sectors you’re interested in can help guide you into choosing the right investments for your goals.
What do the Market Sectors look like?
To give you a quick overview, we’ve listed out all eleven sectors and attached which of the sixty-nine industries belong to them. Once you’ve looked through them all and figured out which ones catch your eye you can then choose to invest in individual stocks within a sector or look for a sector mutual fund to invest in.
Communication services – 5 industries
Diversified Telecommunication Services, Entertainment, Interactive Media & Services, Media, and Wireless Telecommunication Services.
Consumer discretionary – 11 industries
Auto Components Industry, Automobile Industry, Distributor Industry, Diversified Consumer Services, Household durable goods, Textiles, Apparel, Hotels & Restaurants, Leisure equipment, Internet and Catalog Retail, and Multiline Retail.
Consumer staples – 6 industries
Beverages, Food and staples retailing, Food products, Household products, Personal products, and Tobacco.
Energy – 2 industries
Energy Equipment & Services Industry and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels Industry.
Financials – 7 industries
Banking Industry, Capital Markets Industry, Consumer Finance Industry, Diversified Financial Services Industry, Insurance Industry, Mortgage Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Industry, and Thrifts & Mortgage Finance Industry.
Healthcare – 6 industries
Biotechnology Industry, Health Care Equipment & Supplies Industry, Health Care Providers & Services Industry, HealthCare Technology Industry, Life Sciences Tools & Services Industry, and the Pharmaceuticals Industry.
Industrials – 14 industries
Aerospace & Defense Industry, Air Freight & Logistics Industry, Airlines Industry, Building Products Industry, Commercial Services & Supplies Industry, Construction & Engineering Industry, Electrical Equipment Industry, Industrial Conglomerates Industry, Machinery Industry, Marine Industry, Professional Services Industry, Road & Rail Industry, Trading Companies & Distributors Industry, and the Transportation Infrastructure Industry.
Information technology – 6 industries
Communications Equipment Industry, Electronic Equipment, Instruments & Components Industry, IT Services Industry, Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment Industry, Software Industry, Technology Hardware, and the Storage & Peripherals Industry.
Materials – 5 industries
Chemicals Industry, Construction Materials Industry, Containers & Packaging Industry, Metals & Mining Industry, and the Paper & Forest Products Industry.
Real estate – 2 industries
Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts, and the Real Estate Management & Development.
Utilities – 5 industries
Electric Utilities Industry, Gas Utilities Industry, Independent Power and Renewable Electricity Producers Industry, Multi-Utilities Industry, and the Water Utilities Industry.
Pitting the Market Sector’s Against Each Other
Now, because not everything in our world is fair, and we live in a free-market society, not all sectors perform the same, and not all of the sectors are the same size. We’ve relisted the sectors and included their overall value and stats on how well they’ve performed in the prior year.
Communication services +76.58%, $5.50 trillion
Consumer discretionary +324.02%, $5.85 trillion
Consumer staples +136.13%, $4.06 trillion
Energy + 1.56%, $3.25 trillion
Financials +154.81%, $7.53 trillion
Healthcare +224.66%, $6.26 trillion
Industrials +179.82%, $4.58 trillion
Information technology +357.78%, $9.58 trillion
Materials +87.38%, $1.99 trillion
Real estate +29.18% (3-year return), $1.42 trillion
Utilities +114.00%, $1.56 trillion
Overview & Our advice
We know that was a lot, but hopefully, it’s given you a little bit more insight into where you’d like to place your investments. And don’t fret! Who says you have to stick to one sector? Not us. Diversifying your portfolio by investing in multiple market sectors and across different industries helps you balance risk if one sector underperforms. We believe in creating investment portfolios that reflect your interests and your values no matter what sectors they might include.
What is Equal Pay Day?
Equal Pay Day is a symbolic date to draw awareness to gender-based wage discrimination. Equal Pay Day marks the day that the average woman in the United States working full time and year-round would need to work to in order to make the same as the average man. In other words, because Equal Pay Day lands on March 24th this year, it takes women nearly 15 months to make the same amount as men do in 12 months.
Here are the Equal Pay Days in 2021:
- March 9: Asian American and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Day
Asian American and Pacific Islander women are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
- March 24: All Women’s Equal Pay Day
Women working full time and year-round are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man who works full time and year-round.
- June 4: Mother’s Equal Pay Day
Mothers are paid 70 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
- August 3: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day
Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
- September 8 Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day
Native women are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
- October 21: Latinas’ Equal Pay Day
Latinas are paid 55 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
Devaluing Female Labor
Women are severely overrepresented in low-paying jobs. Women make up just under half of the workforce. But, account for over 70% of low-wage workers. The need for Equal Pay Day comes from a long history of devaluing female labor.
Take the example from a 2016 PBS column. In 2016, the average hourly wage for a teaching assistant, which generally requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree, was $11.43. Now, that number is closer to $12/hour. While a service station attendant, generally with no higher education, could make $11.62 an hour. Now, it’s just over $12/hr. Nearly 90% of all teaching assistants are women and over 90% of all service station attendants are men.
And, even within the same occupation, women’s work is devalued. The Washington Post found that international relations articles written by women received fewer citations than those written by men. Study after study shows that there is a bias against women in the workplace.
All the obstacles in the way of female professionals have created occupational segregation.
A major argument against the pay gap is that women tend to work in lower-paying jobs. And, while this is true, it is not an excuse to dismiss the call for equal pay. Rather, it is an outgrowth of devaluing female labor and occupation segregation.
Occupational segregation is the result of gender stereotypes, assumptions, and discrimination and is a critical component to understanding the pay gap. For centuries, women have been excluded from certain professions.
Women weren’t legally allowed to practice law until 1919. The first female doctors disguised themselves as men to be allowed into medical classes. And, today, through the persistence of social norms and bias, many occupations are segregated on the basis of gender.
The highest paying jobs in the United States (engineers, dentists, lawyers, CEOs) are all comprised of over 50% men, with some careers closer to a 90% male workforce. This reality cannot be separated from the reality of the pay gap.
Fighting for Equal Pay
Making changes to the current system starts with us. Here’s what we can do:
Do you know when your state primaries are? Or who’s on the ballot? Next voting season, take some time to look into your options, especially in local races.
- Learn how to negotiate your salary (and share tips with your friends)
- Promote pay transparency in the workplace
When you don’t know what your coworkers are making, it’s difficult to determine if you’re being paid unfairly and even more difficult to do something about it. Try to start some conversations about money with your friends and family.
- Fight for an increased minimum wage
The majority of low-wage workers are women. Fighting to increase the minimum wage benefits the economy and works to close the pay gap.
- Fight to end the tipped minimum wage
The tipped minimum wage is an outdated system that traced back to the end of slavery. It’s time we get rid of it and commit to workers’ rights.
- Invest in occupational diversity
And, don’t let your retirement account work against you! Align your investments with your values.
Together, we can build a better world for all of us.
One of the biggest questions we get about our investment portfolios centers around how one person’s investments are actually significant enough to impact monumental social causes. As individuals, we have a tendency to doubt our importance and settle into the fact that our choices might only trigger consequences in our own lives. Since we don’t value our ability to change the world we live in, we often don’t make choices that impact the change we want to see. Instead, we wait around for someone else to do it.
We see the same thinking applied to those who choose not to vote in general elections because they have lost faith in our political process and have settled into the false belief that their one vote doesn’t matter. That their opinion, in the scope of the entire nation, doesn’t matter. When you paint the picture of this altered thinking using only red and blue, it becomes a little more difficult to justify. The urgency you have right now to uplift these non-voters and shout their importance from the rooftops is the same urgency our team finds lurking within us when you tell us that your investment portfolio doesn’t really impact much.
Just because you believe you are small, doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of creating big waves.
The frequency in which we’ve been receiving these kinds of responses has, to be frank, disheartened our team. So, in hopes of turning some of our readers into full-fledged believers, we’ve decided to bring back one of our favorite articles from many moons ago.
Research on Small Wins
“Small Wins and Feeling Good” was an article published in 2011, by two wonderful writers at the Harvard Business Review. The article reflects on the research and writing done by Karl Weick, a psychologist from the University of Michigan, who analyzed small wins.
“A small win is a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance. By itself, one small win may seem unimportant. A series of wins at small but significant tasks, however, reveals a pattern that may attract allies, deter opponents, and lower resistance to subsequent proposals. Small wins are controllable opportunities that produce visible results.”
Karl Weick, Small Wins: Redefining the Scale of Social Problems
The article details the importance of celebrating small victories whether it’s in a professional setting or your personal life. A small win is just what it sounds like, it’s looking at a larger goal and acknowledging each small step you take that gets you closer to completing it.
One particular point that we love to revisit is embodied in this quote: “large social problems are best broken down into smaller ones with concrete achievable goals.” Take for example the concept of saving the planet from the effects of climate change. So many factors go into that mission, from water conservation to fossil fuels, it seems like too daunting of a task to take on as your personal mission. However, if you take the opportunity to contribute in small ways, like donating to conservation efforts, minimizing your own carbon footprint, or investing in the companies who share your values, saving the earth seems a bit more tangible.
Portfolios, Impacts, and Wins
At Invested Interests, we ensure that the funds we include in our portfolios meet the necessary ESG or SRI standards required. Essentially, we vet the companies you’ll be investing in so that you don’t have to. No matter what your personal mission is, we’re confident that we can create a portfolio that supports it. Currently, our main portfolios focus on the environment, peace efforts, or human rights and diversity. However, we have no problem combining or adding to one of those selections to really encapsulate what matters to you.
When you invest with our team, you can celebrate the fact that your hard-earned money is not only working for you, but it is also contributing to companies who have a passion to change the world in the same way you do. So, if you feel like you’re needing to increase how many small wins you’re celebrating our monthly investment updates might be the solution to your problem.
Whether you’re ready to start saving for retirement, or you’ve decided towards investing for another purpose, we’d love to get to know your story and help you reach your goals. To learn more about our portfolios, who we are, and how your investments create impact please reach out to us at (612) 260 2203. We’re excited to hear from you!
2021 just started and it has already been an important year for women. Kamala Harris was inaugurated as the first female Vice President of the United States. Whitney Wolfe, the founder and CEO of Bumble, became the youngest woman to take a company public. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and first African to hold the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization. And, more women are making history every day.
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. In the words of the IWD Committee, “A challenged world is an alert world.” That’s why we’re choosing to challenge gender bias and inequality in finance.
Stereotypes about women and money exist in all corners of pop culture. As Kathy Pierre from Relevant Magazine puts it, “[These stereotypes are] so pervasive that as a society, we’ve come to think those depictions are art imitating life, but that’s not the case.”
Women are bad with money? Nope. Women earn better investment returns than men.
Women interested in finance are cruel or heartless? Wrong again. Women are more likely to pursue socially responsible investing.
While the stereotypes are quickly disproved, the repercussions of these ideas don’t disappear so easily.
Stigmas and stereotypes have historically worked in collaboration with legislation blocking women from financial advancement. Women are less likely to invest than men and more likely to believe it’s not their responsibility to manage household finances.
We must continue to confront these stereotypes until all people feel that they have a voice in their financial well-being.
Challenging Bias Every Day
At Invested Interests, we believe in living your values every day. Whether you’re buying a gift for a friend or treating yourself to a coffee on the way to work, there is always an opportunity to support the causes you’re passionate about.
Ready to align your investments with your values? Reach out to our team!
You can still support progressive values by investing conservatively. Conservative investing is a low-risk investment strategy that prioritizes the preservation of capital.
Conservative Investing Strategies
Choosing a conservative investment strategy focuses on longevity. Conservative investors are not investing for quick gains with lots of risks. Instead, they are creating a diverse portfolio that can weather the up and downs of the market.
Conservative investments include
- Stock in strong, established companies
- Mutual or Index Funds
- Investing across multiple sectors of the economy
But, even conservative investments include some risk. Remember Circuit City? Once number two in electronics stores, it’s now bankrupt.
In other words, conservative investing is more than buying some stock in a well-established company. It’s creating a safe investment strategy that puts your financial wellbeing first.
Focusing on Your Financial Goals
Conservative investing pushes you towards your long-term financial goals. In a volatile market, it’s easy to lose sight of your future financial success and only see the short-term repercussions. When stocks explode, it can be difficult to shake the FOMO of not investing more. Or, when the market crashes, it’s tempting to pull all your investments.
Whenever you’re tempted to compare your investment journey to someone else’s, try to focus on your financial goals. Why are you investing?
Everyone’s investing journey looks different. If you’re a conservative investor, maybe you’re investing for your retirement or your kids’ education. If you’re an impact investor, maybe you’re investing to support your key values.
Centering your financial goals can help you stay focused and motivated as a conservative investor.
Investing in Progressive Values
At Invested Interests, we believe that investing in your values is as important to your financial health as managing your risk and understanding your financial goals. We have to invest in the world we want to see.
Investments that support sustainability, peace, and human rights have both a financial and social return. We can use our investments to vote with our wallet for the future we want to see.
Ready to start your investing journey? Reach out to our team today!