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The week after Good Money Week – it’s never too late to make your money work for good

October 28, 2014

Good Money WeekLast week was Good Money Week – an opportunity to ensure those you trust with your money are looking after it well and using it in ways that benefit society and protect the environment. Did you do anything about it last week? If not, it’s not too late to make some changes!

I read an article in the Church Times during Good Money Week. I was struck by a quote from Mr Newbegin, a founder member of the Ethical Investment Association. He admitted that he once believed it did not matter “how you invested your money, so long as you maximised the return – it was what you did with the proceeds that mattered”. His perspective changed as his Christian faith matured, however. “I realised that that was a cop-out, and that where we invest is actually very important”.

BankEven if you don’t feel rich, it is highly likely that you have a bank account, possibly even one with a little bit of cash in it (it’s not quite the end of the month yet!). Do you know what your bank is doing with your money? It’s not just sitting there, waiting for you to buy that next cup of coffee or pair of trousers. Your bank is investing it – but in what? You might be shocked and horrified at some of the things that high street banks are supporting with your money. You might be doing your bit at home to reduce your carbon footprint, but your bank might be using your money to support dirty coal power stations. Or you might ensure you support fair labour conditions by buying Fair Trade, but your bank may be investing your money in businesses that rely on child labour and sweat shops.

PensionsWhat about your pension? If you have children, does it make sense that your pension, as your provision for you and your children’s future, is being invested in high carbon industries, which are contributing to the ruination of our world for future generations? Even if your pension is provided by the company you work for, you might have some say in how your contributions are invested.

SharesDo you hold any shares directly? As a shareholder you are a part-owner of that company. That should come with some responsibility. Is it enough that you simply invest for regular dividends and an increase in your wealth? As you are benefiting from the actions of that company, should you being making sure they are not pursuing activities that you would not support, and therefore don’t want to profit from? You can read more about the importance of taking responsibility as a part-owner of the company you hold shares in here.

InsuranceAnd what about insurance? You might think of insurance as just being a necessary evil and look for the cheapest available policy. But do you stop to think where your insurance premiums are being held? Like banks, insurance companies assume that not everyone will make a claim at the same time, therefore your money is being invested by these companies. There is a high probability that your premiums are being invested in companies contributing to climate change or selling armaments. What about choosing an insurance company that makes your premiums work for good?

Money makes the world go roundWe all know the saying “‘Money makes the world go round”. This is our opportunity to make sure the world goes round the right way. There are some great resources on the Good Money Week web-site exploring how our money can be a force for good, considering sectors such as health, education and energy.

As Christians, the concept of stewardship should be familiar. We are called to be good stewards of our money, in whatever form it takes (cash, bank account, pension, shares, ISAs). Imagine what a difference we could make if we took this seriously – if we used our money, through both our spending and our saving, to further God’s Kingdom of justice, love and mercy. We pray regularly, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” – through making good money choices we can help to answer this prayer and bring God’s Kingdom nearer.

So what can you do? Good Money Week have designed a great cartoon illustrating the Life of a Fiver, showing the choices we can make. We are not powerless, we can ensure that our money is being used for our good, and the good of others and the world. You can find more resources and guidance to help you make positive choices with the money you have been blessed with here.

Why not take the opportunity now, and in the future, to take control of your money and do something good with it!

Will AidAs a postscript, if you’re thinking about looking after your money into the future, have you written a will? Thanks to Will Aid, every November, a good solicitor will write your will and ask only for a donation to charity. If writing your will is something you always mean to do but never get around to, take this opportunity to get it done, and support 1 of 9 great charities as a bonus!

This post has been adapted from one previously published on lydialivinglightly.org.

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