Using wealth to take an active role in promoting social good more popular with self-directed investors
Impact investing, which targets social or environmental challenges while generating financial returns, is not quite on the ultra-wealthy’s radar. Just over one-third (34 percent) are aware of the concept, while just one-quarter said they are interested in pursuing it as a way to promote social good and to use their wealth in a productive matter.
Familiarity breeds charitable investment for this wealth group with a net worth of at least $25 million (not including primary residence). More than half (54 percent) donate to the same organizations year after year and are reluctant to branch out and donate to a new charity. Sixty percent follow their passions, investing in causes in which they are most interested. Only 14 percent said they would be interested in causes that help individuals in third world countries start businesses or work toward being self-sufficient.
But ultra-wealthy investors under the age of 55 have more of a familiarity with impact investing (39 percent) than overall ultra-wealthy households. The same percentage are interested in using their wealth to promote social good.
Impact investing is not to be confused with socially responsible investing, in which investors customize their portfolios to invest in companies that promote their beliefs and shun companies that do not (for example, companies that produce alcohol or tobacco products, who whose actions hurt the environment. Impact investing takes a more active approach, The Green Book author Thomas Kostigen told Millionaire Corner: “It’s going into a developing world in a very kind of Indiana Jones way to throw money and resources at social enterprises to create an impact. In doing so, it forges the destiny there and promulgates the economy or the local community to a better life.”
The hands-on nature of impact investing appeals most to ultra-wealthy investors who identify themselves as self-directed, meaning they make all of their own financial decisions without consulting with a financial advisor. Forty-five percent of these investors reported being familiar with impact investing, while 41 percent expressing interest in it as a way to use their wealth in a productive matter.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.