It is only by following your deepest instinct that you can lead a rich life, and if you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin. — Katharine Butler Hathaway, 20th-century U.S. writer
Broadly defined, to invest is to contribute time, energy, or money to something in hopes of future benefit; to invest is to be in relationship with the entity to which you give your resources. Although time, energy, and love are among other ways to invest, this workshop looks at implications of entrusting our financial resources to others in exchange for the promise of future financial benefit. Through investing we can create opportunities for others to produce things of value and yield an economic return, in a manner that aligns, we hope, with both our moral values and worldly objectives. At its best, financial investment connects people in a way that creates and enhances possibilities for all concerned. The workshop explores investing our resources toward such an end, in a meaningful and mindful way. The workshop introduces Socially Responsible Investing, defined on the Unitarian Universalist Association website as “making money and making a difference.”
Whether or not one has personal financial resources to invest, one’s congregation, municipality, insurer, or other institution probably invests money in hopes of future benefits. As faithful people, it is important for us to know something about the values that undergird those investments.
This workshop introduces the basics of investment and invites participants to bring moral and spiritual values to bear on the information presented. Be prepared to offer resources for people who wish to find out more about investment and/or about Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). For investment basics, a good place to start is the “Tutorials” page of investopedia.com, which offers a variety of tutorials or the “Investments” page of SaveAndInvest.org. The UUA website has excellent resources on SRI. Explore these sites before leading the workshop so you will be comfortable recommending them.
This workshop will:
- Engage participants in returning to their personal financial histories and exploring investment experiences more deeply
- Introduce key concepts and practices in the field of Socially Responsible Investing and relate those to personal faith commitments
- Provide individual and group practice in financial decision making and interactive reflection
- Encourage awareness about values assumptions embedded in financial investment and connect those assumptions to religious tradition.
- Explore personal assumptions, values, and experiences related to financial investment
- Discover how one’s past experience and one’s comfort with uncertainty about the future each influence investment decision making
- Engage with Socially Responsible Investment principles and practices
- Develop relational and decision-making skills through simulated investment problem solving
- Recognize the mixed messages about investing that come from religious and/or cultural tradition and personal and/or familial experiences.