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COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

How to get socially responsible with 529 plans
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/how-to-get-socially-responsible-with-529-plans

Updated: 2015-04-22

by Kathryn Flynn

Happy Earth Day!

We’ve certainly come a long way since the first Earth Day celebration that was held on April 22, 1970. The inaugural grassroots demonstration was the brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and drew over 20 million participants across different U.S. cities. These events were so successful that Earth Day has become an annual event where the need for a healthier, more sustainable environment is demonstrated across almost 200 countries. We can also thank Earth Day participants for national legislation such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

While recycling has become second nature for most households, our planet continues to face new environmental issues that must be addressed. This year’s Earth Day focuses on the need to create sustainable communities, or, “Green Cities”. With over half of the world’s population living in urban areas, there is a strong need for investment in efficiency and renewable energy and an effort to solve the climate crisis.

One way you can take part in this initiative by investing in socially responsible companies through mutual funds and ETFs. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) uses certain screens to look for companies that focus on environmental sustainability and clean energy technology, and/or to avoid companies that make a profit from things like alcohol and tobacco.

For those of you who are currently saving for college, there are also a number of 529 savings plans that offer exposure to socially responsible portfolios. The way we see it, with an SRI 529 plan you’re not just investing in your child’s education – you’re also helping to preserve the environment for future generations.

Making Your 529 Plan Socially Responsible

Here are four investment managers that currently offer socially responsible investments available through 529 plans:

Calvert Investments
Calvert Investments offers one of the largest families of sustainable and responsible mutual funds in the U.S. Their SRI options include funds that evaluate governance and ethics, workplace, environment, product safety and impact, international operations and human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, and community relations.

Available through:

Parnassus Investments
The Parnassus Socially Targeted Investment portfolio uses a strategy that looks for companies with sustainable competitive advantages that respect the environment and practice ethical business. They also avoid companies that participate in things like gambling and weapons, alcohol or tobacco products.

Available through:

TIAA-CREF Financial Services
The Social Choice Investment Portfolio offered by TIAA-CREF features stocks of companies that focus on product safety, corporate citizenship, human rights and environmental protection.

Available through:

The Vanguard Group
Best known for their index funds, Vanguard offers a Social Index Portfolio that follows an index based on stocks that are screened for social and environmental criteria.

Available through:



What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day this year? Do you feel that there are enough SRI options available through 529 plans?

Happy Earth Day!

We’ve certainly come a long way since the first Earth Day celebration that was held on April 22, 1970. The inaugural grassroots demonstration was the brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and drew over 20 million participants across different U.S. cities. These events were so successful that Earth Day has become an annual event where the need for a healthier, more sustainable environment is demonstrated across almost 200 countries. We can also thank Earth Day participants for national legislation such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

While recycling has become second nature for most households, our planet continues to face new environmental issues that must be addressed. This year’s Earth Day focuses on the need to create sustainable communities, or, “Green Cities”. With over half of the world’s population living in urban areas, there is a strong need for investment in efficiency and renewable energy and an effort to solve the climate crisis.

One way you can take part in this initiative by investing in socially responsible companies through mutual funds and ETFs. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) uses certain screens to look for companies that focus on environmental sustainability and clean energy technology, and/or to avoid companies that make a profit from things like alcohol and tobacco.

For those of you who are currently saving for college, there are also a number of 529 savings plans that offer exposure to socially responsible portfolios. The way we see it, with an SRI 529 plan you’re not just investing in your child’s education – you’re also helping to preserve the environment for future generations.

Making Your 529 Plan Socially Responsible

Here are four investment managers that currently offer socially responsible investments available through 529 plans:

Calvert Investments
Calvert Investments offers one of the largest families of sustainable and responsible mutual funds in the U.S. Their SRI options include funds that evaluate governance and ethics, workplace, environment, product safety and impact, international operations and human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, and community relations.

Available through:

Parnassus Investments
The Parnassus Socially Targeted Investment portfolio uses a strategy that looks for companies with sustainable competitive advantages that respect the environment and practice ethical business. They also avoid companies that participate in things like gambling and weapons, alcohol or tobacco products.

Available through:

TIAA-CREF Financial Services
The Social Choice Investment Portfolio offered by TIAA-CREF features stocks of companies that focus on product safety, corporate citizenship, human rights and environmental protection.

Available through:

The Vanguard Group
Best known for their index funds, Vanguard offers a Social Index Portfolio that follows an index based on stocks that are screened for social and environmental criteria.

Available through:



What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day this year? Do you feel that there are enough SRI options available through 529 plans?

 

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