Take Pride in Your Money

November 19, 2020

Life is full of choices, and the choices you make today can impact you now and in the future. This year has reminded us of that in so many ways. There may be different reasons you do business with different companies. It may be the simplicity of a click and deliver from an online retailer. It may be the personal service of a local small shop owner that knows your family’s names and stories.

When you feel let down, do you leave quietly, or do you let the manager know what happened and the impact it made on you? Do you rave about great customer service and let all your friends know what great experience you had? When you buy products, do you look for the cheapest option, or do you look for something that feels right to you?

An Inclusive Approach to Financial Advice

For me, it is important to invest my time and money with people and businesses that align with my values and make me feel valued. And, as a Financial Coach and Certified Responsible Investment Specialist at Libro, I feel fortunate to be able to help our customer-Owners do the same.

Having a financial plan is important for everybody and working with a Financial Advisor is very personal. When I meet with an Owner or prospective Owner, I ask questions to discover a holistic view of your lifestyle, your needs and your goals. This can be challenging for some members of the LGBTQ2+ community. I know from my own experience that when you go into some places of business you wonder if you will be treated as an equal and will feel valued, and not just tolerated.

Many financial planning goals for gay and queer people are the same as our straight counterparts. The common things that come to mind are saving for a new car, planning for retirement, saving to buy a house, dreaming about a pool or a home reno project, or saving for their kids’ education. Still, some aspects of financial planning are not equal.

According to this 2019 Global News study, same-sex couples may earn a lower household income if we compare two women, who are both likely to earn 84 cents to every 1 dollar earned by two men.

The difference between an individual who moves into a long-term care facility sooner because they don’t have children to care for them, and a common-law widow who is the successor of their partners’ estate is not based on how they identify as gay or straight. When it comes to financial planning, there isn’t a one size fits all option. Everyone is unique and our dreams for financial prosperity are as unique as we are. As people, planning for the future is universal.

What sets financial planning apart for people who identify in the LGBTQ2+ community is the feeling of inclusivity when you meet with your Financial Advisor. One way I do this may be to casually mention my spouse’s name or say “her/she” and within seconds I can feel the tension in the room melting away. Finding someone you can trust and feel comfortable with knowing you won’t receive judgement means you can relax, let your guard down and be yourself – your whole self. It will give you the freedom, safety, and comfort to answer planning questions honestly and create a financial plan that really works for you.

Investing In Your Values – Socially Responsible Investing

If investments might be part of your financial plan, you can choose options that align with your values, too. As a Certified Responsible Investing Specialist, I love talking to Owners about these unique investment options.

According to the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) of Canada, responsible investing “refers to the incorporation of environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) into the selection and management of investments.” RIs help drive positive change in the world while making good financial returns. To learn more about socially responsible investing, read this blog by Libro’s VP Wealth, Paul McQueen.

Similarly to my approach to financial planning, choosing responsible investments is personal. When I think about aligning my values to businesses and products where I also feel valued, responsible investing really speaks to that.

Looking Towards a Prosperous Future For All

I want to retire in a world where I can breathe the air, live on a clean lake where I can fish and eat the fish I catch. I want to hike around forests, have a diverse ecology and aren’t on fire. I want the companies I do business with to stand up for human rights movements, like Black Lives Matter. I don’t want to do business with a local cake shop that won’t sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. I want businesses to stand up for gun laws. I want to invest in companies that represent my network of family and friends.

I believe in having diverse boards to represent opinions of all people; men, women, LGBTQ2+, and minorities of all kinds. I would love to see indigenous people be on boards especially when it has to do with the environment. I love the passion that people have now to stand up for what is right, and I want my investment and spending dollars to support this thought leadership. I take pride in my choices and in my work.

We all have choices to make. So why not choose to do business, buy products, and make investments where your values align? Why not think about what your retirement goals look like and how your plan towards that goal can offer value and meaning. We can also apply that same sense of wanting to feel valued to how we value and respect others by how we make others feel included and welcome.

At Libro Credit Union, we operate with a purpose beyond profit. We put our customer-Owners at the centre of everything we do to help you achieve the goals that matter most to you – no judgement.

We are a values-based organization, a Certified B Corporation® and Living Wage Employer, and we use all our resources to grow prosperity by investing 100% of profits into the people, businesses and communities we serve.

If becoming part of that larger purpose fits your values, give me a call and learn how partnering with a company like Libro and working with a Financial Coach who cares, can make you feel valued in return.

By Jennifer Laughlin

Financial Advisor, London East