Switch your bank, green up your retirement account, and save the world.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Sustainable finance is really important in the context of the heat waves and flooding in various parts of the world. We can't talk about finance without talking about justice. Climate change is a monster we’ve created, and we are literally investing in it.
Here’s what we’ll cover step-by-step:
It’s time to stop funding the monster and start investing in the world we actually want.
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
Note: This ultimate guide to sustainable investing is written by Carbon Collective, who was our Changeletter sponsor in 2021. To be clear, this content is NOT part of our sponsorship agreement — we literally could not find a better guide that answered our questions for free.
The part of CC’s guide we want to highlight is Chapter 2: Why Your Retirement Fund Matters for Solving Climate Change.
First, let’s talk about why this is such an important climate issue. If you want to zoom out and learn about the impacts of your money on the world, you can read either one of these Bill McKibben articles:
Basically, there’s a study that showed that because of the way the top banks invest their money— “If you kept $125,000 in the banking system (your retirement account, or your college savings fund), then that money emitted more carbon than all the other actions of a normal American life combined.”
So, if you care about saving the planet, sustainable investing is a great place to start.
If you’re thinking, “Well, I care about saving the planet but I don’t want to lose money by investing sustainably”, we have some great news for you, and I’m taking it directly from CC’s ultimate guide.
The amazing truth: sustainable investing may equal smart investing and here’s why:
Many of us have the misconception that climate action = making sacrifices. The more progress we make on our climate journeys, the more we realize we’re actually gaining a LOT when we protect our planet, and this is the perfect example.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
Banks are only as powerful as the people who bank with them.
We two options for which videos you can watch. recommend watching both of them — the first features people on the frontlines who face the direct impact of banks funding things like oil pipelines, fracking, etc. The second video is a 9-min comprehensive overview of why banking is such a critical issue to tackle and which banks you can put your money in to fund the things you actually want to see in society.
This second video, around the 9 minute mark, features a transparent banking tool that’s co-founded by one of our very own Soapbox Founding Members, so this truly feels like a magical video to share with you all today.
You'll learn that:
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing right away. Taking action on your finances is a BIG DEAL and all you have to do is take the first step.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
Without further ado, let's put our money where our mouths are!
1. Switch your bank!
You can see the damage your bank is doing with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN)’s report, or, if you’re banking with Chase, you definitely know it’s time to switch. In which case, you can use Mighty Deposits to choose a new bank or credit union. (For anyone in the USA, you can filter on a wide range of values you could care about. For Anyone located globally, Bank.Green is a fantastic resource). Both the Mighty Deposits and Bank Green founders are Founding Members of the Soapbox membership community 💌
2. Green up your retirement account.
Carbon Collective excellent partner for all things green retirement. They have some amazing bonuses you can redeem just this month. The #1 reason we recommend them is honestly because the big fat “talk to a human” button at the top of their website has saved us so much grief. (And we made a new friend.) So if you want to feel better about your life choices, talk to a human at Carbon Collective! They can help you switch to a green 401(k) whether that’s individually or through your workplace. 🙌🏾
3. Treat yo’ self.
We're very serious about you including this as a veritable climate action. This stuff is HARD—it can be isolating and there’s a lot to learn. We need you here for the long run! So, as soon as you take the first step (which can be as small as simply opening an account with a new bank or scheduling your talk to a human call), reward yourself ⭐
It’s really heavy to feel like we have to navigate this alone (we don’t!!). You are absolutely building the world we all deserve to live in. We hope you know that!
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
Earlier, we talked about 3 simple actions: switching your bank, greening up your retirement account, and treating yourself.
Let's unpack the third one a little: it can be hard to treat yourself (or move your money around) if all things money-related make you cringe. We get it. It took our founder, Nivi, almost a whole year from the time she opened her Carbon Collective account to actually move money into it. Along the way, she discovered this concept of your money story.
Kriselle Gabriel, a Soapbox Member and founder of Empowered in Color, made a worksheet during one of our sustainable finance events that helped us reflect on why money is such a blocker for many people. We're so excited to share it with you.
You can duplicate this worksheet which has a calendar for "money dates" and 9 prompts for you to reflect on.
Here's one: ✨ describe a good money decision you are proud of!
Check out the other prompts and spend some time on it. How we think about money is super related to how we decide to invest it (duh) - so if something's stopping you from moving your money around, we have a feeling this worksheet will help.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!
Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!