We are working class people with the belief that buying shares in companies (stocks) is the best way to save for the future. However, we also believe that a lot of company’s’ practices are not something we would like to support. Therefore, we need to find a way to ensure our families futures without guilt … or, at least minimize it.
With this in mind, we define a guilt inducing companies as:
- Defense contractors & weapon manufacturer*. Reason: Their products kill people who probably would not have died (this soon) otherwise.
- Gaming, tobacco or alcohol companies. Reason: Although we don’t really understand these businesses in-full, we just don’t want to feel associated with companies that make at least some of their money (if not the majority) on addictions of people who destroy themselves with their products. It can be argued that these companies provide products to adults, who should have the choice if they want to use them. Fine. You buy their products, and their stocks. We don’t need the guilt.
- Companies in the oil industry. Reason: We feel the reliance on oil is a major cause of violence and strife, supports Anti-American terrorists, and is destroying the environment. We further believe that energy independence should be pursued with a gusto.
- Companies that have been exposed as “bad”. Reason: Were not smart enough to parse the truth ourselves, and frankly, we don’t care to. If a company has a black cloud over it, that’s enough for us.
- Fast/junk food. Reason: America is the land of the obese. Diseases related to obesity are skyrocketing.
- Companies that destroy and/or consume natural resources. Reason: The Earth is where we live. This is all we have. That said, this is a very hard category to police, full of gray and not a lot of black and white. But, we feel it is our duty to reward those we feel are doing “the right thing”.
- Television related companies. Reason: People watch too much television. If we removed this one object from every house, we believe the rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and depression would virtually disappear. That, and the quality of life for the average person would increase.
It gets more complicated: What about companies that are (almost) monopolies? Companies that bankrupt entire industries or geographic areas? What about companies that deal with guilt-inducing companies, e.g., do auto manufacturers support big oil? What about companies that we just simply dislike?
Also, knowing what not to invest in doesn’t help us find what we will invest in. After screening for “guiltagins” (guilt generating companies), we need to find out if this company will make us any money?
*The exceptions we have found is Taser and Kevlar, who produce product that are almost exclusively defensive or “less-than-lethal”. Our resident manly-man especially likes these companies, despite their lackluster market performance.