This post brought to you by American Century Investments. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Beating Broke.
What if you could invest your money knowing that your investments were making a difference? We all want to make a difference. We usually do so by volunteering our time or by making cash donations to a cause. We do it with intent. But, we have to actively do it as well. I’ve talked before about the benefits of passive income, or income that is generated with little to no work on your part. Can we do more through passive giving?
American Century Investments is an investment company. As of March 1, they manage nearly $140 Billion dollars in investment assets. But, that isn’t what makes them special. What makes them special is what they do with their profits.
ACI was founded by a man by the name of Jim Stowers in 1958. Jim was a cancer survivor, as is his wife. In 1994, they founded the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. To help fund that institute, they created an endowment of $2 Billion that was made up of some cash gifts, and a 40% equity (ownership) in American Century Investments. Why is that important?
Because of that ownership stake in ACI, more than 40 percent of American Century Investments profits have been distributed to the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a non-profit basic biomedical research organization. The Institute is the controlling owner of American Century Investments and has received dividend payments totaling over $1 billion since 2000.
$1.2 Billion in dividend payments. I’m going to let you think about that for a minute.
$1.2 Billion dollars is a lot of money. And because of the social thinking of the Stowers’, that money is going towards medical research. Research that could provide clues to cure disease.
Now, I don’t want this to come out sounding like a sales pitch. I want you to do your research before you invest your money with anyone. I do. If you’ve got a financial planner, talk to them before you do anything. But, what I do want to say is that, all things equal, if you can invest with a company that does a great deal of social good and still get equivalent returns with equivalent expense ratios, then wouldn’t you do that?
Ultimately, any financial decision you make shouldn’t be based on emotion. It should be based on numbers and facts. 9 out of 10 times, if you make a decision based on emotion, it’s going to be the wrong one. I know that. You should too.
But, I also know that my grandmother is a cancer survivor. My mother is a cancer survivor. I lost an aunt to cancer. Knowing that a portion of the profits of the company that I invest my money with is going towards research that could someday make cancer a curable or preventable disease is a pretty powerful motivator. An emotional one, to be sure, but powerful nonetheless.
All things considered, when it comes time to choose investments in the future, I’m going to make sure that American Century Investments is included in the options. That doesn’t mean I’ll pick them every time (or at all), but because of their structure, and the chance to do a little passive social good, they’ve earned a spot in the selection process.
What about you? What do you think of the idea of passive social good? How about the idea of an investment company with a higher purpose?