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A convoluted, contradictory mess?

Drink beer. Lots of it. It's good for the environment.

Vice Fund founder Dan Ahrens told us a while back that Anheuser-Busch (pre-InBev merger) was the world's largest recycler of used aluminum beverage containers. The company earned awards for corporate governance and donated millions of dollars to charity. Yet they were consistently denied the socially responsible label, something that bothered Ahrens. It's one reason he referred to socially responsible investing as a "convoluted, contradictory mess." For those who don't know, the Dallas-based mutual fund invests in aerospace/defense, gaming, tobacco and liquor--all those things with which so many in the socially responsible set have a problem.

"I think people should invest in good mutual funds to make money," Ahrens told me at the time. "They should then take the returns and donate a portion to the causes they believe in."

So is socially responsible investing a solid strategy in its own right? Or do clients have to sacrifice return in order to please Mother Gaia? It's a question we posed to Judy Seid, our 2009 Socially Responsible Advisor of the Year.

Not surprisingly, she's a vocal SRI proponent, and makes a strong case that returns and socially responsible sensibilities are not mutually exclusive. Refreshing to know, since too many boomer clients are chucking their standards in a desperate attempt to re-accumulate (before retirement) what's so recently been lost. Seid's coming up on 20 years in the SRI business, and shares winning strategies that have fueled her success.

On a related note, charitable giving products and strategies are the theme of this month's issue, and we're pleased to report the giving continues, despite the ongoing crisis. Come hell or high water, baby boomers will leave a positive, lasting legacy and they're looking to you for help. All they're asking for is a successful retirement, with enough money left over to seed the charities of their choice, all done during the worst financial crisis the world has ever seen. Shouldn't be a problem.

On second thought, maybe it's time for one of those beers.

John P. Sullivan

jsullivan@boomermarketadvisor.com
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Title Annotation:EDITOR'S LETTER
Author:Sullivan, John
Publication:Boomer Market Advisor
Date:Aug 1, 2009
Words:348
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