Perusing the internet over the past couple years I have encountered a handful of financial independence (FI) bloggers and podcasters who are considering the environmental impact of their lifestyles. I find it heartening to find these posts and podcasts. Through this blog I would like to provide those interested with a forum to take this conversation to the next level beyond what has currently been covered in the FI community. This involves pondering how to reach FI through more environmentally and socially conscious investments, income generation, and actions versus the more traditional methods of index fund and rental property* investing.
I want to be very clear before continuing this post that I am NOT judging anyone who is not incorporating this 3P lifestyle way of thinking into their pursuit of FI. I recognize that most people enroute to FI are already reducing their environmental impact simply by consuming less. Others have mentioned their plans to donate a portion of the wealth they accumulate through index funds and other more conventional investments to charities and non-profits that negate some of the environmental and societal challenges we face. That’s all wonderful! And for many that will be enough.
For those though, that would like to dive deeper I thought it could be helpful to start by sharing my assessment of the internet landscape and then getting your feedback about what I missed. While it is my impression that all of the people listed below (with the possible exception of Vicki Robin) hold a significant portion of their wealth in index funds and/or rental properties, they have expressed concern about the environment or social issues through their online platforms.
1) The blog post I have found that most overtly expresses this triple bottom line investing conundrum in the FI community was penned by Kristine at Frugasaurus.com. The young couple behind this blog live in Norway and aspire to a frugal, sustainable lifestyle. In a November 2017 blog post, she pondered whether an environmentally conscious person on the FI path could feel comfortable achieving FI through index fund investing. I think that the message of their blog is very closely aligned with mine. Given we reside in different countries though, some of the investment vehicles and other options available to us differ.
2) Vicki Robin, co-author of the seminal FI book Your Money or Your Life, has been making the rounds on a number of personal finance podcasts. During some of these conversations, she has mentioned her interest in the environment, social justice, and community building. I have been delighted to hear her say that she has gotten involved in local lending and more Slow Money type activites.I hope she’ll be sharing more of the details about how she does this.
3) I owe Tanja at Our Next Life a big debt of gratitude for writing a blog post titled Triple Bottom Line // Balancing Frugality With Our Values, which gave me the language and framework for this webiste that I had been struggling to find.
4) Mr. Money Mustache underscores his concerns about climate change in numerous blog posts outlining his actions to reduce his environmental impact such as riding a bicycle, purchasing an electric vehicle, and installing solar panels. He uses his tremendous popularity and reach to encourage others to follow suit.
5) Liz from Frugalwoods chronicles her family’s move to a homestead in Vermont underscoring how the family’s frugal ways support their environmental ethos.
6) In the earlier days of the Radical Personal Finance podcast, host Joshua Sheats covered such topics as dumpster diving, permaculture, and self-directed IRAs.
7) The Kiwi and Keweenaw blog was launched about a year ago. It chronicles the lives of two environmental engineers travelling the sustainable, simple living road to FI.
8) Angela at Tread Lightly, Retire Early is sharing her efforts to become FI and have a lighter impact on our planet.
9) The man behind Freedom 33 uses the tagline invest money / spend time/ save world. He wrote a blog post entitled Build a Sustainable Life. Additionally, the site makes it look like he intends to pen a series on things we waste.
10) The ladies behind Fire Drill Podcast are profiling people earning, investing, and generally living life in less traditional ways, including homesteading on a recent episode.
So what did I miss?
What else is there online that holds an environmentally and socially conscious lens to the pursuit of FI? Please share what you know in the comments section below……
*I’m not saying that investing in rental properties can’t be a triple bottom line investment. They can be, but that’s not a filter most FI investors are applying when purchasing these properties.