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How to invest to save the world

You can do good, feel good when you buy something from a sustainable brand, or support women-owned and BIPOC-led businesses, right? 

With investing, you can do good, feel good – and make money! Awesome, right?!

If you were shying away from investing before because you either, (a) didn’t get it, or (b) didn’t see the point, then this post might just be the spark you needed to begin. We’ll cover how to invest for beginners, and how to use impact investing to grow your money, support causes you care about, and save the world, one dollar at a time. 

Do good. Feel good. Make that dough. Let’s get started! 

👀 4min read

how to invest for beginners

📸: Pinterest

What is impact investing?

Impact investing is a huge umbrella term that covers all of the different steps, investing strategies, and organizations that support a “bigger cause”. 

The Global Impact Investing Guide defines impact investing as:

"investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return." (Source)

In real words? 

Impact investing is when you invest in something that does good and grows your money.

This gives you the chance to make your invested money work for good. For example: if you're really passionate about climate change, you can invest in clean energy companies instead of fossil fuel (or fossil fuel-using) firms. 

It’s the ultimate do good, feel good win-win! 

Quick caveat: If you prefer to watch a video to learn how to invest for beginners, sign up for Penny today! We created an entire money module that walks you through how to invest, step by step. Learn more here. If reading’s your jam, carry on ;)

Why is it a great way to learn how to invest for beginners?

Impact-focused portfolios are great options to get market-competitive returns (aka, make more money) – for both beginner and advanced investors. 

Here are 3 added perks: 

But the real answer is simple.

You’re more likely to want to learn how to invest if you’re already motivated and excited to support a cause you care about! 

Investing can feel overwhelming at first, so staying motivated is key. 

(And if you crave the extra support & accountability, remember you can always join the Penny community! We got you!)

How to start investing – with #impact

Yes, hashtag pun intended. ;) 

Before you start investing for the first time, ask yourself these 3 questions:

#1 – What (or who) do you want to support? 

Impact investing is a big bucket. Some of the sectors with significant impact investing opportunities include: 

  • Education
  • Energy (especially clean, sustainable, renewable energy)
  • Environmental, social, and governance (ESG)
  • Healthcare
  • Sustainable Agriculture

Choose the area(s) you’re excited about! You can get as specific or generic as you want it to be.

#2 – What are your investing options?

Bonds, mutual funds, ETFs (exchange-traded funds), commodities, securities… 

The typical “stock picking” approach you see in movies like Wolf of Wall Street is only one way to invest your money. So it’s important to get familiar with the lingo and what your options are. Again, we get more into this within our Investing Module of the Penny Membership.

Let’s take the climate change example. 

If you’re passionate about sustainability, you can “support” clean energy companies by:

  • Investing directly in the company, by buying a stock in your brokerage account (like Robinhood or TD Ameritrade), or
  • Investing in longer-term ETFs and Mutual Funds focused on clean energy through your retirement or investment account bank (such as Fidelity).

Whichever “stock” you choose to buy, it’s important to always diversify your options – aka, never put all your eggs in one basket. 

Learn more about how to diversify stocks in Penny’s Investing 101 course (included with membership).

#3 – How much money do you want to invest?

This number will likely be different based on where you’re at in life, the size of your wallet, and how comfortable you feel investing in general. 

Great news:

You can start for as little as $25 (sometimes less!). 

Begin investing with a dollar amount you’re comfortable with. As your assets grow, so will your confidence, and your investing knowledge. 

Want to invest more, but not sure where to start? 

Take our free money quiz. It might just be the key you needed to unlock your investing genius. 

More great news: 

Time often beats experience and dollar amount. 

You don’t have to become an expert at investing to do well in this game. You don’t have to be “rich”. You just have to start. (And let time and compound interest do its thing.)

If you start investing today, with as little as $25, in a “boring fund” with a steady interest rate, and let it grow for 10 years – you’ll still make more money than someone who started later than you, or chose riskier investments. 

Sure, you might find exceptions to this rule. But the research is strong, and the answer is clear: 

The earlier you start investing, the better it’ll be for your wallet.

So, pick a number that feels good to you. And start investing asap! 

The takeaway

Many people think investing in something that's expressly “good'' – such as impact-focused companies – means you'll make less money, in exchange for that moral bonus. That's not true! 

Impact investing is a great way to learn how to invest for beginners, stay motivated while learning something new, and grow your wealth with the same (or better) competitive market rates. 

Next time you find yourself wondering if or when you should start investing, remember: Start today. Start small. Save the world while you’re at it. We’ll be here, cheering you on.

Great resources to keep learning about impact investing:

More resources on investing for beginners:

More on investing for retirement:

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