How new technology has made it easier than ever to invest with your heart.
The biggest problem with investing - well, apart from the most obvious one, which is finding the spare cash required in the first place - is that it feels almost impossible to only invest in the brands you really care about, or the causes you truly believe in.
Take your superannuation, for example. For most Australians, it is the single biggest investment account they’ll ever have. But do you really know where that sizeable chunk of money handed over every time you’re paid is actually going? Fossil fuels, mining companies, pesticides, and even weapons - all might make you shudder at even the thought of supporting them, and yet all appear on the balance sheets of superannuation companies in Australia.
But a new socially responsible investment movement is gathering steam, led largely by millennials, with the sector growing by more than 107 per cent since 2012.
And in very happy news, there’s not just an ethical benefit to investing with your heart, there are serious profits to be made, too. The single most successful IPO of 2019 didn't belong to a social-media startup, or to a new mining company, but to vegan-friendly burger maker Beyond Meat.
The alternative meat company - which counts Leonardo DiCaprio among a long list of high-profile investors - was one of the first vegan-friendly companies to list publicly, and the stock has since exploded.
While plenty of pundits described it as a fad just waiting to fade, the brand's true believers have ridden a wave that saw the stock price climb 163 per cent on its first day of trading, and over 500 per cent in the months since. And yes, that means for every dollar invested, they got more than $500 in return.
And the meat-free fun is just beginning, with Wall Streets analysts tipping the alternative meat industry will grow from US$14b to US$140b over the next 10 years, so expect more unicorn IPOs to come.
The world of cryptocurrency tells a similar story. While traditional investment firms make investing in digital currency all but impossible, those who found a way have seen the price of Bitcoin climb from $3500 to more than $10,000 so far in 2019, while alt-coins like LiteCoin have more than doubled in value, too.
Choosing exactly where and how your money is invested, so you can choose exactly what you want to support, has actually never been easier.
New trading apps, like eToro, focus on investment flexibility, rather than a pre-determined portfolio that only really allows you to control the amount of risk you want to take.
It means that no matter where your heart lies - be it in cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, ETFs, or your own combination of all of them - the tools are now at your fingertips to invest when and where you want, and in exactly what you believe in.