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401(k) - The Instant Pot of Investing?

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New beginnings are a whole theme this summer, and when it comes to careers, there are significant changes on the horizon. As much as a quarter to 40% of the workforce have indicated they’re looking for new jobs. This trend signals a wave of potential opportunities to realign a well-known retirement savings plan: the 401(k). For many of us who have this plan, we’ve treated it like the Instant Pot of investing — we ‘set it and forget it.’ But perhaps now’s the time to review your 401(k) plan to see if it’s in line with your investing values and use these mindsets to explore your impact:

  • Be investigative: only 2.9% of plans offer ESG funds, so you may need to look closely at your current offerings or ask about a ‘brokerage window’ — the option to make your own choices using tools to help you go beyond the plans your company offers.
  • Be persistent: regulatory hurdles are beginning to be cleared just as ESG funds demonstrate they’re a strong contender for companies’ retirement investment offerings. And even the federal government has started offering ESG in retirement portfolios.
  • Be empathetic: If you want to ask your company to consider offering more values-aligned options, the person responsible for your company’s 401(k) plan might be won over by the persuasive data. Bring them along your own learning journey to see what could be possible, especially given that employees interested in ESG are more likely to contribute to their retirement plan.

You may be looking at your online statement and wondering how changing a fraction of your 401(k) would make any difference. At the end of Q1 2021, these retirement plans totaled about $6.9 trillion in assets with almost 60 million participants. Tapping into this exponential power to use capital for good begins with each of us taking the first step.


Three keys to maximize your impact

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We’re all about how to invest with purpose. But it can feel scary to move from learning to actually investing your dollars. Lucky for us, there are a bunch of resources to build our confidence in choosing the right investments for our values.

Start with this MarketWatch piece from our very own FWIW Founder, Jean Case. An impact investing trailblazer, she shares her top three pieces of advice for maximizing the impact of your investment capital.

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