Raised by an environmental scientist, I have heard about global warming for as long as I can remember. However, as I am reminded each holiday when I sit down with extended family and friends, there are still many people I know and love who do not accept climate change.
This past Thanksgiving, I experienced a major turning point when my grandmother said that based on all the changes she has noticed, she is ‘beginning to believe’ global warming is real. She wondered aloud: how was global warming becoming a religious or political topic?
Dr. Katharine Hayhoe did a marvelous job covering that question during her keynote at First Baptist in Asheville on April 5.
In her talk, “Science, Faith and our Changing Climate,” Dr. Hayhoe said that discussing whether or not someone believes in climate change is like asking if someone believes in gravity – whether or not they do, they are still falling in one direction if they walk off a cliff.
When you ask someone about their belief on climate change, she explained, the problem with asking at all is that it ultimately questions their opinions, identity, and ideology. This immediately makes a person defensive and emotionally involved. If someone asked you if you believe in gravity, you would likely feel a little confused by the question, but not have the same strong emotions you experience when asked if you believe in global warming or if you believe in a certain religion.
Dr. Hayhoe makes it clear that she does not believe in global warming. She knows based on scientific evidence that it is a fact and that humans are causing it. Unfortunately, because we view and discuss global warming as if it is something to be believed in, it is associated with religious and political ideologies. This has resulted in barriers in some faith communities to accept climate change as a fact. And as long as we continue talking about global warming as if it is something to be believed in, there will doubt.
Faith communities can be powerful forces to combat climate change. Through joint prayer and action, they can make an enormous impact. A congregation divesting from fossil fuels makes more of an impact than one individual. A place of worship installing solar panels on its roof makes more of an impact than solar panels on a small home.
Because of the power the faith community has to make this world a better place, it is critical for us to stand together against global warming.
Hopefully we will all one day live in a world where no one believes in global warming, because it is accepted as a fact.
For information on what you can do as part of a faith community, please visit the following sites:
- ReVest — socially responsible investing for faith organizations and individuals
- Climate Caretakers — a global community of Christians committed to prayer and action on climate change.
- Katharine Hayhoe — Katharine Hayhoe’s official site
If you are between ages 66 and 70 and you’re reading this, you need to act now!
Many of you may have seen or heard about recent changes to social security.
There were a number of significant changes approved last year and we want to make sure that you are aware of them. The simplest way to do this will be by age group. If you are close in age to one of the following groups, we highly recommend you contact your financial advisor to double check your social security benefits.
GROUP 1: IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY RECEIVING BENEFITS
You will not be affected. We repeat: if you are currently receiving monthly social security benefits, your benefits will not be affected by the changes. However, if you have any specific questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
GROUP 2: IF YOU ARE BETWEEN AGES 66-70
Flashing Neon Sign – ACT NOW. If you or your spouse is between age 66-70, they you may still be eligible for the benefit strategy that is being phased out (know as “File & Suspend”). We just had a client call in who was 68 (and their spouse was age 66) and was not receiving benefits. After discussion, they are scheduled to start benefits now–the deadline is April 30th.
By starting benefits now, his wife will be able to collect a spousal benefit now as well. This allows her personal benefit and his benefit continue to grow. This strategy will put thousands more in their pocket over their lifetimes.
If you are in this group, the deadline for filing with Social Security is April 30th, 2016. Please contact us as soon as possible, so we can help you develop and implement the best strategy. I cannot stress this enough: don’t let the ship sail on your chance for important Social Security benefits if you qualify.
GROUP 3: IF YOU ARE BETWEEN AGES 62-66
Although File & Suspend will be gone, you may be eligible for Spousal Only benefits. This is a strategy that will let you choose just your spousal benefits (assuming that your spouse is receiving benefits) and therefore maximize your lifetime benefit.
If you are in this group, your deadline is much longer (December 31st, 2019), but when you are close to age 66 it is worth discussing with your advisor.
Navigating Social Security can be a challenge, and we are here to help. If you have any questions, please let us know. If you, your spouse, or someone you know is between 66-70 and not collecting benefits…ACT NOW!
- If you are getting benefits now – stay the course.
- If you are between 66-70 (or almost 66), reach out to your advisor as soon as possible!
- If you are between 62-66, discuss this issue with your advisor anytime, but specifically when you are approaching sixty-six years old.
Financial Services for the Greater Good is the tagline for TIAA-CREF – the largest financial services firm serving educators. One would think that by saying greater good they would mean society as a whole – instead it appears to mean their pocketbook!
The New York Times reported yesterday that TIAA-CREF has participated in some very shady agricultural land deals in Brazil. Possibly purchasing land that was taken via intimidation and fraudulent means in land grabs. What further exacerbates the offense is that some of the land borders the Amazon rainforest – where we see acres and acres of slash and burn practices – often used for sugarcane or cattle farming – eliminating the carbon sink and creating a carbon source.
In addition, it appears that they used unethical dealings with a local company to skirt Brazil’s strict land ownership rules. I’m not sure what these guys are thinking!
TIAA-CREF holds itself out to its typically progressive academic clients as a forward-thinking, progressive company – offering it’s very popular Social Choice fund and making the statement that they are working for the greater good. Sounds like another case of greenwashing to me.
It’s bad enough that their “Social Choice” fund owns major polluter and renewable energy impediment, Duke Energy in addition to several other climate change-denying fossil fuel companies. Now this???
It’s time to demand accountability for companies holding themselves out as responsible to the public while making shady backroom deals contrary to their stated mission. Let TIAA-CREF know this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
We are excited to share the event with you now!
Make sure to check out the rest of our site, including our Fossil-Fuel-Free investments.
Contact Us for a complimentary consultation to see how you can make YOUR Impact!
We are very excited to announce that Leesa Childress Sluder has joined Krull & Company as an Investment Advisor. Leesa brings with her a wealth of experience as a former banking executive and a consultant focusing on the triple bottom line.
Leesa has an extensive background in working with Fortune 500 executives, professionals, and small business owners. She served as president and principal consultant of Triple Bottom Line Consulting. Prior to TBL, she spent time working for three major corporations: Citibank, Cone Mills Corporation, and Bank of America, among other things, as a Managing Director/Senior Vice President.
In her role with Krull & Company, Leesa draws upon the experience of over twenty-five years of corporate finance work, her Masters of Psychology degree, and seven years of professional consulting and coaching work with hundreds of clients. She helps clients to not only plan and invest, but to empower them to be positive changemakers through their investments. She strongly believes in the power of intentional investing and the impact it can have on the world.
Leesa and her husband Todd live at Lake Norman, but also enjoy spending time in her hometown of Asheville, NC.
She can be contacted directly here or by calling 877-235-3684.
We are pleased to announce that Neill Yelverton, a financial advisor at the firm, has become an equity partner.
“Neill has been with us for over a year and has proven to be a tremendous asset. His dedication to social and environmental issues, his drive and work ethic, and his desire to provide first-class client service fits very well with the mission of Krull & Company. I am excited to have him as a business partner,” Krull & Company President and Founder Peter Krull said.
Yelverton hold a B.S. in Wildlife Science from North Carolina State University and a M.B.A from Western Carolina University where he completed independent study in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in Business. He is currently working on completing his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation.
“What a great opportunity to be a partner in this amazing firm,” Neill Said. “Every day I get to help clients be changemakers with their investments – it’s something that I’m proud of and truly believe in.”
Neill is currently accepting select new individuals, trusts, non-profits and business retirement plans as clients.
I had a great opportunity this week to be interviewed on the Living Well radio show here in Asheville. The host, Dr. Bob Hanna, a local psychologist is genuinely interested in “living well,” and that includes investing.
In the many years that I’ve been helping people invest with their values, the biggest challenge/opportunity has always been simply education. Getting the word out that you can invest with your values, avoid polluters and other offenders, make a difference with your money, and get a competitive return.
What I have found is that many folks silo their money and investments. They may recycle, buy organic food, drive a hybrid, etc. But when it comes to investing, the old see no evil, hear no evil speak no evil philosophy comes out.
So, when I have the chance to talk about responsible investing with someone like Bob, I try to stress that responsible investing really is about “living well” as the name of the show suggests. It’s not something that should be set aside, but something that should be integrated into your overall life philosophy.
It doesn’t matter if I invest with my values – all that matters is making a profit, right?
Well, it does matter. By investing in companies that do not align with your values, you are implicitly endorsing their business practices. If you do own them and are not actively voting your proxy to encourage better behavior, you are, for lack of a better phrase, asleep at the wheel.
Did you know that the four largest mutual fund companies did not vote for transparency in political contributions in 2013? If you have investments with these companies, and you consider yourself a responsible investor, you are not being represented. Here’s the story from the Harvard Law School Forum.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be actively managing your portfolio or that you have to give up return; but it does mean that you need to be informed. Seek out an advisor who understands the concept of responsible investing. Divest from fossil fuels. Use your proxy to challenge corporate pay structures and lobbying efforts. You can make a difference, invest with your values and still get competitive returns.
Peter Krull is President and Founder of Krull & Company, a leading socially and environmentally responsible investment management firm based in Asheville, NC.
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This website is solely for informational purposes. Advisory services provided by Peter Krull, Neill Yelverton, Leesa Sluder and Kerry Keihn, investment adviser representatives of Earth Equity Advisors, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Earth Equity Advisors, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by Earth Equity Advisors, LLC unless a service agreement is in place.