Good with money: the back story

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 18th Jun 2015

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This website is about helping you become good with money while doing good with money too.

I started it out of a sense of annoyance. I was annoyed that most money websites are focused on either saving the most money or making the most money, but give little (if any) information on whether the provider of that mortgage, energy tariff or insurance policy is nice or nasty to its customers, society or the planet.

I was annoyed that I’d heard a respected City veteran proudly state that there was no place for ethics in investment decisions to a nodding room of suits, when such a shameless expression of immorality and greed would provoke horror in any other context.

We are making financial decisions blind to everything except the pounds and pence cost or benefit to us, regardless of whether that company has terrible customer service, treats their staff badly, and invests their profits mainly in oil and arms.

In most cases, the biggest providers of financial services in the UK are not motivated to care whether the money you pay them in mortgage repayments or premiums goes into morally good or bad investments. They are focused on the bottom line, because that’s all their shareholders care about. And we aren’t telling them that we care about anything other than price.

There has always been a view, convenient to the big banks, fund managers, insurers and energy companies, that making ethical or sustainable decisions with your money will cost you, either because ethical investments don’t perform as well; sustainable energy is more expensive, or ethical businesses don’t make as much profit because their motivations lie elsewhere.

This view is rubbish. There is often very little premium for green energy, ethical insurance or sustainable investments. Sometimes none. Sometimes they are better value or more profitable.

Alternative energy funds steamed ahead of their mainstream non-sustainable rivals in 2013. Green energy tariffs continue to close the gap with the Big Six tariffs at impressive speed, such that I believe we will soon see green tariffs that are on average cheaper than their conventional counterparts.

Contrary to what The Wolf of Wall Street might teach us about money and morality, you don’t have to be bad to make money. Capitalism isn’t inherently evil. There are ways to avoid detriment to developing countries, poor people and the planet and still be rich. Ethical businesses include John Lewis, Ikea and Apple: hardly minnows in the profitability stakes.

And the best bit is it isn’t even that hard to cut the crap and start to be GOOD WITH MONEY, in both senses. Because even if the traditional banks, insurers and fund managers haven’t cottoned on to the fact that doing good with money can also be good for your pocket, there are enough providers out there in all walks of financial services competing to give a good range of products that are good in every sense.

And I will bring them to you.

Because it is about more than being “ethical”. It is about being human.

We need to understand where our money goes, then consciously direct it somewhere better.

Love Becky