The case for nicer ISAs

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 24th Jan 2018

Look, I’ll admit, I can get a bit sentimental at times. I’m the first one to cry at One Born Every Minute and the last one to leave the cinema when a film has a sad ending, hiding my tears in the dark.

I like to call this empathy, though some may say it’s just plain soppy. In any case, I am what I am, and post-children, thanks to a heightened appreciation of the preciousness of life, my heart increasingly rules my head. I’ve come to see this as wisdom rather than weakness – an advancement rather than a regression. Cleverness only gets you so far, and this, I believe, is as true in capital markets as it is in child rearing.

The best money men and women know this. Instinct, hunches, feelings… the words used might not be so soft-headed, but the wise value the ineffable, qualitative part of a star fund manager’s approach as much as the quantitative justifications for a decision.

There is no real reason to divorce the heart from the head when it comes to our money. Although we are taught that numbers are a sensible and serious business, for people with maths brains, calculators and spreadsheets; those who make serious money (I’m thinking Richard Branson types) employ other parts of their brain – and their feelings, (for example, about a company or a management team) all the time, when making decisions about what to do with millions of pounds of other people’s money.

There’s so much wrong with the world. My glass is not half empty by any means, but there is. And the more we divorce our hearts from our heads when it comes to where we invest, the worse it will get. That’s because money is behind almost everything that makes anything happen and because we are programmed to think that the nasty, exploitative, fast-buck companies will do best. We think of profitability and ruthlessness as compatible, when they aren’t (read this blog from WHEB for more on how positivity can be profitable too). So when we have money to invest, we tend to put it where we think it will be most profitable, which we assume is the “bad” stuff – resource companies, banks and so forth. We put the personal above principles not because we are bad, but because that is just the way we think things have to be.

But I want my money to reflect my heart. I want it to be an expression of who I am and what I want to be better in the world (for me, CO2 emissions and child exploitation are big issues, but others may have different priorities). And I know, thanks to fantastic research and reports like our Good Investment Review, published in conjunction with 3D Investing, that I can do so without sacrificing personal profit (which will ultimately benefit my family, whom I hope will do more good with it further down the line).

That’s why Good With Money is launching a #NicerIsa campaign in the run up to April 5. We’ll be blogging, vlogging and Insta-posting on why we want #NicerIsas for the next 9 weeks. From stocks and shares ISAs to the relatively new Innovative Finance ISAs, there are options for everyone who can afford to put away as little as £50 a month.

You can join in by tagging us in your Instagram pictures of reasons to choose a #NicerIsa – whether that’s a bit of countryside you love, or people or places you want to protect. You’ll be in with a chance to win a £50 John Lewis voucher.

The Good Egg mark companies are a great place to start. We also have a directory of firms we think are trying to do their bit. For more information on which funds to choose to make a positive impact, the Good Investment Review will help a lot.

Check them out. And this ISA season, if you are aiming to invest your full £20,000 allowance or just to get started with small monthly contributions, make it a #NicerISA.

Family: one of my many reasons to invest in a #NicerISA this year – what are your reasons?

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