Business and Finance

What does your money do while it sleeps? The stewardship of investing

by David Jester, MFA, CSRIC

My father often uses his favorite word, stewardship, to describe the work that we do. To us, this word means, simply, to take care of. Since he began our practice 34 years ago, his work has been to educate our clients about how to take good care of what is important to them using their investments as a part of that equation. In short, we always try to help our clients do something good with their money. Until recently, this has been focused on what happens when dollars are spent or given. Lately, however, we have focused on how to help our clients be good stewards with their investments even when their money is “sleeping” (i.e., invested). 

Our clients often come to us reporting that they are happy to give to the causes and people that are dear to them. They wonder, however, if they can be doing more. In short, we are happy to report that yes, they can. 

Perhaps they would like to ensure that they are supporting the global transition to renewable energy with their investments. Maybe they are interested in investing in companies that treat their employees fairly. Perhaps they want to concentrate on companies who employ women in leadership roles. Investments of these types all fall under the category of SRI (Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact) investments. 

And, while similar opportunities have existed for quite some time, there have never been as many options available to the average investor as there are now. Maybe you have read about these trends in the news (search ESG, SRI, or Impact Investing, and a flurry of recent articles will flood your screen). This was not the case 20 years ago. 

So, what has changed? In my opinion, that answer can be found at the heart of what the famed Uruguayan journalist, Eduardo Galeano, makes plain in the featured quote for this month—the idea that our modern world is motivated by money. 

As our world becomes more complex, companies that are positioned to benefit from a shift to technologies and practices that will be the cornerstones of what comes next can benefit. When these companies are motivated to take care of our planet and its inhabitants, we all benefit.

With this in mind, I encourage you to think about how your retirement dollars are “sleeping.” Could you be doing more not only to do “well,” but also to do “good?” Are your investments aligned with your values? If not, could they benefit from a shift? Could the rest of the world? 

As a reminder, spend wisely & invest in good. Until next time…

David Jester, MFA, CSRIC is a financial advisor with the Jester Group at Baird. He can be reached for questions or comments at Find more details including his bio at