Andy Garrison, Senior Wealth Advisor at Mariner Wealth Advisors, joined us on the podcast to discuss investing with a purpose.
Andy develops financial solutions to help clients achieve their long-term goals. He strives to serve as a financial coach, advocate and planner to help clients align their money with what they value most so they may live a life by design not by default. Andy specializes in working with professional pilots and has an understanding of the challenges they face. He has more than a decade of experience serving as a financial and investment advisor.
Our sister company, ReAllocate, partnered with Mariner Wealth Advisors to give investors the ability to access teams dedicated to helping you build a real estate portfolio based on your personal investment roadmap and financial goals.
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*If you’d like to learn more about how ReAllocate + Mariner Wealth Advisors can help you build a roadmap for your real estate investments head to — BuildMyRoadmap.com.*
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All opinions expressed by Adam, Tyler and podcast guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of RealCrowd. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. To gain a better understanding of the risks associated with commercial real estate investing, please consult your advisors.
Adam Hooper (00:22):
Hey listeners, Adam here. Have you ever wondered if you’re investing in the right real estate deals? What about if you’re making the right decisions for your overall financial health? Over the last seven years of running RealCrowd, the number one question we’ve received from investors is, should I invest in this deal? Well, we’re excited to announce that we can now help you answer that question. Through our sister company ReAllocate and through ReAllocate’s partnership with Mariner Wealth Advisors, you can now have access to teams dedicated to helping you build a real estate portfolio based on your personal investment roadmap and financial goals. If you’d like to learn more about how ReAllocate can help you, head to buildmyroadmap.com. Again, that’s buildmyroadmap.com.
Adam Hooper (01:12):
Happy holidays listeners. And welcome back to another episode of our special series with Mariner Wealth Advisors. In this episode, we’re joined by Andy Garrison, senior wealth advisor to help spread some holiday cheer as we close out the year. Andy joined us to discuss how to align your life, purpose and beliefs with how you allocate your dollars. Whether it’s with a focus on impact investing, ESG considerations or giving to a charitable organization. We touched on what to look for in opportunities, the tax impacts of giving and wrapped up the conversation with some of the positive stories Andy has witnessed through impact investing and giving during this very challenging year.
Adam Hooper (01:48):
We hope you enjoy the episode and as always, please let us know if you have any questions for Andy about having an impact by sending us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org with that, we’ll get to it. Hi Andy, thank you so much for joining us today. Really excited to talk about investing with a purpose, which is the theme for our conversation today. So thank you so much for spending some time with us here right before the holidays to talk about what you’re up to in the wealth management space.
Andy Garrison (02:22):
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Excited for it.
Adam Hooper (02:24):
So before we jump in, why don’t you take a few minutes to tell us a little bit about your background, how you got into the financial industry and what you’re up to these days.
Andy Garrison (02:37):
Yeah. Absolutely. Appreciate that. I got into the financial industry in kind of an odd way it seems sometimes. And then right out of college, just decided that this is what I wanted to do, to go into wealth management in that kind of the personal side of finance. Always had an interest in planning and mapping things out and taking uncertainty and being able to find a way to turn that into something certain or create certainty around it. And I really just, in an odd way, found wealth management used to be a good home for that. And most of the people [inaudible 00:03:05] number nerds. So I don’t know what else I’d be doing.
Adam Hooper (03:11):
I think you might be the first pilot that we’ve spoken with on the show.
Andy Garrison (03:14):
Oh yeah. Well, you’re starting a good trend, they’re all good people. Got to have a little something to do to create some excitement outside of work, right?
Adam Hooper (03:23):
Yeah. I’m curious. Has that influenced at all how you look at planning or anything on that front? How does that creep into your professional life? I’m curious.
Andy Garrison (03:34):
Yeah. Well, it’s funny you ask that, because it definitely has. In flying, one of the things you learn early on is that physics are real. And all the whole Newton’s laws, every action has an equal and opposite reaction and all of those apply. And it really kind of showed me before we have knowledge of certain things, there’s a lot that can seem uncertain. And it seems a lot more of an art and there is an art to everything, but it seems a lot more of an art than a science. And I believe that in flying, because physics are involved, there really is a science to everything.
Andy Garrison (04:07):
If you do this input with the controls, you get this output under these conditions. And so being able to take kind of that mindset and that approach into finance and trying to figure out how do we add barriers, whether it’s around risk, whether it’s around investments, whether it’s around values, whatever it may be, to understand some of those things that maybe seem a little vague to our clients, but in reality can really be boiled down and add a lot of guard rails and certainty around them.
Adam Hooper (04:29):
Yeah. It’s interesting. I’m curious to get your thoughts. One of a guy I used to know, again, was a pilot. His thing was, it’s not the first mistake that gets you in trouble, you can correct that. It’s when you start making those overcorrections or adjustments beyond that. That you don’t have that plane or that reaction to you that can really cause those troubles. Is there any parallel with that in planning?
Andy Garrison (04:51):
Yeah. I think there is. And in flying, it’s just what you said, a lot of times when there’s accidents or something that goes wrong in the interviews afterwards, it’s normally not one incident. It’s a chain reaction of things and that’s certainly the case with planning. And I believe that’s really the number one goal when you’re planning is to one, avoid the mistakes. And then you find the opportunities, but you have to avoid the mistakes first. And just having an experienced pilot alongside you, if you’re a bit on the novice side like me, I think the same applies in your wealth management and your investments and all of that as well.
Adam Hooper (05:23):
Good. Well, so I know you have a focus on impact investing and ESG investing and that’s what we really want to dig in today. Can you tell us how did you get into that space? What attracted you to that philosophy or that style of investing for your practice?
Andy Garrison (05:40):
Yeah. Absolutely. It actually started to, I think like a lot of things, it was just kind of a what if question I was asking myself. And the sense of, what if there’s a little bit different way? What if there’s something that we might be missing out there to try to find some unique investments or some unique strategies. Or what if there’s another way we can come alongside folks and help them align their values with what they’re doing on the planning side. And so it was just a series of kind of wondering about that to be frank. It wasn’t any moment of genius or anything like that. It was stumbling into it. And as I started to understand this concept, and as you start researching it, you find what I now believe has become kind of a lot of myths about it in the sense of how it might actually work.
Andy Garrison (06:20):
But as you start researching and learning about it, you start seeing some of the evidence. You start seeing some of the data that a lot of these companies might have the ability to do just as well as any other companies. And then you start getting the logical side of you going and you start saying, well, if these companies and these types of investments are doing unique things that are also doing well, maybe there’s a longterm financial advantage to those as well. And so it all just kind of spilled out. And then as part of my journey at Mariner, we had some great resources there to kind of build out those investigations and understandings and solutions for it. And so it’s just grown ever since. And now I’ve become pretty passionate about it, to say the least.
Adam Hooper (06:58):
Great. Well, so why don’t we take a little higher step back here and just introduce us, what is ESG or impact investing? How do you define that? And as we were talking before we jumped on here, real estate in our industry is just now starting to enter that conversation from an ESG perspective. I think it’s something that the more traditional finance industry has already adopted and is more well-known. But we’re just starting to see that become a thing in the real estate space. So I’d love [inaudible 00:07:26] the table of how you guys look at that on the ESG side. And then maybe we can talk about how that might apply to the real estate space too.
Andy Garrison (07:33):
Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And you kind of hit the nail on the head. There’s ESG, there’s impact investing, socially responsible investing, all these different things. And it’s kind of just become a broad term. And so the way I look at it is you’ve got ESG, which is an acronym for environmental, social, and governance. And it’s really just a way to look at companies and say how are they performing on these areas. Financial is assumed when you’re doing an analysis of companies, but looking at these other three areas, how are they performing from a carbon footprint standpoint or an environmental sustainability standpoint.
Andy Garrison (08:10):
From the social side, the S, it’s how are they taking care of their communities? Their employees? What things are they doing that might aid their business in the long run in that area? And then governance is just things of, what do the directors look like? What are the board of directors? What’s the makeup? How does management look? Do they represent their customers right? And all those types of things. And so it’s just another lens to really analyze companies. And what we found over time is that you can actually morph this into the broader spectrum of impact investing. And the simplest way to understand that and the way I like to think of it is, it’s almost a given, we want our money to grow for us if we’re investing it.
Andy Garrison (08:48):
But what if we also want more. And we want it to have a positive impact, either on our communities or on a particular region or on our value system or something like that. So ESG is kind of a broad lens to understand the types of investments that you might choose and how they perform in certain areas. And then in my view, impact investing is how you take those and really morph those to your own values. And say, how do I create or find an investment that might generate not only the financial returns I’m looking for, but also potentially the impact returns that I want as well?
Adam Hooper (09:19):
So is it kind of like a whiskey and bourbon thing? Like all bourbons are whiskeys, but not all whiskeys are bourbon. So ESG is a subset of impact investing, is that’s what you’re saying? Yeah.
Andy Garrison (09:28):
Yeah. Absolutely. It’s kind of the more of the broad umbrella in there [inaudible 00:09:32] just like you said.
Adam Hooper (09:34):
And so what are some examples of that? I think we’ve all seen news about bigger fund managers may be using this as a criteria for removing certain investments. Not investing in certain sectors that have some kind of negative impact on some of these factors. Is it more of a filter for removing companies? Is it for finding investment opportunities? How does that work? And maybe what are some of the examples of investments that you’ve seen in that space that would maybe fit that mold, I guess.
Andy Garrison (10:06):
Yeah. I think that that’s a great question. And I appreciate you bringing that up. What we have seen, we’ve just seen an evolution in any other space, not just in the finance world, but elsewhere. And there’s really kind of three elements, I believe, that go into looking at these. There’s one is what’s called negative screening, which is kind of what you said, is looking at the criteria and saying, which companies do we not want to hold? Or what companies or investments would we want to exclude from our portfolio or our wealth just simply because of X, Y, and Z? It’s just not something we agree with or where they feel they’re violators in certain areas, whether it’s environmental or social or governance in there.
Andy Garrison (10:43):
But what we’ve seen lately is it has now become more this trend to saying, “Hey, that’s great.” Just for example, I don’t want a tobacco company in their. Or I don’t want certain types of healthcare companies exposure in that area, but now we’re also saying, well, what about companies that maybe hold the same values I hold. Or companies that are out there in the community doing really good things. So it’s not just kind of the negative side of getting rid of some companies or some investments, but it’s also the opportunity to bring some in that are actually proactively trying to make some positive changes as well in there.
Adam Hooper (11:13):
So I guess on the positive screen side of this, for companies that are aligning with goals, how does impact investing or ESG investing play into that financial picture? You mentioned maybe there’s actually financial benefits to companies that might be operating in this way or looking at things through this lens, those are the odds to one another or are you seeing those as the trends within the actual performance or profitability? Those in companies that are maybe prioritizing some of these different initiatives.
Andy Garrison (11:45):
Yeah. And that’s been one of the really neat things to see over the last few years. Is you’ve seen companies themselves really embrace operating by a of these criteria because they’re seeing that it really helps. And the best example I think of with these is, on the social side is how are you taking care of your employees? And so if you’re a business and you’re taking really good care of your people, you’re providing great benefits, great health care, they’re happy, they’re engaged, they’re going to tend to be a little bit more productive. And that spills down to the bottom line, the easier to retain folks, easier to train folks and keep them excited and keep them focused on the mission if you’re doing well by them and taking good care of them. So that not only lowers turnover costs, but increases productivities, a lot of times with employees as well. And so what you see is some financial benefits kind of sparking out from that as well.
Adam Hooper (12:29):
And are there new financial metrics or benchmarks that are used in the industry when looking at it through that lens? Or is it still pretty fundamental, technical or financial analysis when you look at those investments?
Andy Garrison (12:43):
I think it’s both. At Mariner, we’re always looking at things to go through a financial screen first, just because it’s still got to serve that central purpose as well. And then as we start looking at the social screen, there’s kind of two different evolutions, I’d say, going on. You can start finding a lot of rating companies out there now that might rate these investments based on their environmental score, social or governance. And I think that’s excellent. And it certainly is really helping kind of bring a mainstream view to this space.
Andy Garrison (13:16):
One of the things we found is that sometimes that’s a little bit like looking in the rear view mirror. And so at Mariner, we’ll take a little bit of an extra effort and try to be a little bit forward-looking. So looking and seeing what’s being said about these companies and the news on social media. What are things that are happening now that maybe aren’t reflective in some of those ratings in criteria that you’re seeing out there, but may end up playing in down the road. And just trying to get ahead of the trends that are happening on the environmental, social and governance space for a lot of these companies.
Adam Hooper (13:45):
Yeah. In the real estate world, we haven’t really seen impact investing in. I guess what I’m trying to get to is, how do you balance the cost of that? There are generally costs associated with either, again, if you’ve tried to incorporate some kind of philanthropic or some more impact of that capital. We’ve seen a few deals in our space where it’s been a mix of social investing or impact investing, but at the cost of some return. And unfortunately a lot of the decisions are still made on a financial basis. So how do you balance pricing in some of those initiatives? Are you accepting a lower total return as a trade-off for that impact? Or are we getting to a spot where you’re seeing similar financial performance, if not greater financial performance and also the impact side of that?
Andy Garrison (14:38):
Yeah. I think that’s a great question. I think it’s one of those time will tell or tell for certain on there. I do think there’s different scales elsewhere. And it’s an evolution. There’s always the first movers that get in there, that are willing accept a little bit higher cost and a little bit lower return. But as those investments start looking better and doing better and being better than expected, it becomes more mainstream. And as it becomes more mainstream, I think you tend to see things revert to the norm, whether that be financial performance or investor preferences and that kind of thing. You all know real estate better than anybody I know. My limited knowledge on it is just looking back at, I think, as energy efficient building. And I believe that’s kind of become the norm to some degree now where 15, 20 years ago, it was a little bonus. Correct me if I’m wrong on that.
Adam Hooper (15:29):
Yeah. And I think there’s still a lot of room to grow. The lead and energy star, and there’s some certifications out there, but I think there’s certainly a lot of room to grow in terms of how that looks. And in, again, environmental side. Looking at the social impact. Looking at what is the built environment doing to support its communities. And the governance companies think there’s certainly plenty of room for their industry to grow as it relates to the governance side. So still I think as with most real estate tends to be a little bit slow to adopt these things, but it is becoming a conversation now which is encouraging. And so hopefully again, we’ll see more of awareness and push towards some of those initiatives within the real estate space.
Andy Garrison (16:09):
Adam Hooper (16:10):
So on the tactical side, how can listeners start to understand or define maybe what that means for them. Is it aligning with their goals and their beliefs? What are maybe some tactical steps that they can go through to get a framework for how to think about ESG or impact investing?
Andy Garrison (16:33):
Yeah. Absolutely. And that’s to me, one of the more exciting stages we’re in with it right now. Is it’s really gone from initially just being, hey, if you want any type of impact investing, here’s what you get. It was kind of this packaged offering in there, but really it’s become more and more unique and more personalized to what’s important to you as an investor. Well, I think we could all probably sit down and have a pretty good criteria of what it means to be responsible in these different areas or a good company in there. There’ll be a lot of overlap in that. Everyone’s a little bit different and has a little bit different preference.
Andy Garrison (17:09):
And so the right place to start is with you. And if you just take a step back and said, hey, if I were able to assume that getting good financial returns over time was a given, that we are going to target that anyway, what would be really important to me when I think about my investments? What are the kinds of things that I want to support? What are the kinds of things that I don’t want to support? And how does that flow through? But the easiest place to start is if you’re a giver now, and you do a lot of giving and you’re charitably inclined is, where are those dollars going? And what do those organizations support? And then it’s just asking, how do you incorporate that into your investment portfolio as well?
Adam Hooper (17:45):
And I’m assuming it’s a spectrum, again, at individual level, how much of an importance they put on some of these factors relative to, again, overall portfolio construction or financial performance.
Andy Garrison (17:57):
Yeah. Definitely is. Definitely is. You may talk, in the morning, to one individual who had some family history of something and their main focus is avoiding maybe tobacco or alcohol or something like that, for example. And then in the afternoon, you might talk to somebody who’s saying, hey, I believe that companies that are focusing on their environmental footprint, taking good care of their people and having kind of more independent and diverse boards of directors, I think they’re going to do better over the long term. And so they have a focus on a broader spectrum. So it is. It does slide around from someone who’s very specific and wants to either eliminate or incorporate one particular thing, to someone on the other side who might just say, hey, this is where my belief shifting of where the future’s going and we’d like to try to incorporate all of it.
Adam Hooper (18:40):
So when someone has that framework set or an understanding of what some of those factors are, what are some resources about actually finding out those things about the companies and then making that actual decision? Again, how to weigh those different impacts as a part of that overall decision making process?
Andy Garrison (18:59):
Yeah. So I think there’s definitely the financial screens that you go through and how you evaluate, is this the company I’d want to invest in. But then when you get to the, whether it’s ESG or impact investing, or just the broader social responsibility of a company, they’re starting to become more and more rating services out there that rate it. Again, maybe it’s a little bit in the rear view mirror, but the best place I’ve found after years of going through this with folks is where are you spending your dollars?
Andy Garrison (19:26):
Are there types of companies that you’d invest in or types companies you would not want to invest in or spend money with for that matter? And so if there’s certain organizations that you love spending your dollars at, then you start thinking about how can you incorporate those into your portfolio as well, or companies like those as well. But yeah. It’s kind of just, where is your heart going? Where are your dollars going? But what you normally do with your wallet and how you [inaudible 00:19:51] with your feet start coming into your investment portfolio.
Adam Hooper (19:53):
And then are there any different A, on the financial side and this kind of an extension of a question I asked before, are there any different metrics that you look at from the financial analysis side that these different factors can impact? Or again, that’s still pretty fundamental technical on the financial side?
Andy Garrison (20:09):
I think you’ll starting to see more of a blend in there. So just using a real simple example and maybe a bit of an extreme example, but I think it’s real clear on the environmental side. Is if a company is saving a few bucks to dump pollution in a lake or something that’s kind of obvious like that. And then they go and get extensive fines or a huge damage to their reputation and all of that, that becomes a financial risk. And so I think what you’re seeing is a lot of firms starting to step back and say, can we look through the lens of these environmental, social and governance criteria? And possibly identify financial risks that maybe aren’t on the balance sheet or the current financials of companies now. So I think they’re starting to come together more than maybe we thought they might a few years back.
Adam Hooper (20:51):
Yeah. And then again, trying to find the balance of, are these more of the negative screens in terms of looking for those risks versus what you mentioned before, where might there actually be opportunities for outperformance based on some of their positions on these factors, right?
Andy Garrison (21:05):
Yeah. Yeah. I think so. There’s always the logical side which is where my brain tends to go to first and then you have to check sometimes with it, but if you just look at it from a simple angle and say, if there’s a company out there, you’ve got two companies. Company A and company B. Company A just does its thing and moves along. They’re in the same industry about the same size, all of that. But company B takes a little bit longer-term focus on things, whether it’s their environmental footprint or how they hire and train employees and the benefits they provide. They take really good care of their folks. They’ve got a great reputation in the community for trying to do some giving back and all of that.
Andy Garrison (21:40):
They’ve got a nice independent board of directors with diverse views on business and life coming from different backgrounds in there. And say, is there a chance that company B over the long term might end up in a better spot? And I think that we’re starting to see that that’s a good possibility out there. And so that’s where it’s starting to combine and answer the question, are you necessarily for sure giving up financial performance to invest more in alignment with your values? And of course, time will tell, and it’s different for everybody in every situation. But I think the arguments getting harder and harder to make that you would lose out for certain.
Adam Hooper (22:16):
And part of this, at least again in the real estate space is, again, how do you quantify what that impact is or how do you actually measure what’s the impact of these causes or philosophies are on the investments themselves. Is there anything that when you’re looking at these companies through that lens, how do you actually track what the good is? Are there any metrics out there? Are there any ways to really monitor what the impact of those investments are having either from the environmental, social, governance side or [inaudible 00:22:53] other factors?
Andy Garrison (22:56):
Yeah. So it’s not as far along as, I think, a lot of folks would like on there. But there are some good ways to do it. Financial performance is pretty easiest. Did my account go up or not? We just look at the bottom line and we see it there. Companies more and more especially ones that are kind of fitting themselves into being highly ranked in the ESG space, they’re putting out all sorts of, whether it’s sustainability reports or even in their annual reports. They’re talking about some of the good that they’re doing, whether it’s the social side or how their governance is evolving and all of that too.
Andy Garrison (23:26):
So there’s some reporting. It’s coming straight from the horse’s mouth. So they always know that you might want to do a little bit looking to. But in this day and age, we’re really finding that so much of it is just reported by their customers. You Google somebody and you see their reviews on the right side of the page. You look at their social media feeds, you’re able to see what people are saying and the issues and problems they’re having, or the praises they’re singing and that kind of thing.
Andy Garrison (23:53):
So the hope is that in the next couple of years, there’s going to be some pretty hard metrics that show here’s how it’s delivering on there. But right now we’ve just got a lot of those qualitative ones, which I think as humans, our human nature is we understand stories. And so as you look at the companies and you see kind of what they’re doing in their communities and for their people and your investments that you’re making with the intention of impact, you start to see those stories and start to see kind of the outcome that that’s having as well.
Adam Hooper (24:22):
Yeah. And now switching gears a little bit, you mentioned the giving and kind of philanthropic side of that piece as well. Heading into the holidays, I know that’s on a lot of people’s minds is, again, making some donations and philanthropic side of things. How should people look at separate? Are they one in the same, are those independent? How do you balance more giving in philanthropic activity versus impact investing?
Andy Garrison (24:51):
Yeah. I think a lot of folks are givers and they’re focused on the giving side. And to me, moving into impact investing, or I should say, adding on impact investing is a way to kind of continue to move down that journey. And so if you’re someone who’s very interested in philanthropic or philanthropy and philanthropic giving and how you structure those things, as you start thinking about what about the dollars I’m not giving, a lot of times impact investing in a way to kind of answer that and still accomplish the same things. Certainly on the philanthropic side, there’s a lot of really neat impact that’s happening there. You can go and look at the reports of organizations and charities that you give to and see your 94 cents of every dollar is actually spent to the end recipients.
Andy Garrison (25:34):
And we love those kinds of metrics on there. And what’s really interesting is as we start to layer on impact investing on top of that, we start seeing that the impact we’re having is growing. And it’s not just necessarily money or dollars that we’re giving away that has an immediate impact, the impact investment too and maybe the future dollars that we give or the legacy we’re trying to leave for our family or something like that. But it’s all goes back to our values. And generally our giving is going to align with our values. And so it’s just that next evolution of trying to help our investment dollars align to those values as well.
Adam Hooper (26:06):
Got it. I know it’s been a pretty crazy 2020. I’m curious how the landscape for philanthropic giving has evolved or changed or modified. Has it increased, decreased? Stayed unchanged? What would have you seen in that side from the philanthropic area?
Andy Garrison (26:22):
I don’t have all the data out there with it, but I can tell you from what I’ve seen is it’s increased. And it’s been really, really neat to see. A lot of the folks I work with and talk to going in March and April and when everybody was kind of stressed out and curious, the folks, they were doing okay. Just really opened up their hearts and in a lot of cases, their wallets. And I think it was just really neat to see. And so I think we’ll probably continue to see kind of that compassionate trend increase as well. And to think that it’s a really good thing to have.
Adam Hooper (26:53):
And you mentioned some of the metrics like again, X% of every dollar is utilized in certain ways. What are some of the questions, I guess, their listeners they’re looking, maybe they’re wanting to start looking giving some money philanthropically or they’re just looking to get into that space. What are some of the key things that you might look at when you’re starting that out or some of those metrics that you should be asking questions about, of whatever organization you’re researching. Maybe kind of help us set a ground level of what some of those conversations might look like?
Andy Garrison (27:25):
Yeah. Absolutely. And I think there’s maybe two ways to display it. If you’re doing some just pure financial giving to a large organization, where you may be giving a nice amount, but it’s not a huge part of their annual budget. I think you’re looking at the more general metrics of how is the organization rated? How long have they been around? Do they align with their values? How much of your donation dollars are actually going to the impact? What kind of impact reporting are they putting out so that you can know your return on dollar given if you will, through there.
Andy Garrison (27:59):
And I think that there’s more and more resources that are coming out to help evaluate that. And some that we use with folks that, I think are, are very, very helpful with that. And then you’ve got the other side where a lot of times you’ll run into folks who are interested in giving a bigger gift. A lot of times, one of the things I’ve found with very generous donors is if they are looking at certain dollar amounts of gifts, they know they have to give a larger amount for the impact to really happen.
Andy Garrison (28:25):
And so if you find yourself falling into that category where you want to give a bigger amount that makes up either a larger portion of the budget, or you want to start playing a role in funding an endowment or something for an organization. I think it’s important to understand more about the actual management, and who’s going to be leading, and what their background is with dollars. And what kind of oversight is in there not to micromanage your giving by any means, but just to know where it’s going. And a lot of times what you find is by doing that, you’re able to actually help set the organization up for future success because they’re better prepared when bigger dollars come in as well.
Adam Hooper (29:03):
And how do you people go about finding these different opportunities? Again, I’m assuming organizations that align with their values or with things that they care about personally, are there any other unique ways that you’ve seen people come across organizations or get involved with organizations that might be a little bit outside of the norm?
Andy Garrison (29:25):
There’s a lot of unique accounts out there, whether they’re charitable giving accounts or charitable gift accounts. For example, if you take like Fidelity, Charles Schwab, they all have their own charitable arm, and they’re starting to put out neat reports of where the most dollars are going and what the impact it might be having from those giving dollars. So there are great ways to pull from, as far as typically we’ll deal with folks as we go through kind of understanding values. And what’s important to you is just conducting kind of a search almost like you would an investment research process. And saying, well, here’s, what’s important, what organizations are meeting those goals, what organizations have the opportunity to continue to expand? And where do we think the best kind of bang for the buck on the giving side might go in there?
Adam Hooper (30:09):
And I’m assuming obviously there’s tax implications of giving. Are there any tax implications from more of an ESG? That’s probably fairly straightforward, but with the philanthropic side of things, maybe just a quick and that’s probably a whole episode onto itself, but maybe just some the tax considerations. Again, as we’re heading into the end of the year here, maybe people are going to be making some of those gifts. What are some things they might want to keep in mind as they look at that process?
Andy Garrison (30:39):
Yeah. Of course, anything tax related, it’s always great. And it should be run by CPA, of course. But you’re looking and you’re thinking about end of year opportunities in giving. One strategy you can always look at is, do you have shares of appreciated stock or any asset for that matter that might be good to give? A lot of times there’s tax savings to be had there, but it’s the neat thing when you start moving into impact investing. Is you don’t find that there’s less tax advantages to going that route than you would other investments in most cases. So with good planning, you can capture all the tax benefits of giving while still being able to focus on long-term financials and the impact that you want to have.
Adam Hooper (31:19):
Good. Well, as we wrap it up today, are there any kind of interesting stories or any positive stories that you’ve seen from clients that focus on impact investing, a little holiday cheer here in the space?
Andy Garrison (31:30):
Yeah. Yeah. For sure. There’s just been a lot of really neat ones through this pandemic and I’m not to make light of it by any means, of course. But just seeing how people can open their hearts and their wallets in different times, and the thought of how you might be able to use your investment dollars beyond a gift. And so I’ve seen several cases this year where there’s been local businesses that were struggling. And they offered an investment that if all you were looking at were the financial side of things, you may say, I don’t know. The risk might outweigh the return or something like that, but there’s been the opportunity for a lot of impact investors to kind of step into some of those businesses and take an ownership share in something they may frequent with their family.
Andy Garrison (32:14):
And so I’ve had the opportunity to visit the several folks that have done that throughout the year. And it’s just been really neat to see in some place they know, a lot of times it’s local, they can go and visit there and everything too. So just going through this year, it’s been really interesting to see people’s minds kind of open up. And some opportunities that you may not think of in the past year, I may never invest in that business or wouldn’t have an opportunity to invest in that business. It’s really opened up the way to not only do a lot of good, but maybe invest in something that you’ve wanted a piece of that you may not have had the opportunity for a long time to.
Adam Hooper (32:48):
Yeah. That is good to hear that there’s been some, again, some kind of eye-opener situations in the local… I think that’s one thing that our space I think we wish we would see more in quite frankly. So if any managers are listening out there that wants to bring some impact investments or some social focused investments in the real estate space, we are all ears for that. But yeah. I think that’s definitely something as an industry, we need to be more conscious of and start to push a little bit more. So that’s good to hear. So what are some things that listeners might be able to do today, or again, by end of the year, given the holiday season, they can start having an impact now. Is this a longer term thing or are there steps that people can take today in setting things up to go down that path?
Andy Garrison (33:33):
Yeah. I think it all starts today. The best thing to do is start investigating it. And if your heart’s leading you in a certain direction, or you’ve got certain values or scenarios that just keeping your mind of wanting to do or have an impact in, I encourage folks to investigate that a little bit farther. And talk to some folks that might have some ways they can help in that. Ask your friends, ask even the charities that you’re very passionate about and that you may play a bigger role in or donate, not just your dollars, but your time to, if they knew of anything too. And you’d be surprised what comes up. But it’s certainly something that I think that if you have the heart and you’re charitably inclined and you’re also interested in perhaps still getting the financial returns, but while also looking to have an impact, it’s going to be hard to beat looking at that space going forward, I believe.
Adam Hooper (34:19):
Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap it up. Andy, thank you again so much for coming on to chat with us today. Maybe tell us and listeners how they can learn a little bit more about what you’re up to with the folks at Mariner Wealth Advisors.
Andy Garrison (34:30):
Yeah. Simplest way is marinerwealthadvisors.com. Absolutely.
Adam Hooper (34:36):
Perfect. So again, really appreciate you coming on today. Thank you for sharing this information with us, and hopefully our listeners will start to consider how they can have an impact with their investments going forward.
Andy Garrison (34:47):
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Adam Hooper (34:48):
All right, listeners. That’s all we’ve got for today. If you’d like to learn about how ReAllocate and our partnership with Mariner Wealth Advisors can help you build a real estate portfolio that meets your risk tolerance and financial goals, head to buildmyroadmap.com. Stay tuned for more special episodes with our friends at Mariner Wealth Advisors, and again, head to buildmyroadmap.com. And with that, we’ll catch you in the next one.