You Have Questions - We Have Answers
We want to make aligning your investments with your values as easy as possible. However, we understand that you may have a question or two. We've done our best to answer as many questions as possible. Simply click on a question to see the answer.
SIPC protects your investments up to $500,000 per legal account. This can protect against the loss of your investments in the event that Folio Institutional liquidates. Remember, however, that SIPC protection does not protect against market volatility or losses due to that volatility. Investing is risky and can result in the loss of all of your principal. Earth Equity and Folio design our portfolios to match your personal level of risk to give you the best opportunity for capital appreciation.
We recommend Google Chrome or Firefox browsers. Safari for Mac has some compatability issues.
Yes you will receive account statements monthly. The default setting is for paperless delivery - we want to do as much as we can to protect the planet and e-statements are one small way we can save a tree or two.
ALIGN is not set up to be self-directed. Once you go through the process of determining your risk and and goals, our portfolio engine will automatically create your portfolio for you.
ALIGN is designed to simplify sustainable, responsible, and impact investing, but does not include financial planning. For clients over $250,000, Earth Equity Advisors offers comprehensive financial planning for a fee.
Yes, you have the option to fund your account by transferring your full investment account, or only transferring a portion of it.
To get started with your transfer, you will first need to contact your current provider to sell your investments. Before you can invest your funds in the portfolio that has been specifically designed for your investment objective(s), you will need to sell your current holdings at your current provider and transfer all, or a portion of, the resulting cash proceeds. Many providers will not accept our liquidation instructions, so this will help facilitate this process. Because there may be tax implications resulting from this action, we recommend that you consult with an investment advisor or a tax professional before selling assets.
Next, you will need to complete the Folio Investments Account Transfer Form. Be sure to complete the entire document and sign it. You will need to attach your most recent account statement. Once complete, send the completed and signed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. The transfer process generally takes 7-10 business days. If you have problems, contact Folio customer service at 1-888-485-3456 or email the support team
Yes, you can transfer your old 401(k) or 403(b) to ALIGN. The assets will be transferred into a sustainable rollover IRA.
If you have a 401(k) or a 403(b) your previous investment company will likely sell the investments and send cash to us. Typically with company plans, you will need to reach out to your HR department for appropriate documents. Contact Folio customer service at 1-888-485-3456 or email the support team for help in moving your company retirement plan to ALIGN.
Most plans only allow assets to transfer out after the employee no longer works at the company. There are exceptions, however, so contact your Human Resources department to find out.
A taxable brokerage account is a standard investment account. Money deposited into these accounts can be used to buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other securities. Unlike an IRA, earnings from dividends and capital gains are taxed immediately.
An IRA is an investment account designed specifically for investing for retirement and has many tax advantages, i.e. capital gains and dividends from these accounts are not taxed, hooray! HOWEVER, as taxes are one of the two certainties in life (the other being ALIGN's steadfast commitment to responsible investing), they do play a role in an IRA. (see below)
In a traditional IRA account, you can contribute tax-free (you get a tax deduction in the year you make the contribution), but you pay taxes when withdrawing money from the account, i.e, no taxes now, pay taxes later.
In a Roth IRA account, you do not receive any tax benefit when contributing. The upside is you do not pay taxes upon withdrawal, i.e. pay taxes now, no taxes later. Think of it as the reverse Traditional IRA!
The simple answer is there is no correct answer! Since everybody’s financial situation is different, what’s best for you may not be the best for the next person. Typically younger individuals, with lower taxes choose Roth IRAs because they don't need the immediate tax deduction, but can benefit from the many years of tax-free growth. Conversely, someone with a higher income, may benefit from the use the current tax deduction. Check with your accountant or tax advisor if you are unsure.
Yes, we encourage all accounts to have a beneficiary, both retirement and taxable brokerage accounts. You'll need the beneficiary's name, date of birth and social security number.
Yes, you can add as many beneficiaries as you like. You will simply assign a percentage to each beneficiary.
Your account is rebalanced every three months to take advantage of market fluctuations. Twice a year, the ALIGN universe of stocks is updated. So, in January and July, in addition to rebalancing your account, it is also reconstituted with new companies, while removing others. This strategy allows your portfolio to remain fresh.
Yes, you will be able to open a joint account with your spouse.
Yes, you will be able to withdraw money out of your account and we do not charge a fee. Remember, however, that the platform has a $5,000 minimum and if you withdraw from a retirement account, you may be subject to taxes and penalties.
No you cannot. 529 plans are very unique and the platform is not set up to accept these assets.
Yes you can transfer your SIMPLE or SEP business retirement account.
We believe that most companies have the opportunity to be sustainable. We look for sustainable products and services first. We also consider companies that have integrated sustainable and socially responsible practices throughout the organization. We exclude companies whose business is the extraction, processing or transportation of fossil fuels as well as utilities that primarily use fossil fuels to generate electricity or distribute natural gas.
We especially favor companies focused on:
- Alternative energy such as solar, wind or geothermal
- Energy efficiency
- Water distribution, filtration and efficiency technologies
- Green transportation
- Natural and organic products and services
- Sustainable real estate
- Information technology, big data and internet of things
- Green finance, insurance and community investments
- Recycling and circular economy
- Scientific instruments
- Green building technology
- Cutting edge biotechnology
However, in order to create a diversified portfolio, you will see other sectors included that we have screened.
Fossil fuel companies are in the business of making money by exploiting their fossil fuel assets. As environmentalist Bill McKibben said, “We are not the radicals. The radicals are the ones who are willing to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere in order to make more money.” Fossil fuel companies have shown that they are unwilling to compromise and have even led misinformation campaigns related to climate change.
But we don't divest just to make us feel good. A study by hedge fund GMO has shown that divesting from the energy sector may even improve your investment performance. We believe that a better solution is divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in companies offering sustainable solutions.
Our universe of stocks excludes all weapons and tobacco companies, so you'll never see them in your portfolio.
Absolutely! The basic tenets of socially responsible investing include eliminating weapons, tobacco and polluters. It also includes social justice and human rights, corporate governance and ethics, community involvement and product safety. We include all of these factors when we are creating our investment universe for stocks, plus we include ESG bonds to finance environmentally responsible projects.
Morningstar is an independent investment research company. They have teamed up with Sustainalytics, the leader in ESG research, to create sustainability scores for investment portfolios. Those scores range from one globe (not sustainable) to five globes (best in class sustainability). For more information on their scoring methodology, read their information sheet.
1. Earth Equity has been helping clients align their investments with their values for nearly 20 years. We have the experience to build a truly sustainable portfolio for you that matches your values and risk tolerance.
2. We are a fiduciary. Because we are a Registered Investment Advisor we are required to act in your best interest unlike broker dealers or solutions that only offer proprietary ETFs and mutual funds.
3. We invest in individual stocks instead of ETFs or mutual funds, giving you the opportunity actually take direct ownership in the companies that are making a difference in the world.
We charge 0.75% per year on your invested balance which covers investment management and all trading costs. There are not additional transaction fees. The bond funds that your portfolio invests in charge fund fees that, in total, range from 0.06% to 0.20%.
You will be charged quarterly, and the fees will automatically be withdrawn from your account. We believe strongly in transparency, so you'll see all of your fees on your statement.
Contact Folio customer service at 1-888-485-3456 or email the support team.
Contact the Earth Equity Advisors investment team here.
Your retirement account is not taxable unless you are withdrawing money from a traditional IRA. That is one of the main advantages of IRAs is that they allow your investments to grow tax free or tax deferred until you reach retirement age. If you are younger than 59 ½, you may be subject to early withdrawal penalties of 10%. Check with your tax professional for more information.
January 31st is the date that your tax documents are required to be distributed. However occasionally, some documents will need to be amended and you will receive revisions from the originals.