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.

General

When should I contact Folio Client Support and when should I contact Earth Equity?

Contact Folio Client Support if you are having trouble opening an account, setting up a bank link, transferring money, statements and other technical issues.
Contact Earth Equity when you have questions about sustainable, responsible and impact investing.

Is my account safe?

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.

Which browser should I use?

We recommend Google Chrome or Firefox browsers. Safari for Mac has some compatability issues.

Will I receive account statements? Can I get paperless delivery?

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.

Can my portfolio be self-directed?

Align is not set up to be self-directed. Once you go through the process of determining your risk and values priorities, our portfolio engine will automatically create your portfolio for you.

Can I speak with someone about financial planning?

Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL is designed to simplify sustainable and responsible investing, but does not include financial planning. For clients over $250,000, Earth Equity Advisors offers comprehensive financial planning for a fee.

How do I get started? (Video)

This short video will walk you through the process of creating an investment goal and entering your investment preferences.

How do I open an account? (Video)

This short video will walk you through the process of opening an account.

Money & Accounts

How do I move cash to Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL? (Video)

You can safely link your bank account to Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL to make a one-time deposit or recurring automatic deposits. This can be accomplished once you have opened your account and have logged in. Select the Transfers tab at the top of the page and follow the instructions. In a few days, there will be a small deposit/withdrawal - once you confirm these amounts you can transfer funds into the account. If you have problems setting up your bank link, contact Folio customer service at 1-888-485-3456 or email the support team

Can I transfer my current investment account?

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 support@folioinstitutional.com. 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

Can I transfer my old 401(k) or 403(b) to Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL?

Yes, you can transfer your old 401(k) or 403(b) to Earth Equity 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 Earth Equity Align.

Can I transfer my current 401(k) or 403(b) to Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL?

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.

When will I be able to sign up for Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL?

Very Soon! As of July 1st, we are in beta testing with our team and beginning the beta testing to select clients. Shortly thereafter, we will open up the platform to the public with the target of August, 2020.

What is a Taxable Brokerage Account?

A taxable brokerage account is a standard investment account. Money deposited into these accounts can then be used to buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other securities. Unlike an IRA, earnings from dividends and capital gains are taxed immediately.

What is an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)?

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)

What is a Traditional IRA?

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.

What is a Roth IRA?

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!

What's better for me, a Traditional IRA or a Roth 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.

Can I add a beneficiary to my account?

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.

Can I add more than one beneficiary to my account?

Yes, you can add as many beneficiaries as you like. You will simply assign a percentage to each beneficiary.

How often is my account rebalanced?

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.

Can my spouse and I open an account together?

Yes, you will be able to open a joint account with your spouse.

Can I withdraw money out of my Align account and is there a fee to do so?

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.

Can I transfer my child's 529 College Savings account to Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL?

No you cannot. 529 plans are very unique and the platform is not set up to accept these assets.

Can I transfer my SIMPLE or SEP IRA to Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL?

Yes you can transfer your SIMPLE or SEP business retirement account.

Sustainable Investing

What types of companies do you consider to be sustainable?

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.

Why divest from fossil fuels instead of engagement?

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.” Those are the fossil fuel companies and they have shown over the decades that they are unwilling to compromise and have even let misinformation campaigns related to climate change.

In addition, 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.

What about weapons, tobacco, animal welfare, GMOs, cannabis, etc?

Our universe of stocks excludes all weapons and tobacco companies, so you'll never see them in your portfolio. In terms of animal welfare and GMOs, you have the option to exclude biotech and pharmaceuticals as well as agricultural GMOs. You also have the option to include cannabis companies.

Is my account considered socially responsible?

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 green bonds to finance environmentally responsible projects.

What is the Morningstar Sustainability Rating?

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.

Why choose Earth Equity Align instead of another digital investing solution?

1. Earth Equity Advisors has been helping clients align their investments with their values for sixteen 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.

Fees

How much does it cost to invest with Earth Equity ALIGN DIGITAL?

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%.

How often will I pay fees and how do I pay them?

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.

Troubleshooting

I'm having trouble with my account. What do I do?

Contact Folio customer service at 1-888-485-3456 or email the support team.

I have a question about my investments. Who do I contact?

Contact the Earth Equity Advisors investment team here.

Taxes

Is my retirement account taxable?

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.

When will I receive my tax documents for my taxable brokerage account?

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.

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