Ethical Investing 01: Introducing Swedish Trine

This post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way. I just want to share companies I find who may help us make more sustainable, ethical investing choices that benefit everyone, including our planet.

It can be very difficult for small, budding investors to find ethical ways to make their money grow. Index funds mostly take a big chunk out of a country (or the world’s) industry after all, and if they don’t exclude companies that deal in petroleum, guns or treating their employers poorly – well, you might be out of luck if that bothers you.

I am in no position to look down on others. I am investing in index funds myself. But I do try to look for ethical alternatives wherever I can find them. For me, that means about 1/3 of my tiny portfolio is currently in actively managed environmental funds. But there are some who would ask just how environmentally friendly those funds are.

Small, conscientious investors have power

Still. We do what we can. And I imagine buying environmental funds, even actively managed ones, will send a signal to those who manage funds that there are a market for them, and more and better ones will come if we show them it is a priority. Consumer power is a thing.

In this post, which I hope will eventually turn into a series, I hope to present ethical and environmental alternatives to investing for those of us who don’t have a million dollar portfolio to throw around (but if you do, feel free to be inspired…). Businesses I’ve found that, while they probably should not be your entire portfolio, could still be a part of a diverse investment strategy focusing on the triple bottom line (societal responsibility, environmental impact and economic value).

It feel redundant to say this but: I am a random blogger on the internet, not an investment adviser. As such, please do not blindly trust everything I say. As with any investment, you could loose all your money.

With that, let me present to you; Trine.

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Why We Will Not Retire Early – Language Matters

When you hear the term “financial independence” it is very often teamed up with “retire early” into the increasingly famous “FIRE” acronym. At least in this narrow part of the internet and personal finance blogosphere.

The retire early part of the deal was never a focus on this blog. We feel too energetic, too young, too full of potential of what we can give back to the world. To me, financial independence has become a symbol of when I can truly live life to the fullest on my own accord. That’s when I can begin living, unapologetically and without abandon.

I know the journey is a big part of the process. That it is important to live while on the way to financial independence. But to me, financial independence is the very idealized symbol of freedom. Why would I retire when I am finally free?

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10 Awesome Sustainable Frugal Bloggers To Follow

Are you looking for some inspiration on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but without sacrificing your frugal priorities? Look no further! Here are 10 fantastic blogs who bring you the best of both worlds.

Sustainability and frugality are a match made in heaven. If you consume less – you also have less of a carbon footprint! It’s a win-win all around. And don’t forget 12 sustainable swaps that can save you serious frugal bucks.

Below are 10 kick-ass blogs with a focus on living more kindly with our earth. In no particular order – be sure to give them some love!

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Why We Would Not Mind Paying A 70% Marginal Tax Rate

Why we don't mind a 70% marginal tax rate - and you shouldn't either

… If any suggestion of marginal tax rate applied to us. Presently, we’re not anywhere close to being high enough earners. But what if we were?

Let’s first explore what a marginal tax rate and tax rates in general. Norway and the rest of Scandinavia is commonly cited as a country with high taxes and high social welfare. Without going into details, taxes in the US have actually been higher than in Norway historically, for instance in the 50s, when Norway was incredibly busy rebuilding after WWII.

But let’s first explore what marginal tax rates are, and are not.

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4 Frugal Habits We Can Learn From People with Autism

It has been almost one year since I wrote about the advantages of autism on personal finance. That post turned out to be immensely popular, so I thought I would write another one, also focusing on the positive aspects of an autistic-inclined mind, rather than the negative ones.

I was diagnosed with autism as an adult. My more energetic older brother and my largely female-manifesting autism (watches people, emulates behaviour and speech patterns of others) meant that rather quiet and introverted me was able to pass in most instances during childhood. Even though I was considered eccentric, introverted and a book worm at best (and a snow queen in junior high, but that is another story).

If you are curious of some of the ways autism may manifest different in females, here are some resources:

With that aside, here are some awesome tips we can take from autistic people which can increase your own frugality.

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Fighting Burnout Without Going Broke

Hi, my name is Kristine and I burnout like a candle if I don’t get ample downtime on a regular basis. Preferably alone or with the few people I trust to relax properly around.

These are interesting times. Automation is taking over more and more tasks in the workforce. But instead of giving us more free time, people are working more, feeling the need to be available after working hours, on the weekend and even on holidays. It is something those still in the early stages of their career are especially prone to. We need to prove ourselves, and many bosses come to expect it. Or maybe you need to work two jobs to make ends meet, never really giving you the chance to destress and unwind.

And especially millennials are experiencing burnout like so many candles, at a rate we have never seen before.

It is such a toxic scene, we have even given birth to the wellness and self-care industry. An industry trying to tell us that we’ll feel better if we shell out hundreds of dollars to do yoga in this fancy studio, or that we absolutely need to get scented candles and fizzy bath bombs to enjoy that “spa feeling” in our own home.

Well baloney to that. I’m here to tell you how you can catch a breath in an otherwise hectic life, without going broke doing it.

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Why Getting A PhD Is A Terrible Idea If You Are On The Path To Financial Independence

Hello from impostor syndrome land!

I do not mention it a lot on this blog, but the 4 year contract I keep mentioning as my current job is actually as a PhD student within natural science. In Norway, you are considered an employee as a PhD student, and you get a very real paycheck. Mine represents almost $50 000 annually before taxes, which is a whole lot of money to someone from a working class background who is used to making ends meet with a lot less.

It could’ve been a great tool on the path to financial independence. After all I have a four year contract of promised paychecks and flexibility unheard of in many other jobs. But don’t be fooled.

While full and tenured professors might make a decent side-income from publishing books and, in some fields, patenting, those jobs are few and far between – and they take decades to get to. For those of us aiming to be pursuing nothing but our own projects and passions after 10-20 years in the workforce, you wouldn’t even get close.

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How Upsizing Increased Our Income

We have only been living two months in our new house, and we have so far only paid one mortgage payment.

We know the math says that owning your home, especially in the short term, is not the cheapest option, nor is it the best place to put your investing capital. In January, it cost us about $300 more to own our home compared to the old place we were renting, and that was including the $400 we’re paying in extra interest because the first payment waits a extra month to kick in.

This is not a “owning your house is cheaper!” post. We know we are going to incur significant electrician and plumber bills in the coming months to do some necessary upgrades.

Then again, it isn’t really about owning your home either, since the changes we speak about can happen whether you own or rent your home. The real thing is, what is your comfort zone in terms of  square meters/square footage of living area?

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Calculating Lean FI Numbers As An Entrepreneur

Traditional financial independence (FI) through saving and investing? Or the more work intensive but potentially quicker route of side hustling and building passive income streams?

Why not both!

Using myself as an example, I’ll show you how I think when I calculate how much we need to keep a roof over our head and food on our table. So-called lean FI.

Why lean FI? Because as someone who has always been starting projects of varying success, there is no way I will not create more income after I reach financial independence. Why overshoot by going all the way to traditional or fat FI? I will create more income, I just want to reach my first goal of not being dependent on an employer for my financial survival first.

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Why Do We Expect Everyone To Manage Working Full Time?

In the ideal world most people agree that it would be awesome if teachers had the time and resources to follow up every single student individually from a young age. To figure out how that particular child learns, and help them utilize it.

We accept that students fall on the high or low end of grades in certain classes, because they are not all going to get the same job, and we need all sorts, right?

And yet, after they graduate from school, however long that may be, we still expect most everyone to go on to get a “normal” 40 hour per week full time job. That is considered the normal thing to do. And if you’re part time, most people expect you to be looking for a full time position, or have other obligations such as children limit your time.

Why is that?

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