You can now use your retirement funds to invest in your favorite good cause. Here’s how

You can now use your retirement funds to invest in your favorite good cause. Here’s how

  • Funds
  • August 22, 2022
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In a stubbly field on a sunny morning, Erin Axelrod filled a feed pan with orange peels from her kitchen and spent grain from a nearby brewery. Maisie, a mama goat, munched placidly on the meal while Axelrod squeezed Maisie’s teat until a stream of milk trickled into a metal bucket.

Milking the goats housed at Wild & Radish eco-village in El Sobrante, five minutes from her home, is a weekly ritual for Axelrod, who uses the milk to make yogurt and cheese for herself.

It’s also a way that she stays hands on — in as literal a sense as possible — with her retirement investments.

She invested in Wild & Radish through her 401(k), an innovative twist on the traditional retirement fund that was set up by Lift Economy, a San Francisco consultancy where she’s a partner.

Most 401(k) plans provide only a limited menu of mutual funds and bonds as investment options. But the one created by Lift gives its five partners and employees “checkbook control” to invest their money in enterprises that resonate with them, while observing regulations that allow the money to be tax-deferred.

“I wanted my retirement savings to support local communities, food security and housing security,” Axelrod said. “I did not want my money anywhere near the stock market.”

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