July 14, 2022

Are My Retirement Savings Invested in Fossil Fuels?? Help!

by How to Save a Planet

Background show artwork for How to Save a Planet

Look inside your retirement savings and you may find some surprises: oil and gas companies, pipeline operators, utilities with coal-fired power plants. It can feel like no matter what you’re doing to combat climate change in your daily life, your money is working against you. So how do you invest without wrecking the planet? Is there such a thing as green investing? And why isn’t this easier to figure out? This week we ask: What does it mean to try to put your money where your values are?

Calls to Action

  • First, if you do have a retirement account — find out what you’re invested in! You can go to FossilFreeFunds.org and plug in the names of the funds in your portfolio. They’ll give you a breakdown of the fossil fuel exposure you have right now. 

  • Then: Demand better! If you want to go fossil fuel free and you have a retirement account at work that doesn’t offer good options, tell your HR department that you want climate-friendly or fossil fuel free funds added to your retirement plan. The shareholder advocacy group As You Sow put together a 401(k) Toolkit with advice for getting fossil fuel free options added to your retirement plan, and Green Century also created a handy guide. 

  • You can do the same if you have an individual retirement account. Tell your asset manager you want high-quality fossil fuel free investing options. The more they hear from their customers, the more seriously they take these things!

If you take an action we recommend in one of our episodes, do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear how it went. Record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us via our Listener Mail Form.  We might use it in an upcoming episode. You can find all the actions we’ve recommended on our show here!

This episode of How to Save a Planet was produced by Rachel Waldholz. The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Kendra Pierre-Louis, Anna Ladd, and Daniel Ackerman. Our supervising producer is Matt Shilts. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Our intern is Janae Morris. Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music from Emma Munger and Peter Leonard. Our fact checker for this episode was Claudia Geib. 

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