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Book Reviews

We review Low Fee Vegan Investing by Tom Novak, CFP

Book Review:
Low Fee Vegan Investing: Taking Veganism to the Next Level

Tom Nowak, CFP
review by John Beske

Like most vegans I know, I take a lot of care in choosing the foods I eat, the products I buy, and the companies that would like me to share my money with them. I want to help support and develop the vegan community and in the process help foster a healthier and more compassionate and sustainable world. The thing I often fail to consider, though, is that this fostering process involves a lot more than boycotting a circus or switching out meat in favor of tofu. What is needed is a whole new culture --
and a whole new economy -- based on vegan values.

This new economy, which is already quietly assembling itself all around us, starts with the aformentioned shopping choices, but it actually goes much deeper. Nearly all businesses and governments require investment to survive and grow, and in many ways those who invest have nearly as much say in the world's future as the groups with whom they are investing their money. So investment is a big deal and those who use their investments to help bring about positive change are key to making that change happen.

It's not always an easy path for the conscientious investor, though. A lot of what appear to be wonderful investments may actually be supporting animal cruelty and many of the investments that make a lot of money do so at the expense of much of what we vegans hold dear. Add to that the fact that the deck is stacked in favor of those with a lot of money, and it becomes daunting to figure out the places to put your money where it not be in conflict with your values while giving you a good rate of return.

Fortunately, there is a simple guide that can help you through this morass. Low Fee Vegan Investing by Tom Nowak, CFP is a slim volume that is deceptively packed with a lot of great information aimed at people who are new to investing. Tom Nowak uses simple language to explain things like custom-built mini-stock portfolios and divestment campaigns, and he walks us though the various aspects of a good investment portfolio, what it should include and how to get there without spending a lot of money on fees. There is a section detailing the typical things vegans are concerned about and what to look for in the companies we invest in. This leads into a section that introduces many of the most popular industries for investors and points out the various things vegans need to watch for (and watch out for) when investing in Information Technology, Energy, Health Care, etc. Other sections on Fixed Income Investments (like Municipal and Treasury Bonds) and Alternative Investments (like Solar Energy, Organic Farmland and even Human Capital) combine to offer a plethora of ways to make a positive difference with your money. There is even a generous question and answer section at the end.

I have not generally found the topic of finances to make for very engaging reading. In fact, in college I found my Economics text book to be the most valuable sleep aid I have ever known. Three paragraphs and I was out like a light. Low Fee Vegan Investing, however, easily held my attention and even taught me a lot of new things that I probably should have learned long ago. The best and more unique part of the book is the way it sees everything through a vegan lens. Nowak is a vegan himself, and is every bit as dedicated to bringing his vegan values into his craft as Marla and I here at Vegan Street are dedicated to bringing these values into our crafts of storytelling and design. When you're ready to put your money where your heart is,
Low Fee Vegan Investing is a great place to learn how to take that first step.

2013-2015, Vegan Street

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