“It’s Not About the Money” Brent Kessel & Yoga Teacher, Meredith Medland Sasseen
Living Green
Meredith Medland Sasseen

Episode 13 - “It’s Not About the Money” Brent Kessel & Yoga Teacher, Meredith Medland Sasseen

Brent Kessel, a financial soul retriever, defines Eight Financial Archetypes. Learn how your relationship to money is a key component of your inner ecology. Listen in to a healthy debate about the barters, trades and lack of money exchanges in the green movement. Brent offers solutions for eco-entrapratuers and ambassors of the growing green for an increase in financial resources for those pursing their wildest dreams.



Money and the Eco-Archetypes: “Living Green” – A How To Story

Announcer:  This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com


This is Part 1 of a two part program.

Meredith Medland: My name is Meredith Medland, and you are listening to Living Green. You are going to be excited to hear a two part episode. So this is Part 1 of two parts, and we are about to hear from Brent Kessel. From a very young age, Brent Kessel was fascinated with money, yet he knew that there was more to life. So he studied economics, psychology, meditation, and ashtanga yogi, but wanted to provide holistic financial advice. Since 1989, Brent has counseled multi-millionaires, as well as people of modest means, to create a balanced and more fulfilling relationship to their wealth.

In Part 1, we are going to learn about the eight financial archetypes. We are going to learn about what it means to be living green financially, and you are going to hear lots of really cool ways that you can impact your financial success through these exercises that are related to living green.

So I hope you enjoy this Part 1. We will go right into it. Then, stay tuned for Part 2. You also notice that there is a PDF file attached to this podcast. There are three exercises that Brent put together that I thought would be really valuable for you.

So, thank you so much for listening to Living Green, and here we go – right into Part 1.

Brent Kessel: Many, many times, there is actually a strong aversion to money. There has been some injury or pain created around money, usually early in life, sometimes adolescence, that has made money synonymous with pain.

To me, money is completely neutral. It has no characteristics unto itself. All it is, is a social agreement. And, if you were the only human being in the world, money is irrelevant. It doesn't exist. It is only a means of exchange, a means of communication. So all the stuff we put on it, is we have to put that stuff on ourselves, and on humanity as a whole. It has got nothing to do with money itself.

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Meredith Medland: Brent, welcome to the show.

Brent Kessel: Thanks, Meredith, it's good to be with you.

Meredith Medland: Alright. So I would love to learn about these eight archetypes.

Brent Kessel: You know, I really, I wasn't intending to create archetypes when I set out to write this book for Harper Collins. But it just became clear to me as I started to writing the stories down, of my clients, myself, my workshop participants, that people tended to group in these kind of universal clusters of behavior with money, and I thought that we really could learn so much from, not only the others in our own archetype, but also those in opposite archetypes. First, the ones that are in our own archetype, just because, you know, we can really see and feel that we are not alone.

I mean, that's one of the biggest tragedies of money in the western world today, and in America especially, is this private thing, It is so linked to survival, that people feel very ashamed to admit that what they don't know. And I think, you know, I am in a sort of privileged position that I get to see the inner workings of many, many hundreds of people's relationships to money. And honestly, I have got clients that are hundreds of thousands in debt, and I have got clients with hundreds of millions of dollars of positive net worth. And the inner experience is much more similar than different.

So I created these archetypes. And I will just kind of go through them one by one, and give you just a very short sort of snapshot of what each one does. And before I do that, I just want to say that, you know, this isn't meant as some kind of typing system, or to make anybody feel wrong or labeled or incomplete. I tend to focus on what is imbalanced about each of the archetypes, primarily because then it helps us recognize that in ourselves, and see how it might create more balance, and what is it that isn't working in our relationship to money. But every archetype has a gift as well as a pitfall, as we will see. I can come back to this at the end of the listing, and talk about what the gifts are a little bit.

Meredith Medland: That sounds really good. Just so everyone knows, Brent's book is coming out in January of 2008, with Harper Collins. It's called "It's Not About the Money." And here we go. Let's hear about these archetypes.

Brent Kessel: Right. So the first one is what I call, the guardian. The guardian really is prudent, but is also often quite anxious, concerned about money. And this can be whether they have plenty of money or not plenty of money. The hallmark of the guardian is just excessive worry and anxiety about money. And it can manifest as, you know, staying up till 2 - 3 in the morning, worrying. It can manifest as seeing a stack of bills, and the adrenaline rush through the body, and sort of the heartbeat picking up the pace. But it's really, you know, it's just, money has become somewhat synonymous with anxiety and worry. So, that's what I call the guardian.

Meredith Medland: Now is there a way that you can characterize people, or types of people, that you've seen, in the green space, in any of these? Can you add any new stories for us?

Brent Kessel: That's a great invitation. I think -- there certainly will be a couple of archetypes that many more people in the green space will fall into. But there is a guardian version of the green social activist, which is the person that is extremely anxious, on a physiological, emotional level about global warming, about, you know, whatever environmental issues are most concerning to them. And so, you know, at its most imbalanced state, this becomes a form of handicap, a liability almost, that there is so much resentment, or so much contraction, or so much just paralysis, that they actually can't be a very effective activist.

Meredith Medland: So I see this -- actually I was at the Lohas 11, that was in southern California here, and one of the things that I noticed was, there were activists who were having upset about some of the people who were making more money and using their brand in the green space. So that would be an example of what you are speaking about, right?

Brent Kessel: Yes, that's, I mean, that's a classic green space, you know, or you could call it hippie, or you could call it lohas in response to money. I guess I will jump ahead, just a little, in a different order than what I usually do. But that archetype is what I call a idealist. And so the idealist is someone who prioritizes, either spiritual growth, or creative pursuits, or social activism above making money. Many, many times there is actually a strong aversion to money. There has been some injury or pain created around money, usually early in life, sometimes adolescence, that has made money synonymous with pain, with what you don't want to deal with. It might just be, you know, lack. You know, my family didn't have as much money as the neighbors, or the other kids at school. I had this shame about the clothes I wore, or the car we drove. Or, it might be a very real lack, we couldn't afford to buy groceries, and actually went hungry, you know, for maximum of my childhood, and it's unfair. What I was told is that it was because the rich have as much as they do, or it's because of corporate greed, or it's because of this or that. And it would be so much more fair to have, you know, a more equitable playing field. Or, you know, people's values are just screwed up. And that's why I have this pain.

Meredith Medland: So at the end of your listing of the eight archetypes, I am going to come back to this one, and ask you about that. Because I feel that if we have some ideas on how to heal, or mend, or move through these archetypes, that there will be a lot of progress made, in the movement.

Brent Kessel: I think so too, and I look forward to coming back. I mean, that's what I do in the book, is there's 35 exercises that people can actually do for themselves on their own financial lives, and emotional lives. And so, in the idealist chapter, you know, there is a handful of exercises, that one can actually sit down and do, some journaling, some gothic meditations.

Meredith Medland: Excellent. Can you share one right now?

Brent Kessel: You know, I think the biggest one for the idealist, is looking inside to see if the aversion to money is really serving their cause. Idealists are often very inspiring, very visionary people, you know, and have been, throughout history, really, really important. Because when a society kind of gets too much on one track, you know, it tends - the track tends to die off. So to sort of have this dynamic debate, you know, and be constantly challenged by social critics, it requires these idealistic types of people.

But the problem is, you know the problem can be, if the idealism turns sort of bitter. And there is a negative, and there is an against response in the body. The real question is, is that against-ness serving your cause? Is it... Are you able to... I mean, you look at, you know the classic, everybody talks about what happened with the classic social activists, Mandela, and Gandhi, and Dalai Lama. Most people and I feel, that the hallmark, is that there isn't an against-ness. Gandhi wasn't against the British. He was for Indian rights. And it is like - it is a very different thing, on an energy level.

So with money, my contention will be - I have got clients who are incredibly socially active and have done some incredible things, you know, in micro-finance and you know, in environmental preservation, and they have done it because they haven't been against money. Or, I shouldn't say because, but a part of their effectiveness has been that they worked through that against-ness that they may have created for themselves in the sixties and seventies, and gotten to the point where they are comfortable having enough money, or more than enough money, and they have used that surplus to then advance their cause, whether the cause is green or painting great paintings.

So that's the guardian. Another archetype is called the pleasure-seeker. This is probably what green folks, you know, most despise, in America. It's Madison Avenue, it's shopping, it's retail therapy, it's "give-me-what's-gonna-make-me-feel-good-now". And you know, again I am speaking at the imbalance level. Pleasure-seeking is great. And there are many idealists and many guardians that can use more of it. And really just enjoying what life has to give us, you know, on a sensory level. And some of that takes money, some of it doesn't.

Meredith Medland: So we have got the guardian, the idealist, and then the pleasure-seeker, for our top three.

Brent Kessel: Those are the first three, and not in any particular order. This is kind of how we are going.

The saver is another one. So the saver is your classic millionaire next door. It's the person who is frugal. You know at the imbalance level, it is the misers. The person who has already got way more than they could ever need, and yet they are still counting pennies, and you know, being extremely frugal with family members, and often really wanting to impose their values on other people.

And in the green space, I will try and make a parallel here. I think these are, you know, the great conservationists. These are the people that are trying to figure out if they can live off the grid. These are the people that are trying to figure out how small an impact they can make on the resources of the planet. A saver is doing exactly the same thing, but only with money. And it is not driven from the same motivation. It is driven from a motivation, usually, of personal security. So again, there is often the survival fear with this archetype, and the way I am going to survive is by saving my money, having enough money, not over-spending.

Next I will go to the innocent. The innocent is not too dissimilar from the idealist. But there isn't often as much of an aversion to money, as there is with the idealist, and there isn't necessarily a creative, or social, or spiritual pursuit that is the primary driver. The innocent tends to just feel like, life will work out just fine, even if I don't pay much attention to money. So there is a certain faith component to innocents. There is often a naivete or an avoidance. It is sort of like, I don't really want to balance my check book, because I just don't want to know. You know, it does bring up pain when I see that there is a lack. It does, you know I just... I would rather just be doing whatever else it is in life that I like doing. So there is more of an avoidance than an aversion, and a certain faith that goes along with it, that it will just work out, even if I don't pay attention.

So again coming back to sort of the green or spiritual or hippie sort of population, these are the classic kinds of, “Have faith and God will provide.” You know, there is an abundance of stuff. And, you know, there is no reason why I should be in lack, other than what's between my own ears.

Meredith Medland: Now, let's talk about that for a minute before we go on to the archetypes. So I am familiar with a lot of languaging and 12-step programs, that puts whatever the program is about, food, sex, money, smoking marijuana, whatever it is, puts that higher of a value than money. So if you keep these things in order, the money will flow. That's what you just said. So I have seen that, witnessed there. I have seen people with really deep beliefs, whether they are down to their last pennies, knowing like, the universe will provide, and it usually does. But I wonder if maybe, would it would have provided even more abundantly, had they not made poor choices prior to that. So I have heard that.

The second thing that I wanted to comment on, when you were talking about the other archetypes, were the idea of safety, and that money equals safety, which I have personally learned isn't actually true. Or that's not my opinion, and I have heard many of my teachers and mentors share that with me as a complete illusion. So, let's take a look at those two ideas, as we go on to the other archetypes and see how they play out as well, please.

Brent Kessel: OK. Yeah. I will just say that with all of these, I think that money isn't complete safety, and yet it is a part of safety. So what you find is that a lot of idealists and innocents will say that money isn't safety, and that's part of the rationalization for - I don't need to deal with it, and I can avoid it. But, well the universe may provide for them the way it usually provides us. They take a job that they hate, or they become co-dependent with the spouse or, you know, a parent, or some other family member, or on the social, you know, system, the socio-economic system, welfare, or whatever. And, you know, that creates a tremendous amount of just sort of pain, usually.

Meredith Medland: So, just to make sure I know what you mean -- that might be someone saying, "Hey I am going to ride my bike, because riding my bike is green." But the reality is there is not a responsibility being taken around their car. So it becomes a, kind of like a -- what do you call the things on horses? A blinder. A blinder for what's really going on in their relationship to money, that's hidden through green values or morals.

Brent Kessel: Yeah, I would agree. To me money is completely neutral. It has no characteristics unto itself. All it is, is a social agreement. And, if you were the only human being in the world, money is irrelevant. It doesn't exist. It is only a means of exchange, and a means of communication. So all the stuff we put on it, is we have to put that stuff on ourselves, and on humanity as a whole. It has got nothing to do with money itself.

Money does tremendous good in the world, and does tremendous evil in the world. You know, and it's... So almost any thought we can have, or any belief we can believe about money is partially true. And that it's really valuable to recognize that. Because whatever stories you are telling yourself about money, tend to be believed wholeheartedly. This is what's true a 100%. Now I am sure you could say the same thing about, you know, environmental activism. I haven't looked at it as closely, but you know, there is partial truths in everything. And so finding, especially with money, the way in which what I am telling myself is not true is really important, but equally important is not then jump to the opposite truth. And say, Oh, OK, I have been telling myself money is safety. And now I have learned money isn't safety. So I am just going to lead a great, free, impulsive, spontaneous life. You are going to end up a pleasure-seeker. You know, one of the other archetypes, that's sort of out of money, and went like, Oh, God. That didn't work. Now I am back to being a saver.

Meredith Medland: So you are just telling me this is another one of the middle ground Buddha philosophies. So always the middle!

Brent Kessel: That's right. Chapter 11 of the book is called - The Middle Way With Money. You nailed it. So yeah, moving on, we go to the caretaker next. I think we have done five, guardian, pleasure-seeker, saver, idealist, and innocent.

The caretaker, in a way many people in the green movement, might probably amplify the caretaker's attributes. The caretaker really puts other's needs ahead of her own. And in my work it is really around money, so, it's either supporting charities with causes, with an imbalanced amount of money. So, giving so much away that you are actually hurting yourself. More often though, it is a child, an adult child living at home, it's a parent, it's a spouse. It's, it's actual caretaking behavior, enabling behavior. Just, you know, this person can't do without me, and so I am going to, you know, I am just going to do what I have to do. And sometimes there is truth in that. More often than not, there isn't. You know, there is some truth in it, but there is not as much truth, meaning in the person's dependency.

We think -- caretaker's tend to think -- this person would just be ruined if I didn't take care of them in this way. And, whatever fear we have about them, and about, you know, and whatever need we have to feel like the provider, doesn't let us test that belief out. Meaning, let's us try scaling back the support, 10-20% next month, and see what happens. See how resourceful this person can actually get. It's like, need is the mother of invention. If you don't allow there to be any need, you won't see what the inventiveness might be.

Meredith Medland: Oh, I got to tell our listeners that I am laughing right now. Because I have actually had that personal experience, where I went on my sort of, seven year spiritual journey out of the corporate world, and with climbing back, and my dad kind of cut off the fund, the borrowing funds, and said, you know, just figure it out from here. And boy!!! Was I motivated after that! I mean I was never, taking care of my dad, like with a trust fund or something, any extreme like that, but a thousand dollars here or there. And when that got cut off, boy, everything escalated, and I started having many more of my dreams. So I highly recommend that.

Brent Kessel: Yeah, that's great. And again, just a summary for listener's who might have real dependent people, you know, people who can't be resourceful for themselves. It is not to say that the right relationship is always a financially independent relationship. Again, money is this means of exchange and support. And there is plenty of relationships that should have a one-way financially flow. It is just figuring it out, am I imbalanced in this relationship or not? Am I giving this person as much opportunity to thrive as I can, you know, as they could take advantage of, or not. And if I am not, what's motivating that? You know, what is it about me, that either leads to be the provider, needs to not let them down, needs to not be seen by others in society a certain way. And really just questioning, you know, ourselves inside as what is motivating this particular behavior.

Meredith Medland: We are about to take a break, but when we come back from the break, we are going to talk about relationship to money as one of the key components of what it means to be Living Green. So you want to stay tuned for that. Before we go to the break, let's hear the rest of the archetypes.

Brent Kessel: Ah, just two more. The next one is the star. And the star is someone who seeks recognition or attention, through their use of money. Might be how they dress, might be the car they drive, might be wanting their name on a particular gift to a charitable cause. It's, you know, I want, I want the juice. I want the attention. I want people to see me a certain way. And for many in the green movement, it might be voluntary simplicity. I want to be seen as making almost no impact. I want to be seen as living on very little. I want to seen driving a Prius. I want to be seen in particular ways.

Again nothing wrong with any of that. It is just understanding and knowing how we are using money in certain ways. So that we get a sense of choice about it, and don't have this feeling. I mean, so many people have just sort of been shamed from a young age, that, you know, this is the right way with money, that's the wrong way with money. We believe that we are really, really caught, you know in a particular archetype, and a particular relationship to it. And we are not, you know, if you are willing to looking inside.

So the last one is the empire builder. And the empire builder is the archetype who uses innovation and decisiveness and often workaholicism, to really create something of enduring value. I mean, you could say, Bono was an empire builder right now with the one campaign. Certainly, Oprah and, you know, many business people, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, were empire builders. Most empire builders are involved in business, you know, creating a business of enduring value. But, you know, I would say that land conservators are empire builders. You want to leave something better than you found it. And you are willing to sacrifice a lot of personal energy and, you know, of balance, often, which is what I am pointing people's attention to, is -- Are you loosing a balanced relationship to life and all the things that fulfill you in life in order to fulfill this dream of some legacy, and is it worth it.

Meredith Medland: Then you wouldn't say worth it. So all about balance and the middle way. These are very familiar concepts to me. So Brent tells me that one of the things that he knows, that everyone else may not know, is that almost everyone you see, whether they are wealthy, successful or homeless, has a similar level of mental noise about money, love, and how to create a better future for themselves, as well as everyone else.

So when we come back from the break, Brent, we are going to let you tell us about what it means to you to be living green and see if you can inspire all of us to be a little more financial in our green backs, and make that feel more imbalanced and walk that middle road.

Announcer: Listen to Living Dialogues, thought leaders in transforming ourselves and our global community. With Duncan Campbell, visionary conversationalist, bringing you the best in new paradigm thinking, on PersonalLifeMedia.com

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Meredith Medland: Welcome back to Living Green. My name is Meredith Medland, and I am here with Brent Kessel, and we are about to hear what it means to be living green financially and walking the middle way.

Brent Kessel: Thank you. It's good to be back. You know, I think for me, living green really involves having a sense of choice in our relationships to money and the world. But what I have seen is that so many people are stuck in a particular behavior pattern, for decade after decade. It doesn't even matter if they get a big windfall. I mean, there is a couple of statistics that might be interesting to just mention that 78% of NFL players are divorced, bankrupt, or unemployed within two years of their last game.

33% of lottery winners felt bankruptcy at some point after their winning. And I am not talking about $5,000 winners. These are like the big jackpot winners. And what that tells me is that -- you know, nothing against lottery winners, or NFL players -- but that people return to their relationship to money what they are unconsciously most comfortable with. Whatever they think unconsciously they are entitled to, you know, sort of that the nervous system is oriented to, is what they will manifest regardless of what changes in the outside world. Which is why, so much attention is put on abundance thinking, and, you know, changing the unconscious thoughts you tell yourself, in order to change your outer circumstance.

And I certainly agree with that. It is not... I don't think abundance is the right thing for everybody. So I don't - that's not my particular angle. I mean, many savers, and empire builders need less abundance, and need more joy in their lives, and more caretaking, giving, compassionate generosity.

So, I mean, I think to me, just to -- I know we are talking about the archetypes. But to me, living green is about living in this very balanced way amongst all these archetypes. Because if you could do that -- I mean, who wouldn't want to be the person who, you know, has a sense of self-sufficiency like the saver, and the sense of compassion, generosity, like the caretaker, and the sense of innovation and, you know, vision like the empire builder, and, yeah, a sense of, kind of idealism and holistic view of the planet like the idealist and a sense of sensory enjoyment like the pleasure-seeker,

You know, none of these are bad, you know, just in and of themselves, They are only bad if we become over-believers or evangelists, you know, of their point of view to the exclusion of all the others. And, my feeling has been, and my experience in my own life has been, I have become a much more effective activist and philanthropist, the more balanced I have become amongst all these archetypes. And a more effective business person.

Meredith Medland: One of the things that I really loved is, in preparation for an interview, I did a lending loan with kiva.org that's k-i-v-a.org, and I am sure many of our listeners have heard of Kiva. What it did for me is, it put my relationship to money and the things that I have, and what I am up to, in great context; to be able to sponsor a woman who is in Mexico just trying to buy fruits and vegetables for her grocery stand made some of my, the things that I think about, money, and preparing for this interview a bit, well, very ridiculous in the grand scheme of things.

So can you talk a little bit about Kiva and some of the other opportunities that are available and touch a bit on green investing.

Brent Kessel: Yeah, I would love to. I mean, obviously, that's what I am passionate about and spent my career doing. But first I just want to say to your point that so many of us will do that, will sort of see the ridiculousness of the American problems, if you will. Oh God, I can't afford the glass I really want. Or I can't, you know, I can't get into the $25,000 car, so I am going to buy the $22,000 car.

And what I just want to caution you about is, it is not for yourself and your listeners, is again, we tend to be very punitive around money, There very kind of strong, should voice, super-ego parental authority voice in our heads about money. And, God, I can't believe you are whining like this again. Look at the problems that other people in the world have. And, you know, you are essentially complaining about something that is not worthy of complaint. This is kind of the tone that, you know, authority.

And I just want to say that, my experience has been that when we approach ourselves that way, it is hopeless. It is what we have essentially done is said to our inner four-year old child, you are not entitled to your feelings. You are not... It's throwing a tantrum. At one level, it's throwing a tantrum all the time. And how do I get more of what I want. How can I avoid pain? You are saying, you know, essentially, be quiet. You don't know what you are talking about. Everything that you have thought was right is wrong. And anyone who is a parent knows that, that just doesn't work with a four year old. It doesn't work with ourselves either.

So, I just want to first say that it is so important to have a tremendous amount of compassion, and a tremendous amount of, you know, stepping carefully as we start to navigate this inner territory. So, in your example, you deserve wonderful congratulations doing this, you know, for going to Kiva. Meeting this woman through this amazing venue, and supporting her the way you are supporting her. It is that kind of, sort of positive focus on doing something constructive that begins to breakdown the unconsciousness that is inherent in all these archetypes.

Meredith Medland: Thanks for saying that. And one of the things that I have been listening to, a podcast, an NOP podcast on money which has been fantastic. And the focus is all about, when you are in the transaction of money, to make sure that the energy you give to that money, much like you would a prayer before a meal or a relationship to food or tantric sex, or whatever it is, that there is also an acknowledgment of offering in the transaction that is occurring, so that that energy moves forward.

Brent Kessel: Yeah, sounds great. It is not my expertise. But again, I think money is just a store of all the human beings that touch it. And so this really leads into your question to me, which is how can you actually invest more greenly, and how can you, you know, use money in a way that really supports what you want to support.

And there is really two classic examples that I will give. One is on the investment side of things. We really like to invest in as broad and interconnected way as possible. So what that means to me is that... Coming back, every spiritual tradition in the world that I have studied, has at its core, the understanding that we are all one. That all of humanity and all of life really is an intricate interconnected expression of something. God, the divine, soul, just consciousness, the physicists, the most agnostic physicists in the world still can't define consciousness. And, you know, so what is this thing that makes us alive.

And, you know, most people, you know, most people who have practiced some form of spiritual practice, or seeking for some time, have had a direct personal experience of that being very interconnected with everyone else. And the word yoga literally means unite, or to yoke together. You know, that is what a physical yoga practice is, as well as a meditation practice.

So what do you do with your money to further that understanding. What we do is we build portfolios that invest in over 11,000 companies all over the world. So we are not trying to guess, is whether Microsoft is going to do better than Lotus, or, you know, who the next, sort of, great company is going to be. We are investing in every public company, essentially. So that they might be in Indonesia, or they might be in Arkansas. We don't really care, we are sort of agnostic, to reuse that word, with respect to where, you know, the company is. What we are not agnostic to is people that are actually harming other human beings or harming the environment, with our money. So we withhold our capital from tobacco companies, from environmental polluters. And we proactively put some more money into companies that have great workplace environments, or, you know, are going carbon neutral, doing things like that, really pro the environment.

Meredith Medland: Now how common is this? Are there tons of investment firms doing this? Is this easy? Are there a lot of green 401-K options now, or how unique is your offer?

Brent Kessel: It's -- how to say it? It's not that common. I mean, the typical 401-K does not have a green option in it. And a typical investment portfolio doesn't have a green option in it. That's not to say that socially responsible, or what we call sustainable investment choices, aren't out there. There are plenty. I mean, there is probably about a thousand mutual funds out there that you can choose from. We think that our offering is quite unique, because most of the offerings that are out there, have a couple of problems with them. And it's kind of be on the scope of with this, you know, the topic we are covering today.

But they just tend to be too expensive. They tend to be too focused on one particular class of stocks, like the large US companies, for example. And they tend to rely on a manager who is just picking stocks, rather than spreading it out all over the world, essentially like we do. For those who might know, our way is called indexing or passive investing. The typical way -- when I say typical, I mean probably 99% of the funds you will find out there, especially in the social, or green side -- is where a stock picker is picking stocks. And they call that active investing, as opposed to passive, or indexing. Why we think we are unique is that we are indexing the green space. And there are a couple of other index funds out there. And we are just trying to sort of take it to the next level, doing it globally, doing it with all kinds of stocks, small stocks, value stocks, and etc, and etc.

Meredith Medland: How long have you been creating investing around green and sustainable companies?

Brent Kessel: The green sustainable part started about four years ago. We actually started our company. Kubera Portfolios, specifically to help people with much lower levels of assets than can usually get personal portfolio management, So now, it goes all the way down to 75,000. So we started that about three years ago, a little over three years ago. And our three year performance has really, it's been very gratifying, because it has proved what we thought, that you can actually implement your social values and have better financial returns than investors who aren't implementing social values.

Used to be the conventional wisdom, was you got to give something up financially to invest green. And it was true of most of the options. And it is still true of many of the options. But these three year period, we have had 47% returns of Kubera in our stock portfolio, our green stock portfolio, versus the average green mutual fund of about 31%. And the SEP 500, the largest 500 companies here, also run 31%. So, you know, three years is not a particularly long time in investing circles. But we have studied seven years of data to create this portfolio, and we think that it's going to continue to outperform

Meredith Medland: And this is great. I mean, listeners, you can go to the episode page, which is at PersonalLifeMedia.com. You can click on the left hand rail on Living Green, and you will see Brent's episode page and there is a whole bunch of links that he put together, which will help you get to his website, some of the other websites, and touch on some of the things that we are speaking about, as well as bio's. So you can get in touch with Brent, if you need to.

Thanks again for listening to Living Green. You can find Episode 2 next week, with Brent Kessel. Remember this was Episode 1 of a two part series. He is going to be talking to me next week about what it means to be living green financially, and we are going to review two specific case studies on eco-entrepreneurs who are trying to bring their idea into the world.

Thanks again for tuning in. You can always find out more at PersonalLifeMedia.com. Check out my blog, go ahead and make some comments or pop me an email, and I would love to be in correspondence with you. Thanks again for listening to Living Green.

Announcer: This concludes Part 1. The interview will be continued in the next episode of this show.


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