Socially responsible investing is not exclusive domain of millennials

Millennials have a certain reputation for being the most interested in investments that also do good for the world.

But sustainable investing is really of interest to all investors across all age groups, according to new research from Morningstar.

The investment research firm found that a majority of the U.S. population — 72% — is interested in investing in environmental, social and governance funds.

Morningstar also found that millennials and Generation X were “statistically equivalent” when their level of interest in sustainable investing was scored.

Meanwhile, millennials had a “slightly stronger preference” for these investments compared to baby boomers.

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The research also debunked another common misconception: That women are more interested than men in putting their money in investments that also do good.

Women did show a slightly stronger preference for sustainable investments, the research found. But the difference between the weighted averages of the scores assigned to the genders was small.

“A lot of people care about sustainability,” said Ryan Murphy, head of decision sciences at Morningstar Investment Management and a co-author of the research. “This is not just a fringe preference.

“The idea that this is of interest to a subgroup doesn’t really hold.”

Part of the misconceptions that women and millennials are most interested in sustainable investing comes from the way the research is conducted, according to Morningstar.

Most surveys typically ask investors to show their interest in these investments in a certain way, for example by rating them from one to five. In this format, respondents may be more tempted to answer in a way that reflects what they think others want to hear.

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