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VOL. 127 | NO. 238 | Thursday, December 06, 2012

Dana and Ray Brandon

Is Going Green Worth It?

By Ray and Dana Brandon

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Ray’s Take No matter what your position on global warming, going green and using fewer natural resources still makes sense. Why not preserve as much quality of the air, water, and earth as possible for our grandchildren? It’s another form of saving for the future. Plus, a lot of times it can save you money as well.

A Harris poll revealed that concern for the environment is actually on the decline from 43 percent in 2009 to a mere 34 percent. In classic Maslow Needs Hierarchy fashion, it seems that other concerns are more top-of-mind these days. However, whenever you make greener lifestyle choices, you’re not just having an impact on the world today – the positive repercussions extend indefinitely.

That’s why many public and commercial buildings are now being constructed with substantial investments in green technology. These investments are as much about reducing energy costs as they are about presenting a greener face. The initial cost may be a bit more expensive, but the savings will only grow as time passes and power rates increase.

The same thing can apply to your home. Storm windows, energy efficient appliances, insulation – things like these reduce your energy consumption and your utility bills. They are investments that pay back over time. It’s easy to balk at that upfront cost and there’s no guarantee that the savings will be worth the cost. But if you pay too much you may have wasted a little money. If you pay too little you may have wasted all of your money.

It doesn’t cost anything to get aggressive about recycling everything you can, either. It’s more sensible to reuse paper, metals, and plastics rather than create yet another eyesore landfill.

Of course, one of the biggest green things you can do is simply consume less. Skip that shopping trip and you’ll save substantial dollars beyond the gas. Re-use and refurbish rather than purchase new. This is not only good for the environment, it’s also great for your bottom line.

Dana’s Take “Waste not, want not” describes one form of environmental stewardship. We have antiques now because the generations before us didn’t shop at Target. They purchased pieces for fine craftsmanship and cared for them like family treasures.

In her blog, The Zero Waste Home, blogger Bea Johnson will blow your mind with how she and her family buy very little and live very well. They travel to France in the summer and she wears her husband’s dress shirt as a dress, pants, top, and beach cover-up. While her family’s lifestyle is extreme, it shows how to make better use of what we already have.

Take note of the purchases in your life that last decades. Which stores sell products that last and which don’t?

Sometimes doing the right thing for the environment takes a little work. As the song goes, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” but it’s certainly worth the effort.

Ray Brandon is a certified financial planner and CEO of Brandon Financial Planning (www.brandonplanning.com). His wife, Dana, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and is a licensed clinical social worker. Contact Ray Brandon at raybrandon@brandonplanning.com.

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