For some, a highlight of the holiday season isn’t just the eggnog, family and friend get-togethers or a holiday market … it’s year-end bonus time! The time when you can take a moment to recognize the long days (and maybe nights) you have put into your work this year and get a boost to your bank account to say thanks.

Financial planners say that extra money can be used in all sorts of useful ways, but only if workers treat the money like they would a paycheck.

"I'd advise people to treat their bonus like it's their 13th-month pay check and not found money. Use it wisely and think about paying down any debt you may have as well as saving or investing for the future. That being said, I don't have a problem with people spending 25% of the amount on themselves. If you're lucky enough to earn a bonus, enjoy it!" says Barry Choi, a Toronto-based personal finance expert.

For Tori Woodward, 30, a Senior Manager of Retail Leasing for Oxford Properties Group in Toronto, the smart solution this year was an investment in clean energy.

 

Improve your carbon footprint and earn up to 5% interest

“I chose to put my 2017 bonus towards Green Bonds because I’m hoping to buy a home someday down the line and a 5% interest rate for the fixed income part of my portfolio is fantastic,” she explained. “It’s a good return and it’s something I can feel good about at the same time.”

Working in commercial real estate, Woodward says she is always looking to the future.

“The move towards sustainability is everywhere these days,” she explained. “With every project we assess, we’re looking for energy efficiency, so I’m actually familiar with the type of projects backing the Green Bonds and how much financial sense they make. This is where the world is going and it doesn’t just apply to my work - it applies to my everyday life too and it just makes sense that it would also apply to where I invest my money.”

While the majority of her investments were set up years ago and are housed in RRSP’s and TFSA’s through her bank, Woodward felt like the new money she’d earned through her holiday bonus was different somehow, and she wanted to spend it in a way that felt true to her - both on travel and as an investment in a greener future.

CoPower Green Bonds are an investment in a diversified portfolio of loans to clean energy and energy efficiency projects, which currently include geothermal, and LED retrofit projects. Every project is already operational and generating steady revenues - revenues that are used to pay investors like Woodward.

 

Making an investment decision that’s empowered and connected to your values

“Most investments I’ve made in the past have felt pretty impersonal,” explains Woodward. “This mutual fund or that mutual fund, beyond considering financial performance it’s hard to care. Part of what I loved about investing in Green Bonds was that it was a personal decision and something I was genuinely excited about.”

“Unlike my previous experiences investing in a mutual fund through my bank, it was really easy to have an open conversation about what the money would be funding, and I was able to ask all the questions I had without fear of feeling stupid.”

Woodward, like many of her generation whose financial strategy was mostly guided by advice from a financial planner at a large national bank, says she doesn’t feel like she has a good understanding of where her money actually goes, and appreciates the growing pool of opportunities becoming available to divest from companies whose practices don’t align with her values.

“Sometimes it feels like a broker at a bank just wants to get you out of their office, and it doesn’t feel easy to ask questions about the projects or companies that their funds invest in. The process of investing in Green Bonds allowed me to feel so much more educated about where the money is going and I’m so happy that in addition to providing a good return, it’s also doing something positive for the world.”

 

--

Editor's note: Tori invested in CoPower's second issuance of Green Bonds (Green Bond II) in 2017. Our third issuance (Green Bond III) is now available for investment.

The client testimonial that appears on this page was solicited by CoPower and may not be representative of the views of other investors or potential investors in CoPower Green Bonds.  Please consult the CoPower Green Bond Offering Memorandum for all material information in respect of CoPower Finance Inc., CoPower Green Bonds and the terms of the offering.