Marco Island, Florida
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About Christian Stearns
Sustainability isn’t just a trend for Christian – it’s a lifelong interest. He had the great fortune to study under the famous ecologist and educator Dr. Bill Hammond as part of the “Monday Group,” while just in high school. He learned not only about the unique ecology of his Florida backyard, but also about how that understanding could be used to enhance the community.
After a career in the Air Force, Chris went back to his roots, doing research on sustainable communities for the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He specialized in projects that coordinated housing, environmental, and transportation policies to create more efficient, more livable communities.
Chris ultimately retired from his role at HUD, but his passion for public service never left him. So he took on a new challenge – gaining financial planning credentials to advise others on planning their own financial futures. Initially, he focused primarily on providing service to military and government personnel. Over time, he brought more of his own knowledge and experience with sustainability issues into his practice and opened it up to anyone with an interest in thinking about the future.
Christian’s experience has taught him important lessons that help define the way he advises clients:
Today’s success loses value quickly if it compromises your future.
The best long-term solutions build off the strengths of what came before.
Sustainability is mostly about striking a balance between the needs and concerns of those affected by your decision.
Profits, Planet and People
Chris’ long history at the intersection of sustainability and planning is an important asset as he works with clients. There is ample proof that sustainability has value, but experience gives him insight into where that value comes from and how it can be unlocked.
“Governments and companies both have lots of great ideas and plans on paper about sustainable practices,” he says. “But none of this is useful until there is action.” In guiding clients, Christian looks for investments that offer the right combination of profits, planet, and people:
Does the investment provide sufficient return to meet the client’s financial goals?
Does it look to reduce the risk of harm caused to its community and the wider environment?
Does it prioritize the needs of the people it relies on for success?
Even better, does it improve the environment, community and peoples’ lives?
Chris’ background has also shown him many examples of how long-term sustainable thinking benefits people financially. “When you’re investing, you’re not investing in the value of a company today, you’re investing in the value of the company in the future. So the key question for our clients is, what investments are the future? In our view, this approach is how you benefit not only yourself, but the wider world.”
Chris is a CFP professional and a fiduciary, focusing on clients who require retirement planning, family financial planning, and wealth management advice. He prefers to build lasting relationships with his clients, helping them develop and implement comprehensive financial plans based on their long-term goals and lifelong dreams. As a sustainability focused advisor, he has developed tools and data to help clients understand what they are investing in, how their investments align with their values, and what kind of wider impact their investments are having.
Chris provides comprehensive financial planning for clients throughout their financial and life journey. He believes in values-based financial planning designed to reach beyond your financial goals to your life goals and destiny.
Who I Am
Christian began his career in financial services after retiring from both the U.S. Air Force and the federal government. Given his extensive background with both the armed forces and federal government communities, Chris joined a financial planning firm who primarily served active duty, retired military and federal government employees and their families. Wanting to provide expanded services to his clientele, Chris earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™️ certification and joined Conte Wealth Advisors.
Chris resides in Cape Coral, Florida with his family and when not serving his clients, Chris enjoys boating and fishing with his family, auto racing and aviation. Chris also serves as a Liaison Officer for his alma mater – The United States Air Force Academy. He is president of the local chapter of the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE), the state Alzheimer’s chair, and a member of various veteran and service organizations.
What is Sustainable Investing?
Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and social. This is informally known as profits, planet, and people.
Sustainable Investing is a broad term for investment approaches that consider Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) as well as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. The Sustainable Investing category also includes measuring the Impact from the investments.
When you invest, you are buying into a business. Your investment shows support for the products and services that the business produces. Your investment also shows support for the manner in which that business is operated. Do you really know who you are in business with? Do their values match yours?
Many people ask if investing in Sustainable values with affect their profits. One analysis compiled various studies around sustainable investing and came up with some interesting results. 88% of studies found that companies adhering to Social or Environmental standards showed better operational performance. 80% of studies showed that adhering to Social or Environmental standards had a positive effect on the company’s stock price performance.
According to Morningstar, estimated flows into sustainable funds reached $13.5 billion through September 2019. This is a substantial increase from the $5.5 billion invested in all of 2018. That accounts for a growth rate of more than 150%. Would you like to be a part of this growth?