When it comes to opening up about her struggles and personal journey, there are no taboo subjects for Willow Smith, one half of innovative rock duo The Anxiety alongside bandmate and collaborator Tyler Cole. In March this year, the 19-year-old spent 24 hours inside a glass box as part of a silent performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles—shaving her head in the process—to raise further awareness about anxiety. And her determination to use her platform to speak up about life’s most urgent issues doesn’t stop there.

This year alone saw Smith join forces with environmental justice platform EcoResolution, push for active change during the Black Lives Matter movement, and co-create an album about mental health during quarantine, all while continuing to spark creativity as part of fashion collective MSFTSrep alongside her brother, Jaden, with its psychedelic designs. You will also have probably spotted her with actors Rami Malek and Maisie Williams, as well as musicians Troye Sivan and Jackson Wang as the faces of Cartier’s relaunched Pasha watch.

Here, in a personal essay for Vogue, Smith discusses how she’s managed to adopt a new self-care routine in the middle of a turbulent year, and dives into the contradictory relationship with social media we need to collectively unpack.

“When you’re forced to be with your thoughts, be by yourself, it can be scary and uncomfortable. I feel that every day. But I also feel the need to ask myself, ‘Why am I so uncomfortable?’ ‘Where are these thoughts coming from?’ ‘Why can’t I just sit by myself and feel at peace and at home?’ It’s been about digging into those questions in a way that we wouldn’t get to do, if it weren’t for the time we’ve had to reflect this year. If we’re given

In our previous article, we focused on how the world’s poorer citizens are most vulnerable to the globe’s most dangerous crises: COVID-19 and climate change. The people at most risk of contracting COVID-19 – low-income individuals, women, workers dependent on working in the informal economy, and racial and ethnic minorities – are also the same citizens that are most at risk due to the climate crisis. Reaching true social equity will require a focus on both addressing climate risks and ensuring some level of finance is available to all.

Social equity requires a focus on long-term recovery

The past several months of the COVID-19 pandemic can tell us a lot about how to address climate risks, and importantly how to do so in ways that can achieve social equity.  A strong post-COVID-19 recovery could be a unique policy and investment opportunity to address both climate resilience and equity issues by squarely incentivizing, or even mandating, the financial sector to fill what has otherwise been a gap in financing in order to create resilience for the most vulnerable.

Many policy makers are thinking through practical ways to action this right now. For example, a recent OECD report on Green COVID Recovery recommends “integrating environmental sustainability and socioeconomic equity” in policy packages – by, for example, lowering labor taxes concomitantly with raising taxes on pollution – in order to build long-term resilience, boost the prospects for social equity, and mitigate the regressive effects of environmental policies.

In addition, the IMF has been supporting this idea by promoting a “smarter, greener and fairer” recovery. As the current IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, has stated, “We cannot turn back the COVID-19 clock, but we can invest in reducing emissions and adapting to new environmental conditions.”

However, how exactly sustainable and equitable

There are people, some of them financial advisors, who believe that you cannot make money through sustainability, social justice and ESG investing. (ESG stands for environmental, social and governance investing.) To be accurate, people don’t say you can’t make any money on these investments, just not as much money as you would if you didn’t factor in those considerations when picking your investments. Let’s put this to rest right out of the gate. John Hale of the renown MorningStar investment research firm has said that’s not true. And Morgan Stanley’s Sustainable Reality: Analyzing Risk and Returns of Sustainable Funds survey came to the same conclusion. It determined that the returns of sustainable funds were in line with comparable traditional funds by looking at the performance of nearly 11,000 mutual funds from 2004 to 2018. In fact, the report concluded that there were no statistically significant differences in total returns. An interesting kicker was that the sustainable funds may offer lower market risk. These funds experienced a 20% smaller downside deviation than traditional funds. If you’re like most investors, the downside is what you find scary, not the upside.

For this first article on socially responsible investing, we’ll look at two topics related to getting started: advisor selection and investment screening. We’ll also cover one benefit of ESG investing: risk mitigation.

Advisor selection

If you’d like to pursue (or even explore) socially responsible investing with an advisor, you’ll need a particular type of advisor. Margaret Towle’s “Environmental, Social and Governance Investing: Myths versus Reality” discusses the problem with advisor selection. Many advisors simply don’t believe good returns are possible from these types of investments. Therefore, they have not researched them. Some of them are with companies that don’t have agreements with a diverse number of mutual fund managers, resulting in

The potential for Zakat financing to fill funding gaps for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was the opening subject of a three-part webinar series co-organized by the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in partnership with Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority.

The first instalment of the HBKU-UNDP Webinar Series: Islamic Social Finance and SDGs showcased National Zakat Board Indonesia’s (BASNAZ) innovative application of Zakat funds for local SDG projects in underserved communities.
Consideration was also given to how the BAZNAS Zakat Model for development can be replicated and utilized within and beyond the Islamic world. In keeping with all HBKU events, proceedings concluded with opportunities for audience members to pitch questions and respond to observations made by the panelists.

Speaking after the webinar, Dr. Syed Nazim Ali, Director of CIS’ Research Division and its Centre of Islamic Economics and Finance (CIEF), said: “We are delighted and honored to be working with the UNDP on this webinar series. Doing so not only reflects HBKU’s determination to help fulfill the SDGs, but also CIS’ place at the forefront of global and intellectual debates on the applied nature of Islamic Studies. Innovative and resourceful use of Islamic social finance will be crucial over the years ahead, particularly when it comes to sustainability issues. We’re confident that this and our other webinars will provide an informed overview of what relevant types of Islamic social financing look like.

“We’d also like to acknowledge the support provided by the National Zakat Board Indonesia (BAZNAS) and the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). Their respective contributions to a stimulating and thought-provoking opening webinar was much appreciated.”

Although Social Security is one of the most important entitlement programs in America, it’s also one of the most widely misunderstood, with the majority of people lacking some fundamental knowledge about how it works.

And not only do millions have knowledge gaps about their retirement benefits, but unfortunately, many also believe things that simply aren’t true. That can be a big problem if you’re making retirement decisions based on incorrect information or misconceptions, such as these three common Social Security myths.

Sad older man sitting alone at table.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Social Security is going broke

Millions of Americans worry that Social Security benefits won’t be available to them by the time they hit retirement age, because they fear the benefits program is going broke. This is a misplaced fear, though, as Social Security cannot run out of money unless its source of revenue is changed (which isn’t likely to happen, even though President Trump has indicated he’s in support of modifying it).

Currently, Social Security gets the bulk of its income through payroll taxes. As long as people are working and the tax is being collected, the program will have money coming in. What could happen, though, is that Social Security’s trust fund might run out in 2035 and the program may only be able to pay benefits out of taxes being collected. This would necessitate a 24% cut to benefits if changes aren’t made — but retirees would still get most of what they were promised.

2. Social Security benefits will go up if you claim them early

Many seniors claim Social Security before their full retirement age (FRA) — which is between 66 and 67 — while operating under the erroneous belief they’ll get lower payments now but will see their benefits go up at FRA. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the