Incorporating Impact Investing Into Your Retirement Planning

Are you interested in the responsible investing trend? Looking for a way to get a competitive return on your investment without compromising your values? Impact investing allows you to directly support environmental and social change. Keep reading to learn more about impact investing, how it compares to ESG investments, and whether or not it’s right for you.

Hands holding the world

What Is Impact Investing?

The concept of impact investing was introduced in 2007 by the Rockefeller Foundation and others. The goal is to marry financial return alongside a measurable social impact. This type of investing is growing rapidly, with estimates in 2022 reaching $1.164 trillion.


Impact investors put their money in funds that consist of businesses driving environmental and social change. This can be in both the emerging and developed markets. Impact investments typically support areas like sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, conservation, microfinance, housing, healthcare, and education.

Who Can Be An Impact Investor?

Impact investing can be pursued at both the individual and institutional levels. For example:


  • Fund Managers
  • Development finance institutions
  • Diversified financial institutions
  • Private foundations
  • Pension funds and insurance companies
  • Family Offices
  • Individual investors
  • NGOs
  • Religious institutions
  • Corporates

Money growing trees

How Does Impact Investing Differ From ESG Investing?

Some people use “ESG” and “impact investing” as interchangeable terms, but there are some important distinctions.

What is ESG Investing?


  • ESG stands for Environment, Social, and Governance.
  • ESG investors choose to invest in companies with a high ESG score because they want their investments to align with their values.
  • However, ESG-designated companies are not necessarily making a direct impact on environmental, social, or governance issues.
  • Instead, ESG investors are supporting companies that are committed to protecting the environment, doing good in the communities where they operate, and meeting high standards for management and corporate governance.

What is Impact Investing?

  • Impact investing means using your money to drive the changes you want to see in the world. Impact investors want to get a good return on their investment, but they also want to invest in businesses that are driving change.

Overall, you can think of the difference between impact and ESG investing as a question of how you want your investment funds to count. Do you want to support existing companies that operate in a way that matches your values? Or, do you want to help newer companies make a direct impact in the areas that you care about?

ESG is a framework that helps investors understand the choices an organization makes. Impact investing is a strategy that helps investors make a difference directly from their investments. Both ESG and impact investing seek a return on the investment.

One last distinction: While all impact investment funds are ESG-compliant, not all ESG funds are impact investments.

Four Tenets of Impact Investing

These four characteristics of impact investing define investors’ expectations for what impact investing means and what they can hope to get out of it.

  • Intentionality: Perhaps the primary characteristic of impact investing is the investor’s intention to make a positive social or environmental impact through their investment decisions.
  • Data-driven: Impact investing may have a lofty goal, but it should still be based on evidence and data, not instinct or hunches.
  • Performance-measured: Impact investment funds should measure the actual impact produced to ensure investors are getting the desired results.
  • Knowledge sharing: Impact investors should share their experiences, using a shared language, to help grow the industry and help others learn.

Trends In Impact Investing

Interested in becoming an impact investor? Here’s what to watch for in this space:


  • More focus on women-owned businesses
  • More focus on the climate crisis
  • Greater adoption of digital technologies to track and measure impact
  • Standardization in the industry to avoid “impact washing”
  • Collaboration between investors and NGOs
  • A shift from broad, diversified investments to more focused and singular themes
  • Partnership between Impact and EGS investments

Man investing smart

Is Impact Investing a Good Fit For You?

As with many other questions around money and investing, the answer here will depend on your personal situation, values, and long-term goals. There are a variety of impact investments to choose from, but you should always do your research first and ask questions. Be realistic about the return you can expect on your impact investment. All investments carry risk, so make sure your choice of investment matches your risk tolerance (high, medium, or low). Finally, remember that you can also volunteer your time or make charitable donations to your favorite causes if you decide not to pursue impact investing.

Talk to our Infinex Financial Advisors for personalized advice!

If you have questions about impact investing, want to know which investments will best support your goals, or just need help developing an investment plan, F&M Financial Services is here for you. Schedule an appointment with an Infinex Financial Advisor with F&M Financial Services at any of our locations today!


Six Keys to More Successful Investing

A successful investor maximizes gain and minimizes loss. Though there can be no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful, and all investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, here are six basic principles that may help you invest more successfully.

Long-term compounding can help your nest egg grow

It’s the “rolling snowball” effect. Put simply, compounding pays you earnings on your reinvested earnings. The longer you leave your money at work for you, the more exciting the numbers get. For example, imagine an investment of $10,000 at an annual rate of return of 8 percent. In 20 years, assuming no withdrawals, your $10,000 investment would grow to $46,610. In 25 years, it would grow to $68,485, a 47 percent gain over the 20-year figure. After 30 years, your account would total $100,627. (Of course, this is a hypothetical example that does not reflect the performance of any specific investment.)

This simple example also assumes that no taxes are paid along the way, so all money stays invested. That would be the case in a tax-deferred individual retirement account or qualified retirement plan. The compounded earnings of deferred tax dollars are the main reason experts recommend fully funding all tax-advantaged retirement accounts and plans available to you.

While you should review your portfolio on a regular basis, the point is that money left alone in an investment offers the potential of a significant return over time. With time on your side, you don’t have to go for investment “home runs” to be successful.


Endure short-term pain for long-term gain

Riding out market volatility sounds simple, doesn’t it? But what if you’ve invested $10,000 in the stock market and the price of the stock drops like a stone one day? On paper, you’ve lost a bundle, offsetting the value of compounding you’re trying to achieve. It’s tough to stand pat.

There’s no denying it — the financial marketplace can be volatile. Still, it’s important to remember two things. First, the longer you stay with a diversified portfolio of investments, the more likely you are to reduce your risk and improve your opportunities for gain. Though past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, the long-term direction of the stock market has historically been up. Take your time horizon into account when establishing your investment game plan. For assets you’ll use soon, you may not have the time to wait out the market and should consider investments designed to protect your principal. Conversely, think long-term for goals that are many years away.

Second, during any given period of market or economic turmoil, some asset categories and some individual investments historically have been less volatile than others. Bond price swings, for example, have generally been less dramatic than stock prices. Though diversification alone cannot guarantee a profit or ensure against the possibility of loss, you can minimize your risk somewhat by diversifying your holdings among various classes of assets, as well as different types of assets within each class.


Spread your wealth through asset allocation

Asset allocation is the process by which you spread your dollars over several categories of investments, usually referred to as asset classes. The three most common asset classes are stocks, bonds, and cash or cash alternatives such as money market funds. You’ll also see the term “asset classes” used to refer to subcategories, such as aggressive growth stocks, long-term growth stocks, international stocks, government bonds (U.S., state, and local), high-quality corporate bonds, low-quality corporate bonds, and tax-free municipal bonds. A basic asset allocation would likely include at least stocks, bonds (or mutual funds of stocks and bonds), and cash or cash alternatives.

There are two main reasons why asset allocation is important. First, the mix of asset classes you own is a large factor — some say the biggest factor by far — in determining your overall investment portfolio performance. In other words, the basic decision about how to divide your money between stocks, bonds, and cash can be more important than your subsequent choice of specific investments.

Second, by dividing your investment dollars among asset classes that do not respond to the same market forces in the same way at the same time, you can help minimize the effects of market volatility while maximizing your chances of return in the long term. Ideally, if your investments in one class are performing poorly, assets in another class may be doing better. Any gains in the latter can help offset the losses in the former and help minimize their overall impact on your portfolio.


Consider your time horizon in your investment choices

In choosing an asset allocation, you’ll need to consider how quickly you might need to convert an investment into cash without loss of principal (your initial investment). Generally speaking, the sooner you’ll need your money, the wiser it is to keep it in investments whose prices remain relatively stable. You want to avoid a situation, for example, where you need to use money quickly that is tied up in an investment whose price is currently down.

Therefore, your investment choices should take into account how soon you’re planning to use your money. If you’ll need the money within the next one to three years, you may want to consider keeping it in a money market fund or other cash alternative whose aim is to protect your initial investment. Your rate of return may be lower than that possible with more volatile investments such as stocks, but you’ll breathe easier knowing that the principal you invested is relatively safe and quickly available, without concern over market conditions on a given day. Conversely, if you have a long time horizon — for example, if you’re investing for a retirement that’s many years away — you may be able to invest a greater percentage of your assets in something that might have more dramatic price changes but that might also have greater potential for long-term growth.

Note: Before investing in a mutual fund, consider its investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses, all of which are outlined in the prospectus, available from the fund. Consider the information carefully before investing. Remember that an investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund.


Dollar cost averaging: investing consistently and often

Dollar cost averaging is a method of accumulating shares of an investment by purchasing a fixed dollar amount at regularly scheduled intervals over an extended time. When the price is high, your fixed-dollar investment buys less; when prices are low, the same dollar investment will buy more shares. A regular, fixed-dollar investment should result in a lower average price per share than you would get buying a fixed number of shares at each investment interval. A workplace savings plan, such as a 401(k) plan that deducts the same amount from each paycheck and invests it through the plan, is one of the most well-known examples of dollar cost averaging in action.

Remember that, just as with any investment strategy, dollar cost averaging can’t guarantee you a profit or protect you against a loss if the market is declining. To maximize the potential effects of dollar cost averaging, you should also assess your ability to keep investing even when the market is down.

An alternative to dollar cost averaging would be trying to “time the market,” to predict how the price of the shares will fluctuate in the months ahead so you can make your full investment at the absolute lowest point. However, market timing is generally unprofitable guesswork. The discipline of regular investing is a much more manageable strategy, and it has the added benefit of automating the process.


Buy and hold, don’t buy and forget

Unless you plan to rely on luck, your portfolio’s long-term success will depend on periodically reviewing it. Maybe economic conditions have changed the prospects for a particular investment or an entire asset class. Also, your circumstances change over time, and your asset allocation will need to reflect those changes. For example, as you get closer to retirement, you might decide to increase your allocation to less volatile investments, or those that can provide a steady stream of income.

Another reason for periodic portfolio review: your various investments will likely appreciate at different rates, which will alter your asset allocation without any action on your part. For example, if you initially decided on an 80 percent to 20 percent mix of stock investments to bond investments, you might find that after several years the total value of your portfolio has become divided 88 percent to 12 percent (conversely, if stocks haven’t done well, you might have a 70-30 ratio of stocks to bonds in this hypothetical example). You need to review your portfolio periodically to see if you need to return to your original allocation.

To rebalance your portfolio, you would buy more of the asset class that’s lower than desired, possibly using some of the proceeds of the asset class that is now larger than you intended. Or you could retain your existing allocation but shift future investments into an asset class that you want to build up over time. But if you don’t review your holdings periodically, you won’t know whether a change is needed. Many people choose a specific date each year to do an annual review.


Contact us today for an assessment.


Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communications Solutions, Inc.

Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinex and the bank are not affiliated. Products and services made available through Infinex are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States and are not deposits or obligations of nor guaranteed or insured by any bank or bank affiliate. These products are subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of value.




Building a Diverse Investment Portfolio: A Guide for New Investors in the Shenandoah Valley


Looking for investment help in the Shenandoah Valley?  You’ve come to the right place. At F&M Financial Services, we know that investing can feel intimidating when you’re not familiar with the various investment options and terminology. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of building a diversified investment portfolio. From defining common terms to explaining different approaches to investing, you’ll have a better understanding of your investment portfolio. Of course, if you have specific questions or need advice about your portfolio, contact one of our Infinex Financial Advisors in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, and Shenandoah County.

Where can I monitor stock values?

Local investors in the Shenandoah Valley can find a real-time market report and see our 14 most popular stocks on the Local Market Dashboard page. Looking for local investing help? Consider investing in local publicly-owned businesses with roots in the Shenandoah Valley. The dashboard provides a bird’s eye view of current share prices on the most popular local stocks, as well as important national indicators such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ Composite.

How to diversify your investments

Generally, diversifying* your investment portfolio is a reasonable approach to realizing steady long-term growth of your finances. Understand your various investment options and how they could support your investment goals:

What is a stock?**

Individual stocks represent a share of ownership in a publicly-traded company. Investors can buy stocks ‘a la carte” in the hope that they will increase in value over time. For example, investors who purchased individual Apple stock in 1980 would have seen their bet pay off very well in the years since, if they held onto it.

However, not every bet pays off and it’s hard to know at the Initial Public Offering which companies will become wildly successful like Apple or Tesla, and which will flame out. That’s why many investors prefer to mitigate the risk of individual stock values by investing in index funds or ETFs.

For example, the Dow Jones is a stock market index tracking 30 of the largest blue-chip companies on the stock exchange. You could choose an ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) that tracks the Dow Jones. ETFs provide broad market exposure to potentially give your portfolio more stability and less risk.

Similarly, the S&P 500 is a stock market index following 500 of the top publicly traded U.S. companies. You can invest in index funds and ETFs that track the S&P.

Lastly, the Nasdaq Composite Index features stocks that are exclusively listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. It is more tech-heavy than the Dow or S&P and the total number of stocks in the Nasdaq can change often.

What is a bond?

A bond is a unit of corporate debt that can be traded as an asset. Bonds are considered less risky than stocks to invest in because bonds have a fixed interest rate. However, the trade-off for that stability is usually a lower rate of return. That’s why building a diversified portfolio means having both higher-risk/higher-rate-of-return assets like stocks as well as more reliable/lower-rate-of-return assets like bonds.

What is a Mutual Fund?***

Unlike index funds and ETFs, which are not actively managed and only follow stocks, a mutual fund is defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as:

A mutual fund is a company that pools money from many investors and invests the money in securities such as stocks, bonds, and short-term debt. The combined holdings of the mutual fund are known as its portfolio. Investors buy shares in mutual funds. Each share represents an investor’s part ownership in the fund and the income it generates.


Because mutual funds already contain a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and short-term debt, buying shares in a mutual fund can be an easy way to diversify your own portfolio.

When it comes to index funds and ETFs vs. mutual funds, one of the main differences is that the cost of management fees tends to be lower for ETFs on average when compared to Mutual Funds. Mutual funds are sold by prospectus only, which may be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. Investors should consider the risks, investment objectives, fees, expenses, and charges disclosed in the prospectus.

CDs, Savings Accounts, and Money Market Accounts

As you approach retirement age, you’ll want to keep a portion of your investment portfolio in a more liquid account where you can earn some interest while having access to the next year or two of cash for living expenses. F&M Bank offers Certificates of Deposit (CDs), Free and Premium Savings Accounts, and Money Market to meet your liquidity needs.       

Should I include Real Estate in My Investment Portfolio?

During your investment research, you may have heard of the 20% rule. If you are unfamiliar, the idea is that some investors find value in allocating at least 20% of your portfolio into investments that are outside of the stock market itself. It is popular for many investors to fill this 20% with real estate. This is not a hard and fast rule, however. Some investors may be more comfortable with a smaller or larger percentage of their funds being in real estate. Regardless, it can be a good idea to consider this as a piece of your overall investing strategy. Our financial advisors can help you understand what allocation would be the best fit for you. You also can learn more about F&M Bank’s mortgage lending options to get started with funding a real estate purchase.

Consider Your Risk Tolerance

We’ve covered the risk levels of various investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. But you also need to consider your personal tolerance for risk when deciding how much of your portfolio to allocate to different types of investments.


How much time do you have?

Generally, the younger you are the more aggressive you can afford to be with risk. A temporary setback can be overcome with time, while someone close to retirement will want to be more moderate or conservative. However, age isn’t the only factor to consider. Your comfort level with risk, long-term investment goals, and current income are also important.


As a general rule of thumb, a portfolio for each risk level would look like:


  • Aggressive: About 80% stocks and 20% bonds
  • Moderate: About 50% stocks and 50% bonds
  • Conservative: About 20% stocks and 80% bonds


Contact our financial advisors in the Shenandoah Valley to discuss your personal risk tolerance and how to diversify your portfolio accordingly.

Build your investment portfolio with a team you trust!

If you’re looking for Wealth Management services in Virginia, our financial planners guide you through your options for how to invest your money in VA to ensure you understand your investment portfolio and are comfortable with our strategy. Schedule an appointment with an Infinex Financial Advisor with F&M Financial Services at any of our locations today!


Meet your financial advisor in Edinburg & Broadway, VA!

Meet your financial advisor in Harrisonburg & Staunton, VA!


*Diversification is a method of helping to manage risk. It does not assure a profit or the avoidance of loss.

**Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

*** Mutual funds are sold by prospectus only, which may be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing. Investors should consider the risks, investment objectives, fees, expenses, and charges disclosed in the prospectus. investment objectives, fees, expenses, and charges disclosed in the prospectus.

F&M Financial Service Advisors Calan Jansen and Matt Robinson Earn Top 50 Ranking by Infinex Investments, Inc

Press Release
For Immediate Release

June 22, 2021, Timberville, VA ‐‐ F&M Bank Corp. is pleased to announce that F&M Financial Services Advisors Calan Jansen and Matt Robinson have both been ranked among the Top 50 Infinex Financial Professionals, based on 2020 Gross Dealer Concession (GDC).

Calan Jansen, who provides investment services to clients in the Broadway and Edinburg offices of F&M Bank, ranked #14 of 50. Matt Robinson, who serves Harrisonburg and Rockingham County from his Cross Keys Road office, ranked at the #48 spot. The Top 50 producers were announced at a virtual ceremony held by Infinex Investments, Inc., in late May.

Photo of Calan Jansen







Securities offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Farmers & Merchants Financial Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of Farmers & Merchants Bank. Infinex is not affiliated with either entity.

Securities and Insurance Products:

Not Insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency May Lose Value Not a Deposit of or Guaranteed by the Bank or any Bank Affiliate

About Infinex Financial Group

In 2018, Infinex celebrated its 25th anniversary as an independent broker/dealer focused on serving the investment, insurance and wealth management needs of financial institutions.  Currently, Infinex supports over 230 community-based programs and more than 800 financial professionals.  The firm, headquartered in Meriden, Conn., with offices in Napa, Calif., and Midlothian, Va., has a unique history of being formed by financial institutions and owned by financial institutions. To learn more about Infinex Financial Group, visit

About F&M Bank

F&M Bank (FMBM) proudly remains the only publicly traded organization based in Rockingham County, VA, and since 1908, has served the Shenandoah Valley with full-service branches and a wide variety of financial services including home loans through F&M Mortgage and real estate settlement services and title insurance through VSTitle. Both individuals and businesses find the organization’s local decision-making, and up-to-date technology provide the kind of responsive, knowledgeable, and reliable service that only a progressive community bank can. F&M Bank has grown to $1 billion in assets with more than 175 full and part-time employees. Its conservative approach to finances and sound investments, along with excellent customer service, has made F&M Bank profitable and continues to pave the way for a bright future.