Home » sin stocks » Sin Stocks Report: Summer Of Sin #4 — Are Sin Stocks Really That Bad?

Okay, so we’ve introduced you to the concept of sin stocks but now let’s answer the burning question that everyone asks at this point: “Are sin stocks really that bad?

Are Sin Stocks Really That Bad?

Sin stocks can sound bad. Even the label isn’t good, right? I mean, HELLO! It has the word “sin” right in the title!

Well, this is a complicated question and it really depends on who you ask.

Ask someone who doesn’t like guns and they’ll tell you that defense stocks are unethical. But ask someone who likes guns and they’ll tell you it’s fine. It depends on who is asking. And whether you’re a patriot and supporter of the 2nd amendment. (haha. Just kidding on that last part; it’s WAY more complicated than that.)

Ask someone who doesn’t like cigarettes, and they’ll tell you that cigarette stocks are unethical. But will they have an opinion on pipes, cigars, or chewing tobacco? Cigar smoking is a very different experience than cigarette smoking and that same person who felt that cigarettes were unethical might not think so about cigars. For these people, there’s a line between cigarettes and cigars.

Find someone who thinks hard liquor is bad and ask them if a whiskey company is unethical; they may tell you it is… but ask them if a vineyard is unethical for making wine and they might not think so. For these people, there’s a line between their vision of someone who is drunk on whiskey and the pastoral scenes of rolling hills in a vineyard that produces wine.

Ask someone if pornography is unethical and they’ll probably tell you that it is but ask someone if a company can use sexy images to sell lingerie and they might not think it’s unethical… for these people, there’s a grey area in how they define sexuality.

Ask someone if a casino is unethical and they may tell you that it is. But then ask if they’ve ever played the lottery or scratch and win tickets and there’s a good chance they have!

Probably our favorite: Ask someone if any of the typical sin stocks (guns, tobacco, gambling) are unethical and they may say it is. Then ask them if they hold any shares in companies that use sweatshop labor. Companies that use sweatshop labor aren’t technically considered sin stocks (in the most common use of the word) but that doesn’t mean they’re not unethical. That mobile device you’re holding, or the clothes you’re wearing, may have been assembled in a harsh environment employing children who earn a pittance.

The term “sin stocks” is an informal label and it’s loosely applied by people depending on their own values and the popular social values of the day. There’s also a sense of habit, since beer and wine is rarely considered a sin by anyone yet it is often lumped into the sin stocks category.

So, are sin stocks bad? Well, some of the might be and some of them might not be. It depends on what you define as bad. You should never support things you morally disagree with. However, be aware that not everything labelled as a sin stock is bad, and not everything NOT labelled as a sin stock is good!


Nothing on this site is a recommendation because, hey, I can't read your mind and I don't know what you have in your portfolio, and I'm not a licensed financial advisor. So never EVER trade without doing your due diligence. If you want more information about this fascinating topic, please check out the Sin Stocks Disclaimer page which basically says the same thing but more emphatically.