Focus on housing, investment clubs, purchase power
White River Junction – Vital Communities and its partners continue its series of virtual events teaching how and why to shift your investment from Wall Street to Main Street. All events are free and open to the public.
Upcoming events to the series, Put Your Money Where Your Life Is: Reclaiming Our Local Economy, include:
Thursday, April 8, 5:30 p.m. Investing for Home Creation: Your savings can help create more lower-cost homes. Learn how even small amounts can bring financial, social, and environmental rewards.
Thursday, April 15, 5:30 p.m. Put your money to work locally: Investment Clubs 101, increase your power to do good by investing as a group.
“Seeding Change: The Power of Conscious Commerce” (2021), a documentary on how consumers can help save the world “one purchase at a time” (viewable on demand April 22-24; part of the Monadnock Region Earth Day Film Festival).
The series is part of Vital Communities’ ongoing Vital Economy program—initiatives that teach people the importance of buying and investing locally and offer how-tos and incentives. One step was sponsoring the Upper Valley Indie Impact Study (2020), which found that businesses rooted in the Upper Valley keep up to four times more money circulating in the region’s economy than do national chain stores, and that remote online retailers suck hundreds of millions of dollars from our economy each year.
Small businesses throughout Vermont and New Hampshire have been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and related shutdowns, as have the local economies that depend on them. One readily available solution—one that does not depend on government bureaucracies—is to mobilize grassroots investment. Americans now have $56 trillion in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance funds—nearly all of it invested in global corporations. Here in the Upper Valley, one conservative estimate is that there are $5-6 billion in locally managed investments; this figure does not include the untold billions invested by local residents but managed out of state.
Recent changes in the law (around investment crowdfunding, for example) make it cheaper and easier for non-accredited investors to put money into local businesses. However, most of us believe we have no choice but to continue to invest our money in the stocks and bonds of the world’s biggest companies, even if we barely understand them. There are real alternatives, but few of us know about or consider them. According to Shuman, if you’re smart about local investing, you can do this in a way that provides substantial, stable financial returns and lower risk than for Wall Street investments. Plus, local investments come with social returns on investment and wind up strengthening your community, local resilience, and the tax base.
Local businesses create stable jobs, enhance community character, and support our communities with donations of time and money, and have proven to be especially critical during the pandemic. Now, after a year of Covid shutdowns, bankruptcies, deaths, and economic despair, it’s all the more important to channel our resources to the local businesses and organizations that sustain us. In fact, it’s an opportunity to “relocalize” our economy—catalyzing innovation and shifting capital to where we live to fuel the entrepreneurs, businesses, and projects our communities need to be more sustainable, vibrant, and resilient in the face of future disruptions and challenges.
Vital Communities cultivates the civic, environmental and economic vitality of the Upper Valley. We bring people together, bridging boundaries and engaging our whole community to create positive change. For more information visit vitalcommunities.org.