Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity--A Resilient Communities Guide

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Overview

Local Dollars, Local Sense is a guide to creating Community Resilience.

Americans' long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds total about $30 trillion. But not even 1 percent of these savings touch local small business-even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them. So, how can people increasingly concerned with the poor returns from Wall Street and the ...

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Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity

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Overview

Local Dollars, Local Sense is a guide to creating Community Resilience.

Americans' long-term savings in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and life insurance funds total about $30 trillion. But not even 1 percent of these savings touch local small business-even though roughly half the jobs and the output in the private economy come from them. So, how can people increasingly concerned with the poor returns from Wall Street and the devastating impact of global companies on their communities invest in Main Street?

In Local Dollars, Local Sense, local economy pioneer Michael Shuman shows investors, including the nearly 99% who are unaccredited, how to put their money into building local businesses and resilient regional economies-and profit in the process. A revolutionary toolbox for social change, written with compelling personal stories, the book delivers the most thorough overview available of local investment options, explains the obstacles, and profiles investors who have paved the way. Shuman demystifies the growing realm of local investment choices-from institutional lending to investment clubs and networks, local investment funds, community ownership, direct public offerings, local stock exchanges, crowdfunding, and more. He also guides readers through the lucrative opportunities to invest locally in their homes, energy efficiency, and themselves.

A rich resource for both investors and the entrepreneurs they want to support, Local Dollars, Local Sense eloquently shows how to truly protect your financial future--and your community's.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Economist and entrepreneur Shuman (The Small-Mart Revolution) provides a convincing argument that the general public should be allowed to invest in small businesses. Today, millions of Americans are reluctant to trust a rickety Wall Street with their retirement assets or savings for their kids’ education, and instead, they’re interested in investing locally, especially since small businesses are more profitable that larger corporations. However, less than one percent of Americans’s long-term savings touches local small business, which means that Americans are systematically overinvesting in Wall Street and under-investing in Main Street. Shuman offers the average investor attractive alternatives that comply with securities laws, but allow for investing in neighborhood cooperatives, and more. In addition, he explores the challenges of securing institutional lending, and shares valuable insights about how local businesses have deployed creative investment strategies to avoid or reduce the costs of security law compliance, how local investors can pool together to diversify their risks, and how individuals can earn superior returns from investing in their own bank, home, and energy efficiency. Shuman’s accessible book will help investors of all backgrounds take action. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"Want something that makes sense amid the increasingly crazy world of global finance? Going local is it and Michael Shuman has been at the forefront of this cutting-edge thinking for more than a decade. He not only maps the emerging process of economic localization, but also gets down to the nitty gritty: the investment strategies and the financial practitioners who are making it real."--Woody Tasch, chairman, Slow Money; chairman emeritus, Investor's Circle; and author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money

"There is no task more urgent facing this country than rebuilding local economies, and Michael Shuman knows this inside and out. This book should be required reading for Americans."--James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency and other books

"This long-awaited book is a masterpiece and a field guide to a much-needed journey into creating the kind of economy our children will be happy to inherit. Future generations will praise Local Dollars, Local Sense as one of those seminal works that helped transform human societies."--John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman and Hoodwinked

"Local is the new green, because local encompasses the wholeness of real places - nature and people and the complex web of relationships among them. Living on an island, I have a special appreciation for local resilience. I know my community is my real security. My bank. The financial system makes it easy to invest in distant corporations and difficult to invest in our own neighbor's start-ups and business expansion. Enter Michael Shuman and this wonderful book, Local Dollars, Local Sense. He outlines many practical innovations that can flow money back into the productivity and prosperity of the places we call home. With the growing interest in moving our money out of Wall Street and into Main Street, Michael's book provides a very welcome roadmap for local investing.--Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life

"Michael Shuman answers a lot of questions I've always wondered about, and in the process paints a practical vision of exactly where we need to be headed in this country. Consider this book an excellent investment!"--Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth and The End of Nature

Kirkus Reviews
In an installment of the environmentally responsible publisher's Community Resilience Guide series, an astute economist weighs in on a hot-button issue: how to keep local dollars invested in local businesses. Shuman (The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition, 2007, etc.) offers real-time suggestions for investing hard-earned American money back into community-based businesses. In the introduction, musician and philanthropist Peter Buffett restates the importance of a return to the "fundamental aspects of human nature" to reverse what he believes to be the nation's crippled socioeconomic structure. Shuman expands on Buffett's beliefs by citing America's broken investment system whereby money spent at local merchants becomes reinvested into large Wall Street corporations. He cites several "local-investment tools" as the building blocks in a plan to reallocate and redistribute capital back into communities that need it more than the "bandits of Wall Street." After an outline of weak retirement investment returns, a stagnant economy and the bleak outlook for future retirees, the author advances highly practical arguments in favor of supporting locally grown foodstuffs, community banking, autonomous cooperative organizations and the adoption of a sustainable mindset. Shuman sensibly lays out the groundwork for a revamped economic platform with profiles of many viable, "green" companies and nonprofit alliances alongside intensively researched facts about banks, securities and recession-proof purchasing strategies. As his thesis deepens, however, the material becomes more applicable for more seasoned, jargon-friendly economists. Still, those emerging with a modicum of head-scratching will find Shuman's galvanized eco-speak an intelligent voice in assigning a conscience to the process of how and where hard-earned dollars are spent. An impassioned, forward-thinking plea for economic reform at the grassroots level.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603583435
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/20/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 507,599
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Shuman is research director for Cutting Edge Capital in Oakland, economic-development director for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute. An economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, Shuman has previously authored, coauthored, or edited seven books, including The Small-Mart Revolution (which won a bronze prize from the Independent Publishers Association for best business book of 2006) and Going Local (1998). He has led community-based economic-development and local-food initiatives across the country. He has given an average of more than one invited talk per week for twenty-five years throughout the world and has written nearly 100 published articles for publications such as the The New York Times , The Washington Post , The Nation , The Weekly Standard , Foreign Policy , Parade, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. He lives in Silver Springs, Maryland.
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Table of Contents

1. A living rate of return
2. Zero-cost stimulus
3. The hidden power of cooperatives
4. Institutional lending
5. Anti-poverty investing
6. If I were a rich man
7. Unaccredited investing in SEC-land
8. Local exchanges
9. Everybody into the pool!
10. Investing in yourself

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    A good way to achieve real prosperity in America is to invest mo

    A good way to achieve real prosperity in America is to invest money in local businesses, instead of the multi-national conglomerates of this world. This book shows some ways to do it.

    First of all, forget about the usual method, that of buying shares in a local store. The vast majority of investors are "unaccredited," and for a local store to legally offer shares to the public requires an accountant, a lawyer, and several thousand dollars in expenses. A way around that is for the business owner to, for instance, offer a $100 gift card for sale to the public. The buyer then gets $125 in goods or services on that card. The business owner gets extra money coming in, and the customer gets something extra for their "investment."

    The average Mega-Bank is getting less and less interested in approving a loan for someone who wants to start a business. They would much rather put their money in a higher-risk investment that offers a higher rate of return (credit default swaps, anyone?). Depositors should consider moving their money to a community bank or credit union, which is where loan-seekers should go for a loan. These are institutions where the head office is in your town, or a neighboring town, instead of a neighboring stsate. They will be much more interested in helping local businesses, and treating depositors and loan seekers as more than just a number.

    Consider resurrecting regional stock exchanges, which would trade only companies from that state or region. Consider changing the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) rules, to make it easier for smaller companies to sell shares to the public, and make it easier for the average person to buy those shares. If you do nothing else, invest in yourself. Pay off your credit cards, pay down your mortgage as fast as possible, consider going (or going back) to school, to increase your available skills as much as possible, and consider a DIY retirement fund.

    This will certainly change perceptions about finance. It is easy to read, and gives a number of ways to keep your money in your town (where it belongs).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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