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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 ...
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.
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 than 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.
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.
"Michael Shuman has done it again. In Local Dollars, Local Sense, he answers the central question of the era: How does capital get invested? Whether you are concerned with job creation, environmental destruction, immigration, public health or education, this book will not only tell you why things are going wrong, it will tell you how we can make things right."--Kevin Danaher, cofounder, Global Exchange and Green Festivals
"Brilliant and perfectly timed, Local Dollars, Local Sense enables us to transform worry and confusion about our personal finances, and the nation's, into rewarding action. Shuman shows us-in part with compelling stories-how investment choices are really exciting sources of power to achieve peace of mind for our families as we create thriving, democratic communities. I love this ground-breaking, liberating book!"--Frances Moore Lappé, author of EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want
"In an important and path-breaking work, Michael Shuman shows clearly and persuasively how to transform our nation's financial system from a destructive engine for increasing economic inequality into a positive force for creating human well-being and community resilience. The cry today is for new laws and regulations to instill greater accountability and integrity in existing national and global financial markets. Shuman calls, instead, for legislative reforms that shift savings away from those growth-oriented and life-destroying markets to new local financial markets that serve life-enhancing, place-based community enterprise. Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity must be required reading for every elected official in the country as well as all "experts" in finance and business from the academic and corporate worlds."--H. Thomas Johnson, professor of sustainability management, Portland State University, and author of Profit Beyond Measure
"How can we secure our personal finances while simultaneously helping to rebuild our communities? Read this book and find out. Michael Shuman's advice urgently needs to be heeded. Authoritative yet highly readable, Local Dollars, Local Sense illuminates the path toward a very different economy, providing practical advice that is more intensely relevant with every passing day."--Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder, International Society for Ecology and Culture; producer, The Economics of Happiness
"Local small businesses employ more people and respond to community needs better than big corporations do-but nearly all our investment dollars support Wall Street banks and huge companies. The path to local investing has been strewn with obstacles. Michael Shuman clears a path for us all, showing how local investing can help solve some of America's biggest social, economic, environmental, and political problems. This is a book many of us have been waiting for."--Richard Heinberg, author of The End of Growth and Peak Everything
"Where to invest your money in these uncertain times? Bring it home, advises Michael Shuman. But don't put it under the mattress! This smart and thoughtful book explains the many ways we can invest in our local economies to not only receive a more reliable return than the stock market casino can provide, but also to live in more self-reliant and joyful communities. Join the shift toward true prosperity. This book shows you how."--Judy Wicks, cofounder, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
"Changing the direction our money flows in away from the tax havens and the banks and toward the urgent rebuilding of community resilience at the local scale is one of our most pressing and urgent tasks. Michael Shuman inspires and equips us for this work with great vision and purpose."--Rob Hopkins, author of The Transition Companion and cofounder of the Transition Network
"Prepare to rethink everything you've learned about investing! In this tour de force, Michael Shuman provides an eye-opening look at how local companies can trump market returns, and how legalized crowdfunding might do more for job creation than the failed policies of throwing taxpayer money at big corporations. The book abounds with examples of community investment that are helping to rebuild local economies, and provides a tantalizing glimpse of life beyond corporate capitalism."--Amy Cortese, author, Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It
"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
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
Posted March 14, 2013
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).