Investing for Change

You might ask, in our current economy, who can even afford to invest? However, I know many people who routinely tithe 10% of their income to good causes. There is always the money to put into quality causes, if you take the time and energy to truly be frugal and cautious in your lifestyle. The question then becomes even more important than usual - where do you put those hard earned pennies? You want them to keep you safe, to pay for college for your kids, for retirement for yourself. You also want them to promote a good quality of change in the world.

I definitely appreciate the message of Investing for Change. It is about finding stocks that you can both believe in and earn a good income from, as well as promote social good and environmental health. The book is quite right in stating that the more financially secure someone is, the more they have the luxury of thinking about others and social issues. The trap that many of us fall into is that we feel we "need" a second car, an air conditioner in every room, a high speed cable connection. We do not appreciate that simply by having a roof over our head and a steady supply of food that we are already ahead of 50% of the human population. MTV has done a great disservice to our world by convincing us that we needed cool clothes and jewelry to be even "passable".

Remember that fifty percent of the world's population struggles just to get food and water every day. They survive on $2 a day income. If you have an apartment or house, if you have food in your cupboards, you are doing extremely well. Our society teaches us that we need mansions and yachts to have "made it", when most of us are already princes and princesses in many of the world population's eyes.

So where does this all leave us with this book? A lot of people will look at this book saying "I can't afford to invest in my savings - I am paying for my daughter's $50 pair of jeans to enhance her butt." And others will say "Well I have to buy a high def TV because all the commercials say I need one." I think this book is incredibly timely. We do NOT need those ridiculous items to stay in touch with the wealth of the generation. We need gardens in our windows, canvas bags to carry our groceries, and the saving of our money to invest wisely. If people were doing this all along, and buying gas-conserving cars, we probably would not be in the economic crisis we were in now. Books like this would be standard fare, not unusual items.

So, my summary? Take a look at your house. Ebay the things you really do not need (which for most of us is most of what we own!) Stop watching TV that makes us long for things we don't need. Turn off the alarmist news shows. Take up a hobby and make presents for those you care for. Tithe that 10% of your income and put it to whatever good use appeals to you - your kids' college education, your retirement, helping those around you. Together we really can make a huge difference. We just have to fight the message of mass media, that we must "buy more" to be happy.

And yes, this book illustrates its point with stories, which I think is great. Most people relate better to parables than to dry, cold facts. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has tuned their finances to cut out the marketing chaff, to focus on what is important in life. We can all do it, if we try.

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