Does Financial Planning Matter? Or does “life just happen while we are busy making plans?” - John Lennon
If you ask financial advisors, consultants and financial planners what ideas they have for positive impact and the common good, they might look at you and ask:”Listen, Charlie, one day you just have to decide between the money and the trees!” Or they might say simply, “no one has asked me for that before…” Please do start asking and don’t be shy, because there is a whole lexicon of good answers and every consultant and planner should make it their business to know the options. In fact, they should be starting the conversation on envisioning and investing in a better future. Jennifer Lazarus CFP has made this a key part of her business. Rather than the more glamorous route of direct social entrepreneurship, Lazarus realized her talent lay in building a plan of action with clients who need support in realizing their dreams. The following piece outlines some of the considerations for planning a future that make sense financially and will lead to a better world for all. The point is that investing in a better world is inherently good planning.
If you have read George Clason’s classic little inspirational wealth generating book: The Richest Man in Babylon (and I am divulging the secret here) you will know the key idea is to “pay yourself first”, i.e. to set aside 10% or more (if you are older) of whatever you earn and invest it in the future. The question he does not answer is how to invest it. If you are a socially conscious individual you might take a look at the global casino called “the market” and decide this is not for you. You might then want to foster one great business idea and put your heart and soul and extra money into it until it hits hard times and then you might have to return to your advisor sheepishly and again let the “expert” do their thing. Or you might decide just to stick with fairly safe low interest loans to a group like The Reinvestment Fund of Philadelphia or RSF Social Finance and enjoy a slow and steady pace of growth compared to your friends and family’s roller coaster investment ride. None of these decisions are inherently right or wrong. What is important is to understand what makes sense for you.
Before investing anything I propose you decide first how much you are comfortable losing. That’s right. This amount may first be given away for maximum impact, but second, it could also be spent on tools for your own personal expansion including education and training, or third it could be invested in a potentially profitable business or businesses that are solving problems that are meaningful to you and might provide returns as well. This third option for money you can afford to lose used to be reserved for the so called “accredited” investor. Millionaires beyond the value of their homes, these investors were supposedly sophisticated enough to lose their own money! Now there is considerable noise that may allow unaccredited investors to take their chances as well. “Crowd-funding” built into the Jobs Act of 2011 (see brief article) will allow ventures to be publicized for any investors, whether accredited or not (by the way the jury is out whether or not states will allow this to actually occur).
Of course, for a less direct impact with far less risk, there are hundreds of Socially Responsible (SRI) stock funds to choose from, giving you a broad range of choice amongst public companies. And it seems most people consider this a vital piece of their portfolio, planning for necessary growth for the years ahead with easy exits if and when you need cash. But beware, there is no guarantee they will go up!
If you do happen to be accredited and are looking for colleagues to help you find positive impact, venture deals, there is a growing interest in organizations like Investor’s Circle or Toniic which have local chapters in a number of cities. There are also a number of burgeoning marketplaces developing online such as Maximpact where social enterprises are vetted by established fund managers or Mission Markets, which is reemerging after several attempts to establish itself as the go to site for connecting investors with positive investment opportunities.
My second tip is to consider how much money you can set aside that you can’t afford to lose. This money can be invested in well secured loans, with a range of interest rates and time spans. Kiva is a highly successful site that matches very small scale investors with $25 or more to invest with very small micro-entrepreneurs in the “majority world” and you can expect to get your money back to recycle, but there is no interest while you wait for your money’s return. If you need some income from this part of your strategy you might consider another site called Microplace or your local community bank. If you are a good judge of character and less risk averse you might lend money directly to a social entrepreneur you trust, but be sure you have a clear understanding in place. You might want to know that they have qualified as a “B” Corporation, with a proven commitment to the common good, or at least a member of the BALLE network, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. If you feel a particular connection to the land and want some help with this kind of loan you can turn to another burgeoning group: Slow Money which also has local chapters around the country and is taking off like the spread of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s). Jennifer Lazarus’ clients are active in this movement in North Carolina, and have been trying to find ways to provide access to land for young farmers who want to dedicate their lives to the soil. For her accredited investors she also might be considering private funds like Iroquois Valley Farms,LLC which has been acquiring organic family farmland to help families stay on the land. The return on this investment apparently comes from rental income.
This piece has barely touched the surface of what is possible. There are many more stories to tell and there is a real need for the stories to be told. This space is under construction but full of potential. It does need planning and that leads us to the third financial planning consideration: how much cash is enough and how can I best spend it. The answers to this are the most variable, customizable to each unique individual. But there is a question that might string through all your possible considerations: in each decision I make to spend money what is the impact of my lifestyle first on those that indirectly serve me through their labor and second on the environment that supports us all?
The irony of Lennon’s quip that “life is what is happening when we are busy making plans” is well taken: we do not know the future (little did he know how short a life he had to live) and so living in the present is key; yet we can create a context for our life plan and with every transaction we can express what matters most.
Founder & CEO, 3Sisters Sustainable Management
1700 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA
New Member Orientation
Monday, November 19, 2012, 6:00 - 7:00 PM
SBN Office, 1617 JFK Blvd, Philadelphia, PA
Whether you're a new member to SBN or long time veteran, the New Member Orientation is designed to offer you insight or refresh your memory on member benefits, marketing opportunities, and informal networking at SBN headquarters.
Space is limited, please register in advance to secure your space for the SBN New Member Orientation.
SBN Holiday Party & Grid Issue Release of 2013 SBN Directory
Thursday, December 6, 2012, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Filbert, Philadelphia, PA
This has been a memorable year and we are closing out 2012 in style and celebration! Join SBN and Grid Magazine at the Reading Terminal Market to release the 2013 SBN/Grid Directory and celebrate the season.
Click here to reserve your space for the SBN / Grid Magazine Issue release event.
Plus, Philadelphia City Dining Cards team will be on hand with freebies and decks for sale. The decks, which holds $500 worth of savings, make great gifts for co-workers, family, friends, and foodies in Philadelphia.
Online ordering is available too! Be sure to include coupon code "sbnphilly" for a freebie with your order.
SBN Office Share
The SBN offices are conveniently located in Center City above SEPTA Suburban Station in the elegant and secure One Penn Center office building. We can offer affordable office solutions including: office share, desk share, private office, mailbox-only and conference room.
Contact Monica Rao for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.922.7400 x108
SBN Board of Directors: Call for Nominations
The Nominations Committee for SBN is now accepting nominations for positions on our Board of Directors. The Nominations Committee carefully reviews the nominations and then makes a recommendation to the membership of the candidates that best fit the needs of the board. Membership will vote at or prior to the January 2013 Annual Meeting.
Click here to learn more about the Board Nomination process and application instructions.
Lens Through Time Photography Exhibit Opening Reception at Twenty-Two Gallery
Friday, November 9, 2012, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Twenty-Two Gallery, 236 South 22 St, Philadelphia, PA
This exhibit showcases a father and son duo, capturing over 50 years of beautiful black and white images of America. The images transcend generations and geography to bring us joy for years to come.
Click here to learn more about this exhibit at Gallery Twenty-Two.
Apple Cranberry Jam with FoodinJars.com’s Marisa McClellan
Saturday, November 10, 2012, 12:00 - 2:00 PM
Greensgrow Community Kitchen at St. Michael’s Church
Philadelphia-based canning teacher, blogger and cookbook author Marisa McClellan will walk you through the basics of boiling water bath canning. The class will include:
food safety information
best canning practices
recommendations on how to store your newly canned goods
"Jamming" demonstration and take home treat - your own Apple Cranberry Jam jar!
Click here to sign up for the Last FoodInJars Workshops of the Year!
Greensgrow Call for Vendors: Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, December 8 & 15, 2012, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday, December 9 & 16, 2012, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Do you make art or crafts or sell other handmade wares that would be perfect for seasonal gift giving? We are looking for you! This neighborhood sale of crafts, gifts, food, and other holiday items will take place at the farm on two weekends in December.
Deadline to Register is November 17th.
Click here to learn more about becoming a vendor at Greensgrow Holiday Bazaar!
Rolling Barrel Events Presents: Sippin' by the River
Center City Green Drinks
Saturday, November 10, 2012, 1:00 - 5:00 PM
Campbell's Field, Camden, PA
Sippin' by the River is back with a new venue, programming, and a whole new experience! The 17th Annual Sippin' by the River benefits the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.
Click here to learn more and buy tickets for Sippin' by the River.
Thursday, November 15, 2012, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Fado Irish Pub, 1500 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA
Fado Irish Pub needs your help! They contacted Green Drinks to help them fulfill a genuine desire to be more environmentally-conscious, and energy-efficient company. Please join us as management listens to your ideas on how to make an Irish Bar even "greener".
Click here to learn more about Center City Green Drinks.
Discover a New East-meets-West Philosophy
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 1:30 – 4:30 PM
131 North Narberth Ave, Narberth, PA
Join Erin Owen, author of Recharge, Refuel, and Re-energize as she conducts a relaxing and delicious workshop at Yoga Garden in Narberth called Melt Stress, Be Present, and Find Balance: Cultivating Yin to Balance the Yang.
Click here to learn more session with Erin at Wakeup Yoga.
PhillyMag Names Smartest People in Philadelphia, SBN Members Make the Cut
The results are in! Philadelphia Magazine has identified the smartest minds in our region and several SBN Member organizations made the cut. Congratulations to:
Robert Cheetham, Azavea
Sara Van Aken, SA VA
Pete Angevine, Little Baby's Ice Cream
Click here to learn more about these minds and other who made the list.
Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP Expands to Williamsport, PA
To mark the opening of their new office in Williamsport, PA, the environmental and energy law firm of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP will host Marcus Kohl, Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Northcentral Regional Office, at a special seminar on Wednesday, November 14.
The event will take place at the Eagle Rock Winery, at 414 W 4th St. in Williamsport, PA from 4:00 - 7:00 PM. The permitting seminar, Implementing DEP’s Permit Decision Guarantee, will begin promptly at 4:00 PM, immediately followed by a reception beginning at 5:00 PM.
For more information or to RSVP for the program, please contact Julie Hayes at 484-430-2352 or email@example.com.
Power Home Remodeling Group Receives Multiple Workplace Honors
The Power Home Remodeling Group was named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and was ranked as No. 1 on the Connecticut Post's "Top Workplaces 2012" list.
It also ranked No. 8 on Glassdoor's “Top 25 Companies for Career Opportunities” list.
They are, indubitably, one of the finest environmental friendly companies of the nation. Their exceptional employee customer service training programs, assigned mentorship programs and unique compensation models reward employees beyond traditional salaries.
Click here to learn more about Power Home Remodeling Group.
Craig LaBan Gives Philly Fair Trade Roasters Thumbs Up
Philly Fair Trade Roasters, a local pioneer in the Philadelphia coffee scene, is expanding distribution to local farmers markets and area coffee shops. Craig LaBan, Food Critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, recently called the cup of joe, "one of the best cups I've drunk in town."
Click here to learn more about Philly Fair Trade Roasters and locations served.
Zivtech's Named Philly's 20th Fastest Growing Company
Congratulations to Zivtech for being recognized as the 20th fastest growing private company in Philadelphia!
Philadelphia 100, annual research project, sets the standard for excellence in entrepreneurial achievement. This project is facilitated by Wharton Small Business Development Center, the Entrepreneurs' Forum of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Click here to read more about Zivtech's newest achievement.
Trolley Car Diner & Cafe: Building a Better Community
This classic diner does more these days than burgers and shakes. From do-it-yourself pizza classes for kids to first place winners in the Restaurant category of the PHS City Harvest Festival - they are helping to culture a legacy of green thumbs (and future customers!) for years to come.
Ken Weinstein, Owner of Trolley Car Diner, explains, “We focus on community outreach and programming at the diner,” says Weinstein, “while at the café we focus on sustainability and healthy options.”
Click here to read more about Trolley Car Diner in Grid Magazine.
Local Strands: Disaster Relief Charity Bracelets on Sale to Benefit Red Cross
For each bracelet purchased, Local Strands will donate 50% of the proceeds to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. These "ecolution" bracelets are made from environmentally friendly products which are 100% vegan and contain no products from animal exploitation.
Free shipping when ordering this product.
Click here to learn more about Local Strands Disaster Relief bracelet.
Tip - for a more bohemian look, layer several bracelets together!
Lucky Ant: Helping Small Businesses Affected by Hurricane Sandy
Lucky Ant is a crowd-source funding organization and is offering 100% free crowd funding services to any small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. They are also raising a Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund to channel money to affected businesses.
Please feel free to forward this information along to you or any partner businesses that may be in need of Lucky Ant's free services.
Gear Up for Thanksgiving with the SBN Community
Fair Food Farmstand: Local farm-raised holiday birds are vegetarian fed, hormone and antibiotic free, and raised with access to pastures. Reserve by Monday, November 12, to secure your bird.
JPM Catering: The annual Thanksgiving menu is available and is stocked with traditional favorites and some new sweet surprises that will make your holiday easy and memorable. Reserve by noon, Friday, November 16. Don't forget you get FREE DELIVERY when your order exceeds $100.
Wardrobe Boutique: Double Donation Discount Days
The Wardrobe Boutique is an upscale recycled clothing store benefiting Career Wardrobe's mission of supporting women in their transition to the workplace.
Like them on Facebook and stay tuned of the latest inventory collection and Double Donation Discount Days - donate and save 20% off your entire purchase!
PHS Gardening and Greening Events In and Around Philadelphia
The weather may be getting colder, but our area public gardens, arboretums, and outdoor spaces are offering an abundance of events and classes and family friendly activities.
Click here to view the November gardening calendar of classes and events.
Manager, Community Outreach and Partnerships
People's Emergency Center, Philadelphia, PA
Clean Currents, Philadelphia, PA
Project Coordinator, Business United for Conservation
Sustainable Business Network, Philadelphia, PA
Re:Vision Architecture, Philadelphia, PA
Program Intern, Philadelphia Dining Cards
The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Equal Dollars Intern
Equal Dollars Community Currency, Philadelphia, PA
B Lab, Berwyn, PA
The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Wu & Associates, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Azavea, Philadelphia, PA or Cambridge, MA Office
Azavea, Philadelphia, PA
John & Kira's, Philadelphia, PA
Part-Time Operations Manager
Kembrel, Philadelphia, PA
Small Business Evangelist
Lokalty, Philadelphia, PA
Afternoon/Evening Customer Service Representative
Wash Cycle Laundry, Philadelphia, PA
All submissions can be sent via the SBN website.
For the subject line, select "Newsletter Submission" and send us your content.
For the November Members Newsletter the deadline for submission is Monday, November 12, 2012.
For the December Public Newsletter the deadline for submission is Wednesday, November 28, 2012.
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