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Local Dollars, Local Sense : How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity
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.
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. 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 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.
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Chelsea Green Publishing
March 01, 2012
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