I wanted to publish something to get more specific about the motives for the creation of Invested Alternative and its goals. There are six experiences and ideas that went into its creation.
1) I went to church growing up and they'd ask for tithe donations, as they all do, but I was very disturbed when I found out later in life how little they actually gave back to the community compared to what they brought in. Then there's those megachurches and tv evangelists that are fabulously wealthy, acquiring a net worth of tens or hundreds of millions from tithed donations! How much are they actually giving back to their supporters and people in need?
My wife likes to listen to Christian music stations sometimes and one station we were listening to was doing a fundraiser as well as a giveaway of free gas for a year. The fundraiser was to help fund the station and fund the giveaways. It was nice to hear the message of people willing to donate to help others that share the common interest in this religious channel.
How would you like to be a part of a community that does that to help their own? What if this church or community actually gave back 80% or more of the donations to the poorest members in need, or even redistributed the pot equally among all members? I think the poorest members would be well cared for in this scenario, but if funds were distributed equally among all, then people would most likely start giving less when they see others abusing it and the whole thing would be ruined. To fix that, Invested Alternative borrows the donations for investment. The original donations can be returned! People can give more if they have more to help others and they won't feel like they are being leeched.
I created Invested Alternative with the idea of creating a type of community where people can pool money together to pay off each others debts, pay for a month of groceries or gas, and give to each other in other ways. That's what basically all charities are though, right? People pooling money together for a specific cause? So what makes Invested Alternative different?
2) Look at the model of university endowment funds. These endowment funds at universities are used to provide scholarships and help fund school programs. People donate to these funds for the managers to buy investments and the income from those investments continue to bring in money to continuously fund their scholarships and programs. Invested Alternative is doing the same thing, but instead uses the income from investments to help people pay for college after-the-fact by helping to pay off student loans. It doesn't stop there either. Invested Alternative has a goal to help reduce medical debt and give in other ways as well.
3) Every election cycle and campaign season, we hear about the millions of dollars being sent to candidate campaigns. People hope these candidates will enact and support policies that will benefit their interests. Many are left unsatisfied though. It's especially a shame for people that donated to candidates that lose. Supporters lost their money and their candidate didn't win. Ouch!
Politics are important and have a strong influence, but what if all this money could be sent to solving problems directly, instead of politicians that will argue with each other about how to solve the problems, and usually end up not even addressing it?
I read a quote recently regarding the debate on whether or not to cancel student loan debts. It read, "Politicians have no problem giving billions to countries who don't even pay taxes here and we don't ask them to pay it back, but somehow using the money to help Americans in debt is wrong?" This is a topic to debate another time, but Invested Alternative does give money to help Americans in debt! How about donating to a cause that alleviates people's problems, then later getting your money back to donate to your political cause of choice? You can do both with Invested Alternative.
4) I have worked for some good employers and some bad employers. The difference is huge! Employees that are treated well and respected will almost always stay much longer and perform better because they are also invested in the well being of the business. Many business owners are just more concerned about making their profit. Employees are expendable tools to reach their goal. I am a big fan of company profit sharing. Employees that worked to make those profits, deserve a fair bonus beyond the standard wage.
As Invested Alternative grows, a portion of the growth is dedicated to increasing the prize amounts and giving out more of them to participants in "Know Your Neighbors." When we do better, everyone else enjoys the benefit too. The lions share of the growth continues to be given out to help people through our sweepstakes and giveaways.
5) There were a few points early in my career where I had to work two jobs to help us get by. We were able to scrape by paycheck to paycheck originally, but getting the second job is what allowed us to pay off debt and upgrade our lives with new clothes, appliances, maybe a vehicle, tools, etc. The extra income could also help us afford a few other luxuries, vacations, and save. Surviving and living paycheck to paycheck is one thing, but too many people are falling short of that next step of being able to save, upgrade their lives, and enjoy some luxuries and leisure. There's also that issue of people living relatively paycheck to paycheck, even with big incomes, but that's because they fill it up with things like expensive private schools, vacations, power sport toys and other things. That's a different issue entirely.
In my immediate community there are neighborhoods of wealthy people and neighborhoods of poor just one or two streets away from each other. The poor neighborhoods suffer from their lack of capital to "play" with. They cannot invest anything meaningful to have their money work for them. They might have too much debt, not enough income, or some combination of both. Not enough resources to save and upgrade their lives. Invested Alternative works to remedy that to some degree. We can't make everyone rich, but we can work to ease some burdens that will benefit the poor, upgrading their lives to put them in better positions, and the rich can invest in the process, growing their wealth at the same time and strengthening the whole community!
To recap, Invested Alternative is like the following:
1) A church that gives to its community and members instead of its own leaders and organization, a redistribution of wealth where the principal amount can be returned to donors.
2) An endowment fund for the alumni of life's rat race to help those still learning, struggling, and starting out.
3) A political campaign with contributions sponsoring people and solving problems instead of sponsoring candidates that might not even win or solve any issues.
4) A business that shares profits and growth with its employees. As we grow, you grow.
5) A 2nd income to help a poor community pay off debt and make important life upgrades.
Invested Alternative lets people be charitable, by only borrowing money.
How It Started:
The world of finance is a mystery to many, but it is fascinating. There are many tricks and tools people use to make money for themselves and others, sometime making a LOT of money, and sometimes losing a lot of money on investments that go bad. There's an activist side of me that wants to help others. I see so much struggling and suffering in the world right along with so much excess wealth enjoyed by others. Wealthy people use finance to maintain that status and grow even more. I want to use it to help others who don't know how and don't have the means.
I have a dream of growing an organization that can be very popular for the great good we do at bridging these two opposites of the "haves" and "have nots," by providing a safe way for "haves" to give money without losing it permanently, and for the "have nots" to receive the extra boost they need in life.
I started with a lump sum of my savings to get the investment fund started. It will always produce enough to meet current needs, so money isn't just taken from new donors to pay the former donors. That's illegal. Instead, every new donation just grows the fund since there's already a capacity limit to provide for current needs.
Help lift others out of poverty situations and struggles with indebtedness. Make some money for yourself in the process as well. See our "how it works" page to learn more as well.
The main focus of our discussion is about what struggles people face trying to get into or maintain a middle-class life and prepare for a better future. What would help? We discuss jobs, economy, politics, inequality, other life observations, and most importantly, helping people. Get to know us better and join the conversation.