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? For a monthly subscription of $4 or $5 a month, which is not a lot compared to any other subscription and donations I usually pay out, a group of a thousand people can give a thousand dollars collectively each week to help one of their own. Some people may feel more generous to contribute more too.
To avoid legal and financial security issues with running a type of lottery, we instead randomly choose a member as a weekly winner and all participants donate to them directly. However, we do run a membership option too. Income gained from membership fees, website ad revenue, and other income sources are pooled to fund an endowment fund. This fund buys investments and the income from those investments pay the administrative fees for Invested Alternative and pays for more giving opportunities to give gifts exclusively to members.
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. 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 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 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.
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.