Author: Suzanne Leigh

Your Money In The News – September 2018

This month’s Your Money In The News:? Women are getting ripped off – 6 tips to help balance the scale. Car shopping? Avoid this money suck. College students can win the credit card game with these 3 steps. Save tons on interest with these refinancing tips, and more…

It Costs More to Be a Woman:? 6 Tips to Help Even the Scale – WellWallet

In our society, women?s money experiences are vastly different than men?s. ?Money is divided along gender lines in ways that might not be obvious at first

The issues:

Pay Gap – Women live longer than men and make less than men. Women have to save more than men to retire.

Pink TaxGender specific consumable goods are more expensive for women. women pay more for pink packaged products 42% of the time.

Career breaksWomen often take time off to raise children, or take care of aging parents. ?As a result, women?s earning potential is greatly disadvantaged.

Male oriented adviceFinancial Services under-serve women. When/if women marry, financial advisors often address the husband or have him as the primary contact.

Under-investingBecause financial information has been historically directed at men, fewer women invest in stocks than their male counterparts

Distressed decisionsWomen are more likely to assume control over finances during the most difficult times. This is usually during or after a divorce, or death.

Social status – Society expects women to be ?generous?. ?To achieve social status, women are often pitched to serve on volunteer boards, or to chair fundraising committees. They are encouraged to donate their time and money.

Six steps women can take today to narrow the gap

Start an investment account or contribute just 1% more. – Even if you think you don?t make enough to invest, think again. You start an investment account easily with only $50.

If someone is managing your investments, take the initiative and call them to discuss it. – Find out what you?re invested in. Many advisors make a commission from suggesting (often high cost) investment products to you. Knowledge is power.

Ask for a raise if you haven?t gotten one in a couple of years – No employer is going to give away money, you have to ask for it.

Take responsibility for your financial education. – Sure, it?s a given that many of us did not learn about finances in school, but don?t let that stop you from using one of the greatest resources available. Everything you need to learn about is online. Take responsibility and dive in.

Buy generic or male-branded consumer products.No one is going to notice if you shave your legs with a blue or pink razor.

Talk about money.The more women open up about money, the less uncomfortable we will be discussing financial issues.

Related:? Meet Three Pioneering Women in Impact Investing

Car Shopping: ?How to Avoid The Biggest Money Suck – CNBC

According to an annual AAA study, it costs roughly $8,849 to operate a new per year. But that’s not the biggest expense you?ll face if you buy new.

Everyone knows, or at least they should, that a new car depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot. But what you may know is that after only one year of ownership, your car loses an average of 30% of its value. Does this mean we should stop buying new? Maybe.

Based upon the news lately, who knows if the price of new cars will increase in the future.

But let?s talk about what we do know to be true.

What are the options for not buying a new car?

Lately people are liking the the circular economy approach. In 2017:

  • used car sales up 1.8%
  • new car sales were down 2% ?

When considering buying a car, you shouldn?t just look at the purchase price of a car, but also the interest rate to finance the car, and weigh that against the length of time you plan to own the car.

Certified pre-owned cars often include a warranty, which can save bundles over time.

So, don?t think you have to drive a hooptie just because you don?t buy new.

And you can throw the savings into a sweet little investment account to counter the interest rate if you do finance a pre-owned.

Related:? 10 Quick Ways to Save Money While Helping the Planet

How College Students Can Win the Credit Card Game – Hutchnews

  • 25% of college students graduate with over $5,000 in credit card debt
  • 10% of college students graduate with over $10,000 in credit card debt

That?s a lot of interest for the lenders. And they target this demographic specifically because they know this.

The Better Business Bureau wants college kids and their parents to be aware of this so that they can try to make better financial choices. The BBB wants you to understand that:

  • Colleges get paid well by credit card companies to market their cards on campus.
  • Credit card companies often offer a free gift, both at on campus events and off campus events, ?if students fill out the application.
  • Credit card companies are now hitting up students in emails and on Facebook to solicit sign-ups

A credit card application should be looked at as the beginning of years of many transactions, rather than a vehicle to get a t-shirt or a discount coupon.

Students should not take the decision to get a credit card lightly. They should do their research and shop around while keeping these three key points in mind.

  1. Take the time to look at several different offers.
  2. Don?t settle for anything with more than a zero annual fee.
  3. Get the lowest interest rate available.

With rent, student loan payments and car payments, the last thing a recent graduate needs is the burden of high interest consumer debt.

Related:? Should You Refinance Your Credit Card Debt?

Why Refinancing Your Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan Can Save You a Ton – Credible

There has been an increase in consumers paying off their credit cards with lower-cost personal loans. Why? You can save a lot of money in the long game.

The average interest rate of credit cards is 15.54%., while?the average interest rate of a personal loan is 10.31%.?That?s a difference of 5.23%, which translates into a savings of $590 for a borrower refinancing $10,000 in credit card debt paid off over two years.

What explains the growing gap between the interest rates for credit cards and personal loans?

In short, credit card rates track the Federal Reserve?s moves closely, while personal loan rates can be more sensitive to market forces.

Federal Interest Rate hikes?- Variable-rate credit cards are typically indexed to the prime rate. Whenever the Fed raises its target for the federal funds rate (which it?s done seven times since December, 2015), the prime rate usually follows.

The financial crisis – Low personal loan rates became available in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and Great Recession.

Fintech – Fintech uses technology to cut the cost of originating and funding loans and pass that savings to consumers. Fierce competition between emerging fintech companies is keeping rates down

The evolution of the personal loan industry during the last five years has been primarily driven by the rise of the fintechs. -? TransUnion

If you have credit card debt, it pays to find out what your interest rates are, and see if you can?t find a lender that can beat them in a consolidation loan. But once you pay them off, avoid the temptation to use them again.

Related:? How to Get the Best Personal Loan

How We can Make it Easier for Graduates to Manage Student Loan Debt – The Spokesman Review

Lisa Brown, D, an educator and former Washington state Senate majority leader, is a candidate for the 5th Congressional District of Washington.

What does it say about our nation?s priorities when we make it easier to refinance a car loan than a student loan? Student loans are seriously crippling our country’s future generations and affecting our economy.

  • Two-thirds of the 44 million Americans who carry nearly $1.5 trillion in student debt are women.
  • Student debt can last decades ? or even a lifetime. It?s the most difficult debt to discharge.
  • Student debt is a barrier to pursuing a higher education degree and the opportunities that come with it.
  • Student loan debt prevents young people from starting families and businesses, buying homes, and participating in our economy.
In short, student loan debt is bad for our economy.

What can we do?

  • The Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act, currently in the house, ?would lower the interest rate on federal student loans and allow Americans with multiple loans to consolidate and refinance them.
  • Along with lower costs and refinancing, we need to expand loan forgiveness programs.

The bottom line is, if our government can bail out banks, then we can find ways to help young people held back by debt. Get behind those those representatives who are trying to make it easier for our children and the future of this country.

Related:? The Real Cost of College:? A Tale of Two Students

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Sustainable and Ethical Activewear for Every Body: An Interview with Peak+Flow

As an outdoor sports enthusiast, one of my biggest concerns has always been more than just the quality of my athletic wear, but how and where it was produced. There is a great demand for sustainable and ethical activewear that is created in line with the values of outdoor athletes who care deeply for the planet.

Peak+Flow is rising to the challenge with the launch of their premiere sustainable and ethical activewear line. Peak+Flow is a new sustainable and ethical activewear brand. Their clothing uses recycled and organic materials and is made in ethical factories and is available in sizes for all body types. Peak+Flow gives back to 1% For the Planet and additional 1% to handpicked charities.

We caught up with?Founders Gaz and Joe at the launch of their?Kickstarter?to ask them about the challenges of creating a sustainable and ethical activewear line in the midst of corporate giants.



The Birth of Peak+Flow?

What was it that prompted you to see the need for sustainable and ethical athletic wear? Was it a singular moment or something that developed over time?

Peak+Flow was born out of three simple realisations which developed over time:

  • Most activewear was created using materials that were damaging to the planet. Our options were to either buy from established brands who occasionally pay lip-service to sustainability, or end up with hessian-type clothing which didn’t perform.
  • Secondly, we saw activewear as a category being dragged increasingly towards fast-fashion resulting in clothing that was over logo-ed, over-designed, and released faster than necessary to the consumer. Not everyone wants to walk around advertising a brand in fluorescent yellow.
  • Lastly, we spent time researching brands and companies manufacturing activewear and found a lack of transparency and purpose. We believe many consumers see through the gigantic advertising budgets and would like to see a company delivering on values that people care deeply about.

The result of these was both of us asking how would you build a company that would ethically create sustainable clothing.

Sustainability to us means thinking about all of the impacts our business has on society and the environment and proactively always looking to improve them.

Ranging from the materials we use to how much we pay people and what type of models or messaging we communicate to people.

We recognise this is a journey, you can?t change everything from day one, but you can set in motion a trajectory. Our vision for sustainability is circular, zero-waste, and zero damage. This vision guides our thinking in every aspect of the business, and one which if every company adopted would increase the length of time we can exist on this planet.

Sustainability to us means thinking about all of the impacts our business has on society and the environment and proactively always looking to improve them.

Had you had any previous experience in apparel?

Both founders had no experience in apparel when we started, which was probably a disadvantage and advantage in equal measure. It allowed us to continue to question why things were done a certain way, but it also meant we ended up making a number of bad decisions which cost us time and money. We?ve been incredible lucky at each point in our journey that when things went wrong someone or something came along which evolved our thinking and made us stronger as a business.

The freelance design and garment technologist members of the Peak+Flow team have experience working for a number of other apparel businesses including Nike, Sweaty Betty and Victoria Beckham.

Peak+Flow

Each piece has been thoughtfully designed and tested by people who professionally have to live in their activewear all day, every day.

What companies or individuals?inspired you?

We are really inspired by brands and founders who combine profit with purpose. Two great examples are Tom Kay (founder of Finisterre) and Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia).

Both of them started businesses from their passions, cold water surf in Tom?s case and climbing in Yvon?s, and have gone on to create amazing purpose driven companies from those.

In both cases they set out to build companies that not only built the best quality products but were socially responsible and better for their communities and the environment.

We knew when we set out it was going to be very challenging, and it still is…

The Challenges

What have been the biggest challenges you?ve faced thus far?

While sustainability and ethical manufacturing are being discussed more and more today, when we started out two years ago it wasn?t so common. It was a challenge trying to find suppliers and partners that met the standards required, while we ourselves were trying to establish our principles at the same time as learning about the industry. Quality and function have always been paramount but equal to sustainability and ethical production.

It is challenging as a new business to find partners that will work with you, and you multiply that when your demands surpass that of nearly everyone in the industry.

Peak+FlowQuality and function have always been paramount but equal to sustainability and ethical production.

The Materials

How much research did it take to choose the sustainable fabrics for your line?

We’ve spent over 18 months researching fabrics, visiting ethical manufacturing partners, and designing and testing incredible prototypes, the result of which is our first core range.

What was most important to you in choosing the fabrics?

Fabric selection is critical when creating a performance product, but, for us, it’s even more significant because it has to meet our sustainability principles.

We’ve explored hundreds of fabrics to find the best, however, even though 83% of our materials come from recycled sources; some of our clothing is created from a blend with a non-recycled fabric.

For those pieces where we haven’t been able to source fabric which is 100% sustainable – either because the material is still in development or simply because of our size – it is something we are hyper-aware of, and working tirelessly to improve.

Transparency is essential to us; we’re on a sustainability journey, and customers need to know where we stand.

Our commitment is – wherever we have used blended fabric it will never end up being single use. When customers are finished with a piece of clothing, they can return it to us, and we’ll hold on to it until the industry catches up and we can recycle it.

We’re already having conversations with industry experts such as the Founder and CEO of Worn Again, Cyndi Rhoades – whose company over the last ten years has been developing technology to recycle blended fabrics. As soon as the technology is available, we will make sure we are the first to take advantage of it.

In five years our ambition is to be creating new clothing out of the pieces people buy today (that is unless they?ve fallen in love with them and don?t want to give them back!)

Peak+Flow

Our commitment is – wherever we have used blended fabric it will never end up being single use. When customers are finished with a piece of clothing, they can return it to us, and we’ll hold on to it until the industry catches up and we can recycle it.

How about the packaging?

We’re on a journey to make everything 100% recycled or organic, and that’s not just the clothes but all the items surrounding the clothing. Our packaging uses recycled and biodegradable materials.

As an example, when we did our soft launch at Balance Festival earlier this year, we had lots of comments related to our ability to look further than the clothing. At the show, everything from the stand to the clothes hangers to our business cards and hang-tags came from recycled materials.

Everything from the stand to the clothes hangers to our business cards and hang-tags came from recycled materials.

The Manufacturers

Was it difficult to confirm that the factories that claim they are ethical, were actually ethical?

We always knew we had to visit the manufacturers to confirm the standards we wanted. It would’ve been the easy route to take the certificates and audits at face value and point to them if things went wrong, but we decided early in our journey we needed to go ourselves. Doing this proved to be the right decision. It was eye-opening.

We scheduled meetings with a few manufacturers in Sri Lanka, all of which had the right level of certificates and answered the questions well before we went about their standards and ethical practices. A couple were already suppliers to large brands who had also done audits they could point to which was useful.

There are two types of manufacturer. One who cares about how they treat their staff, the work environment and the conditions, and the other who is only doing it because the big brands have asked them too.

Our visit to Sri Lanka taught us a valuable lesson: there were two types of manufacturer. One who cares about how they treat their staff, the work environment and the conditions, and the other who is only doing it because the big brands have asked them too.

If you were to only look at their paper certifications, then they would appear very similar if not identical, but when you visit in person, you come away with very different experiences and opinions.

We were fortunate to meet a manufacturer that cares deeply about their staff. They have a creche for the children, they pay into a central fund that helps in emergencies, and they pay above average (a high percentage over the minimum for all people.)

How was the experience navigating factories until you found those that you felt good about?

Finding someone to make our clothes has been the hardest thing we have done and the main reason it has taken us longer than planned to launch. The challenge for any new clothing businesses is most factories don?t want to work with you. The risk and cost for them are too high, and in some cases, their insurers won?t cover them to work with startups.

In addition to the capital/size requirements, we then had to layer on top of that our demands for quality, sustainability, transparency and ethical manufacturing. So the already small pool of potential partners becomes even smaller. Many manufacturers don?t want you to tell anyone else you are working with them – we weren?t expecting transparency to be such a sticking point.

Peak+Flow

In addition to the capital/size requirements, we then had to layer on top of that our demands for quality, sustainability, transparency and ethical manufacturing. So the already small pool of potential partners becomes even smaller

You have to find a partner that you feel good about working with and that you aren?t just taking because there are no other options.

When we started out, we looked at brands like Finisterre and thought we would follow them and produce in Portugal. They are well known for activewear and being in Europe would be appropriately governed. It turned out no one wanted to work with the numbers we had.

Next, we thought we would produce in the UK. It would be close to home, it would have good governance, and we could say we produced locally. That turned out to be almost impossible. The partners we found here really let us down. They were challenging to work with and, sadly, the capability to produce at high quality and scale has unfortunately left the UK.

This finally led us to Sri Lanka. We did a lot of research into options around the world, and we felt that they were the leaders in ethical manufacturing. They have a program called Garments without Guilt (which our manufacturing partner is a member of), and they have a robust legal framework in place for protecting workers. When we carried out the visit that we mentioned above, we came away feeling confident that we had found the right place and partner to make our garments.

The Premiere Product Line

What pieces will you include in your premiere line?

Our first essentials range focuses on clothing for a variety of active pursuits from yoga to surfing, and everything in between.?Each piece has been thoughtfully designed and tested by people who professionally have to live in their activewear all day, every day.

We have two product groups, Peak pieces, and Flow pieces. Peak pieces are designed for the explosive sports like HiiT and running. The Flow pieces are designed more for movement sports like surfing and yoga.

The 10 essentials are 5 women’s pieces (Peak Leggings, Peak Sports Bra, Peak Shorts, Flow Swimsuit, Flow Vest) and 5 men’s (Peak Shorts, Peak T-Shirt, Peak Vest, Flow Boardshorts and Flow Vest)?

Everything we create is designed to cover as many body shapes and sizes as possible.

We want to make sure that everyone who wants to wear activewear has the opportunity, and we encourage everyone to care for their health and the health of the planet.

Everything we create is designed to cover as many body shapes and sizes as possible.

Giving Back

What factors made you choose 1% For The Planet for giving back?

We found out about 1% for the Planet through the book Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard – the founder of Patagonia. We then started looking into what they do and how they work and it was the right option for us to be able to support environmental causes.

What type of qualities will you be looking for when you handpick the charities that you give the additional 1% to each year?

We are looking for charities that are close to our hearts and also the values of Peak+Flow.

What is unique to Peak+Flow is the combination of materials, ethical production, inclusive sizing, transparency and how we give back to the community – we are members of 1% for the Planet, and we also give an additional 1% of revenue to charities we choose.

The Future

What are your dreams for the future of Peak+Flow? Do you plan on branching into other specific sportswear i.e. skiing, surfing, sailing…etc.

It is day 1 for Peak+Flow, and we want to focus on producing the best sustainable activewear that we possibly can. We want to keep finding the best recycled and organic materials to make that happen. We want people to see us as the sustainable and ethical alternative to the big activewear brands.

How important do you think the role of businesses is in protecting the planet and its people?

We can do everything we can as individuals to change our habits and protect the planet but ultimately we need businesses to create sustainable and ethical options for people. We all need to make better choices, and we need companies to provide and be driving those choices.

Do you feel optimistic that more and more companies will adopt a socially and environmentally conscious focus in the future? If so, why?

Yes, absolutely. There are two types of companies that are socially and environmentally conscious, those that do it because they genuinely believe in it and those that are doing it as a response to the market asking for it. While the second type might seem inauthentic, they are still heading in the right direction, and that can only be a good thing. As consumers demand brands to be socially and environmentally conscious, the market will respond. We will also see more companies (like Peak+Flow) starting from day 1 to be that way.

  • Peak+Flow’s Kickstarter?is live. You can find them at?www.peakandflow.com
  • By participating in their Kickstarter?within the next 24 hours, you can get at least 20% discount by pre-ordering and being part of the crowdfunding.
  • Check out Peak+Flow on Instagram:? ?@peakandflow

We all need to make better choices, and we need companies to provide and be driving those choices.


As seen in…

Peak+Flow


Related:? Why Fast Fashion Becomes Fast Trash

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Conscious Capitalism in the News – August Roundup

In this August’s Conscious Capitalism in the News:? Indian school kids mail plastic back to manufacturers, blockchain meets impact investing, how to become a socially conscious investor, and more…

Socially Conscious Investing for Beginners: ?How Do I Start? – Techbullion

Social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and the philosophy of conscious capitalism have made headways over that last decade. Why?

We all know that there are huge problems to solve which are not being effectively addressed by world governments.

The publicization of corporate scandals and the transparency of social media has made us all aware that we need to take responsibility for our planet, the people (all of us) and our financial health. Companies are stepping in to solve these problems. And these are the companies that are going to be around for the long game.

But what you might not be aware of is that socially conscious investing can be also quite profitable. And with its rise in popularity has come an increase in opportunities that make impact investing easy for everyone (not just accredited investors!)

Roboadvisors and online platforms allow anyone to invest. Some for as little as $50 to get started.

So, if you are interested in changing the world while changing your financial future, give socially responsible investing a look. Techbullion has some beginner tips that will help you better define your strategy.

Related: ?Governments and Emojis Can?t Solve World Problems: ?We Can

30% of all Food Globally is Wasted Per Year: ?Start-Ups Develop Solutions – CB Insights

Why do we waste food?

There are many factors involved. And most of them have to do with the global supply chain.

Think about it. Produce and proteins have to travel many miles before making it to a store, and eventually to your plate. One third of all the food produced never makes it to your plate. This food waste costs the grocery business 18 billion per year.

Enter startups focused on solving global food supply chain problems. They are working on a variety of solutions. From oxygen-monitoring sensors inside freight containers to plant-based preservative formulas.

Preserving food through its journey from source to fork can help battle extensive food waste.

Yale, America?s 2nd Largest Endowment, Says ?No? to Assault Weapons Retailers – Inside Higher Ed

A faculty member asked the university to divest from companies that make military-style assault rifles. The Yale investing community agreed, sort of. They decided not to invest in traditional retail distributors or promoters and dealers who sell assault weapons at gun shows.

Yale is taking a position that there is a distinction between retail distributors and manufacturers. They still believe that assault weapons ?may be used for sanctioned purposes by the military and law enforcement.? Therefore, they won?t be divesting from the source of assault weapons, only from some of the weapon?s retailers.

Yale is committed to research, scholarship and education for the betterment of the world; this requires an environment in which teachers and students are free from gun violence and the fear of gun violence. – Yale Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility

The new policy apparently won?t cause Yale to sell any of its current holdings.

Related: ?Are There Guns in Your Wallet?

Sustainable Brands Rising to The Challenge – Forbes

Companies, and activists generally use the word ?sustainable? in reference to environmental issues. However, more companies are now also addressing social issues in their environmental sustainability programs because they are realizing how interrelated they are.

Examples of sustainability initiatives include:

  • Developing sustainable products and services
  • Creating positions like Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Publishing sustainability reports
The greatest realization brands must make is that sustainability goes beyond caring for the environment.

88% of business school students believe that environmental and social issues are priorities in business. An increasing number of first-time entrepreneurs are building their companies around environmental protection. This has led to the rise of promising startups that focus on durable, eco-friendly and recycled products.

Consumer studies indicate that today?s consumers support corporate activism and are more likely to spend a bit more on a sustainable brand.

The greatest realization brands must make is that sustainability goes beyond caring for the environment.

Sustainability involves three major aspects — environmental, economic and social — each of which must be taken into consideration for a true sustainability strategy.

Related:? 10 Quick Ways to Make Money While Helping the Planet

Open Call For Sustainable Solutions – Anheuser-Busch Invites Innovators to Help Solve Sustainability Challenges

Anheuser-Busch invites innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, and anyone with a passion for building a more sustainable future, to apply to its new 100+ Accelerator program. The program seeks to bring together creative minds from across the country to tackle some of the most pressing global sustainability issues.

The issues have been grouped into 10 specific challenges, developed with input from internal and independent experts around the world.

  1. ????Every Single Drop

How can we address watershed conservation, improve water access, and reduce water wastage?

  1. ????Smart Agriculture

Agriculture science is rapidly advancing yet many growers do not have access to that technology. How can we protect crops from disease and pests and how can we use technology to ensure zero waste occurs in the sorting of malt barley?

  1. ????Close The Loop

What greener alternatives exist for packaging and how can we make sure that the collection and recycling of waste is more efficient in developing economies?

  1. ????The Future of Brewing

How can we use technology at the various stages of the brewing process to increase efficiency and reduce waste?

  1. ????Carbon Action

What are the cutting-edge renewable energy solutions for farms, how can technology be used to monitor energy and increase efficiency and what new solutions are there for removing carbon from the atmosphere?

  1. ????Safer & Greener Logistics

How can smart, safe, fuel-efficient logistics transform the supply chain footprint?

  1. ????Responsible Sourcing

How can we increase transparency of complex supply chains and what scalable solutions could enhance responsible sourcing practices?

  1. ????Empowering Small Business

How can we effectively disseminate knowledge and transfer technology throughout the small businesses in our supply chain? How can we promote economic productivity through digital training and financial inclusion?

  1. ????Waste To Wellbeing

The current food supply and how we consume globally is not sustainable. Can the millions of tons of grain and yeast co-product be repurposed and used to help feed those who need it?

  1. ?All Hands

How can our company improve its working environment to make it more focused on recycling, conserving water, and travelling more efficiently?

Individuals or startups can submit their solutions to any of the ten challenges, with successful applicants to receive funding and other support including access to new networks and mentorship. Application forms and more details are available on the 100+ Accelerator website. The deadline for submissions is 12:00AM PST, September 14, 2018 .

Blockchain Meets Impact Investing to Tackle UN Sustainability Goals – Information Age

The Sweetbridge Alliance has been around since 2003. It is a group of small and large organizations and educational institutions working towards optimizing a sustainable supply chain ecosystem to help meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Global Goals set by the UN.

Blockchain-focused organization ixo have joined the Sweetbridge Alliance with a common aim for increased financial sustainability. Ixo?s mission is to build a trusted global information network that is owned by everyone, enabling anyone to become the creators of their own impact projects and stakeholders in other the projects they believe in.

Anyone should have the opportunity to participate in the fast-growing impact economy, to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that no person gets left behind. – Dr Shaun Conway, president and founder of the ixo Foundation

The implementation of ixo?s protocols will initially allow Sweetbridge to verify impacts relating to supply of capital, goods and services. This will eventually lead to the development of Sweetbridge?s cryptocurrency token, Bridgecoin (BRC), which would see these projects receiving low-cost loans.

We have long supported the Triple Bottom Line approach of using data and decentralised technologies to drive better outcomes through supply chains, not just for improving financial performance and reducing costs, but ensuring sustainable environmental practices and supporting the health and welfare of all workers and society in general. – Mac McGary, President of the Sweetbridge Alliance Network

Related:? Create Impact with a Unique, Ethical Engagement Ring

Indian School Children Mail Plastic Packaging Back to Manufacturers – Return To Now

Plastic waste is piling up in the streets and city councilors in India have come up with a solution.? They’ve asked school children to round up plastic packaging, and mail it back to the manufacturers.

Students from one middle school in the port city of?Thoothukudi collected, sorted, and mailed more than 20,000 packaged food wrappers?back to the companies who manufactured them in less than two weeks.

More than 50% of the wrappers came from a company called?Britannia?(owned primarily by Nabisco) which makes biscuits, bread and cakes.

Along with the wrappers, the students sent a letter:

?We are happy with the taste and quality of your products, but unhappy with the plastic packaging. We want to ensure a safe environment for our future generations and minimize our plastic footprint. We have decided to collect used plastic wrappers of your products and send them to you for safe disposal. Please help us savor your products without guilt, by introducing eco-friendly packaging.?

The companies also received a letter from Thoothukudi commissioner reminding them of a 2016 law which states that producers, importers and brand owners are responsible for collecting plastic waste left by their products, not municipalities. He has given them two months to come up with a plan to clean up their own mess.

Related:? Top 5 Ways to End Plastic in the Oceans

 

 

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Your Money In The News – August 2018

This Month:? ?The Feds are raising interest rates so the time to tackle consumer debt is now. Learn how to move beyond shame and regret and face your debt. Read why the best ROI you?ll ever have comes from paying down your credit cards today. All generations carry consumer debt: ?see the breakdown. Learn how to talk to your loved ones about their debt.

The United States of Debt: ?A Breakdown by Generation – CNBC

  • Gen Z & younger millennials😕 $22,000 – Student loans are the highest source of debt followed by credit card balances.
  • Older millennials:? $42,000 – Credit card balances are the leading source of debt followed by student loans.
  • GenX: ?$39,000Home mortgages are the No. 1 source of debt. Credit card debt is the No. 2 source.
  • Baby boomers: $36,000 – Mortgages are the top source of debt followed by credit cards and car loans. A third of baby boomers have less than $25,000 put away for their golden years.

 

Eternally Indebted by Northwestern Mutual

Despite recognizing that debt is dangerous waters, Americans are jumping in with both feet and struggling to stay afloat. – Emily Holbrook, Director of Planning, Northwestern Mutual.

3 Steps to Lose Your Shame and Face Your Debt – WellWallet

How to Transform Hopelessness Into Hope

Step 1) Discovery

If you don?t know what the disease is, you cannot treat it. Period.?It’s not easy at first to pull up all of your accounts and write down how much you owe and the interest rate you?re paying.?Swallow your pride, look at your situation square in the face, and take a deep breathe.?You can?t begin to move on from money regrets until you can actually quantify your current financial strengths and weaknesses. Knowledge is power when it comes to repairing your finances.

Step 2) Research Your Options

Once you know where you stand, it?s easier to see where you can go.?Everyone?s situation is going to be different. But what may be the same for a lot of us is that we can?t keep living like we have been and expect to get away with it in the long game. Ask yourself the deep questions and try to answer honestly:

Step 3) Action

After researching, make a plan and take action. You might decide to use balance transfer cards, consolidation loans, or pick up a part-time job. Your plan could require you to refinance something or liquidate assets. It may even involve completely changing your lifestyle, where you live, where and how you work, or what you drive.

No matter how bad you think it is now, it could be worse. And if you do nothing, it will get worse. The pre-emptive strike for financial disaster is to stop the bleeding, start the healing, and be patient with yourself. It doesn’t matter how bad you think it is, the only thing that matters is that you start.

The pre-emptive strike for financial disaster is to stop the bleeding, start the healing, and be patient with yourself.

Credit Card Debt Just Became More Expensive – Now is the Time to Plan Your Escape – Equities

In June 2018, the Federal Reserve increased the target range for the federal funds rate by .25%, up to 2%. Credit cards have variable rates. Variable rates connect to the ?prime rate,? and the prime rate ties to the federal funds rate. When federal funds rates increase, interest rates increase.

Now is the time to aggressively pay down your credit card debt before accumulating more of it due to rate increases.

Related: ?DIY Credit Card Debt: ?A Guide to Permanent Debt Relief

Don?t Pay Only Minimum Payments

Credit card companies want you to only pay the minimum because it maximizes their profits. But the longer you take paying off your debt, the more you will pay in interest. Even increasing your minimum payment by 50$ can cut years of interest off your debt.

Snowball Method

Paying down the lowest balance first while continuing to make minimum payments on your other cards gives you a psychological advantage. Once you?ve paid off the lowest balance, throw that extra money at the next card.

Related:Credit Card Payoff Strategies: ?What the Card Companies Don?t Want You to Know

Balance Transfer Cards

Eliminate 100% of interest if you transfer your balance to a balance transfer card and pay it off during the 0% introductory period (usually 6-21 months.)

Shop around for a balance transfer card that comes with:

  • low/zero up-front fees
  • low/zero interest during the intro-period

Tip: ?Make sure to keep your credit cards open after paying the balances in full because it can affect your credit utilization score on your FICO report if you close the accounts.

Related:? Know Your FICO:? A Guide to Understanding Your Credit Score

Home Equity Line

Equity lines of credit usually have a lower interest rate than any other type of bank loan. The downside to using a home equity line of credit to pay off credit card debt is that, because you?re switching from unsecured debt to secured debt, ?you risk losing your property if you were ever to stop paying on the debt.

Related: ?Should You Refinance Your Credit Card Debt?

Ask Your Creditor to Reduce the Interest Rate

Call your creditor. Ask for a supervisor. Let them know you were approached by another creditor who was offering you a lower rate on a similar card but that you’d rather stay with them if they’d be willing to reduce your interest rate from 15% down to 8%. Negotiate to an amount somewhere in the middle.

Debt Relief Programs (A Last Resort to Avoid Bankruptcy)

You make payments to the debt relief company and they make your monthly payments to your creditors, but at the reduced interest rate which they have negotiated on your behalf. Be careful! These programs require your account to go delinquent so that your debts get written off by your original creditor and sold to a third party. This is how these companies can negotiate a lower balance/interest rate. Your credit score will take a nose dive, but it won?t be as bad of an impact on your credit report over the long-term as a bankruptcy.

Related: ?Know the Wolf: ?Credit Counseling vs Debt Settlement

3 Solid Incentives for Biting the Bullet and Tackling Your Debt Today – Motley Fool

1. You’ll get the best guaranteed ROI possible

Look at it this way:? If you have a $10,000 credit card balance with a 17% interest rate and you pay it off immediately, it costs you $10,000. But $10,000 paid off using minimum payments over the next 10 years, will cost you $20,000. Therefore, your ROI by paying it off immediately is 100%. You can?t get that kind of return on investment in the stock market.

2. You can take advantage of economic crisis rather suffer from it

You need some room for life to happen. And life happens. If you are strapped with credit card payments and a crisis hits, you won?t be in any position to weather it. You will still have to make minimum payments every month. And even if you file for bankruptcy you can?t discharge your student loan debt.

But if you prioritize paying off high-interest debt, you can set yourself up to actually profit when the market tanks. Stocks go on sale, and real-estate drops dramatically. When that happens, only those who have cash in the bank can take advantage. By eliminating high-interest debt and accumulating that cash, you set yourself up to be able to take advantage of economic crises, rather than becoming a victim of them.

3. Learning to live frugally has additional benefits

If you force yourself to stop spending and start paying down high-interest debt, you might realize something life-changing:? you quickly adjust to not having those “extras” in your life, and don’t really suffer in their absence. This can lead to a complete mindset shift allowing you to free up more of your life and time, and save and invest the money you have gotten accustomed to not spending.

Related: ?From Frugality to Financial Freedom: ?A Path for All

How To Talk to Your Friends and Family About Their Debt – AxcessNews

Even though it is more common than not to carry debt, it?s very difficult to talk about. Money and emotions are tightly intertwined. Debt, in particular, incites shame, guilt and fear. It?s especially problematic because it can drive people to spend even further above their means in an attempt to prove financial stability to themselves and those around them.

Related: ?Why We Can?t Save

Start The Conversation

If you?ve experienced similar struggles, be transparent about your own journey. ?Acknowledge the difficulty of talking about money. Don?t guilt trip or give them ultimatums. Give them hope. You want them to come away feeling empowered, not attacked. Let them know you are there for them for support, motivation and guidance.

Explore Real Debt Relief Options

Sometimes people in debt are simply overwhelmed and don?t know where to start. Try to get a rough understanding of the type and extent of their debt so that you can go into your conversation with a rough idea of the options available to them, including the pros and cons of each. By researching some options and evaluating them alongside your loved one, you could ?be their catalyst for change.

Related: ?Money: Talk About It

5 Steps to Move Your High Interest Credit Card Balance to a Zero Interest Card – Bankrate

Many credit card issuers offer cards with zero or low ?introductory interest periods as a marketing tool to gain new customers. If you use these properly, you can take advantage of the 0% APR period (usually 6-21 months) to pay down what you owe, save tons in interest, and pay down your debt faster.

1 – Know What You Owe

Break down all of your debt. Note your balances and interest rates. Get an estimate of your current credit score so that you have an idea of which balance transfer cards you have a chance of getting.

2 – Compare Balance Transfer Offers

  • APR (annual percentage rate): Note whether the card is low interest or zero interest. Also note what the normal interest rate will be after the introductory period. If you don?t pay your balance off by then, this would be your new interest rate.
  • Balance transfer fee: Some balance transfer cards (but not all) charge a 3-5% fee upfront. If you?re carrying a really high balance, this could translate to a lot of money.
  • Length of 0% APR offer: Understand the length of the zero/low interest rate offer and make sure that you can make a dent in your balance during that time.
  • Annual fee: Few balance transfer cards charge an annual fee. But make sure you check this anyway.

3 – Choose the Card That Suits You Best and Apply

It?s very easy to apply online for a balance transfer card. Make sure you have your information handy as you?ll need to provide some basic personal and financial data such as your name, your address, your Social Security number, and your income.

4 – Transfer Balances

Once you are approved, transfer your balance. Most likely you will do this online. Make sure to gather all the information you?ll need to transfer your balances over before you start the process. Details to gather include your credit card account numbers, bank names and addresses, and your current balances.

5 – Create a debt payoff plan

This is the point: ?to be able to pay off your balance as quickly as possible before the APR switches to a normal rate. Be aggressive here. This is only a window of opportunity. Take some time to look at your monthly bills, your bank statements and credit card bills, and your pay stubs to create a simple, monthly budget. Figure out if there are any areas in your spending you could cut, at least temporarily. Your goal is to throw as much at the balance as possible while you are not incurring interest on your debt.

Warning: ?Avoid using your cards at all costs. Do not make the mistake of transferring a balance from a card, and then continuing to use that card. This can quickly turn a good opportunity into an even worse situation.

Related:? How I Paid Down My Debt

 

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Forget Retirement – Here’s Why You Need to Start Investing Now

No time (or money) to start investing for something so far away?

The first time I ever heard the term ?retirement savings? was when I landed a job with a traditional company in my 20s. We got called in by our HR department and were given a spiel on market performance and company matching, most of which went right over my head because all I could think was, ?What? You wanna take even more out of my paycheck?” I could see no good reason to start investing now.

I think most of us, when we are in our 20s, just assume that we will make more money later.

Retirement was so far off the map for me. (How ’bout some help with this student loan payment instead, eh?) I understood that the company was also matching up to a certain percentage. But the money that they’re taking out of my paycheck, what are they doing with it? Where is it going? I need it now.

Related: Get $50 to Start Impact Investing

I think most of us, when we are in our 20s, just assume that we’ll make more money later. We reason that we have too many financial demands right now to worry about something so far off. It?s not uncommon to believe that we can tackle something as abstract as retirement…later.?And yet,?money grows faster over time thanks to compounding. That means that the?more time you have to grow your money, the more your money will grow. In other words, the earlier you start, the more money you will have.

You can see why delaying retirement savings is the exact opposite of what you should be doing, right? But ?should? is such an ugly word. So let?s stop trying to force the issue on ourselves. Forget about retirement. Seriously, just forget about it.

Forget about ?retirement.? Seriously, just forget about it.

Instead, think about how you can make the money you are earning today even more powerful. Because not only can you grow your money faster the earlier you start investing, but you can even help to support changes that you want to see in the world by investing your money in companies that are solving the world?s biggest problems.

Think about something fun (that’s just a few years away)

Instead of retirement, how does a down payment for a house in 10 years sound? Or a gap year to travel the planet? Or enough eff-you money to quit your job and start your own business? If you start investing now, you are going to approach these goals much faster than if you merely stuff your savings in a savings account.

Why you’ll reach your goals faster if you start investing

1. You’re losing money in a savings account

Savings accounts have lower returns that simply can?t keep up with the cost of inflation.?Savings accounts pay you 0.75 – 1.9% interest?per year. Compare that to the average annual inflation rate, which has been?3.15% per year since 1913.?This means you are actually losing money over the long term by keeping it in a savings account! What?

2. A savings account isn’t safer (over the long term)

It is true that a savings account is safer than an investment account…in the short term. That’s because investments can go up or down depending on how the companies in your portfolio perform. However, as long as you are not day trading or planning to take the money out in the short term, investing is a much better bet than saving if you?re looking to grow your wealth.?

Over time, it?s more risky to keep your money locked up in a savings account because you are taking away from your future by 1) allowing inflation to eat away at your savings and 2) not taking advantage of market growth.

3. You’ll make more money in the market

The stock market has returned an average of 7% per year since 1926. The lowest return that the stock market has ever had during any 20 year period has been 6.4%. And the best? 18%. Compare that to the paltry 1-2% return in a savings account. If you start investing today, you’ll make a lot more over time than you would in a savings account.

When you take the ?retirement? out of the title, growing your money by investing seems a lot more approachable. Investing your money is better than merely saving ?cash? when you have 10 years to let your money compound on itself. Think of a 10 year horizon. Start investing for a mini-retirement or for a specific goal (like a home or the trip of a lifetime that is 10 years away, not 40 years away.)

How to start investing for profit and impact?

Here?s the good news:? now you can invest in companies that support your view of the world. This is called impact investing.

Today you can choose to invest in portfolios that give you a better return than a savings account and support your values.?Pissed off at fracking? Invest in green tech. Frustrated by wage inequality? Invest in gender funds. Hate how we are destroying the oceans? Invest in companies that don?t contribute to environmental destruction.

Today?s generation has many more options. Impact investing is making a difference in our world, and making people wealthy in the process.

Here’s another bonus: if donation is not in the financial cards for you right now, impact investing is another way to put money in your pocket while also having a positive impact. That?s because when you impact invest, you are buying equity in companies that are changing the world.?

Start investing, even if you have debt

Some people think they don?t have enough money to start investing because they have consumer debt or student loans. Paying down your debt is crucial. But the thing is, developing good money habits also takes time. It is important to pay yourself first.?This is why we believe in saving (emergency fund), paying down debt and investing simultaneously, right from the start.?

Developing good money habits takes time. The amount you invest doesn’t matter. It is the act of starting that matters most.

The amount you invest doesn?t matter. It is the act of starting that matters. Automating it and staying consistent matters. Setting something aside for your future self, no matter how small, matters. To win the money game, you need to set yourself up with a good money mindset, right from the start.

Think about how good you will feel when you create a little account that is just for you and your future. Start small and start now. It only takes $50 to open an impact investing account. In fact, our partner Swell Investing will even match all WellWallet readers with an additional $50 investment when you sign up.?

Become an investor. Start investing today.

Our partners at?Swell Investing?have agreed to give all WellWallet readers $50 toward their portfolio when you open an account. You can start impact investing with as little as $50. That means when you put in $50, you?ll get another $50 from Swell Investing. Use the code?WELLWALLET?when you set up your account. To learn more, read our in-depth review of Swell Investing.

Jump in. You don?t have to think about retirement to start investing for your future. In a few months, you’ll look back and be glad you started investing.

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