Tag: Socially Responsible Banks

5 Ways to Free Up Cash Without A Side Gig

Free Up Cash and Keep Your Latte

?Get a side gig? or “give up your latte” have become the most clich?d-advice given to those looking to free up cash. Many of us neither have the time nor do we want to work more than we already do. And while spending habits are indeed a key player in watching cash flow, there are other areas of regular ?leakage? that are often overlooked. So, if you’re looking to free up cash, why not consider some fresh options to cut expenses on regular services that could save you a ton in the long run.

1. Basic Utilities

Many of us don’t give our utility bills a second thought because we don’t believe we have a choice. The pricing strategies of corporate America are designed to make us believe that it costs what it costs. Most consumers are not aware of the price creep and hidden fees that sneak into our monthly bills over time. And even fewer are aware that they can actually negotiate these.

For those who either don’t want to bother negotiating with their utility companies, or don’t want to be confrontational, did you know that there are companies that will do this for you at no charge to you? One company that both empowers consumers and gives back to the community,?BillShark, has an 85% success rate in lowering?bills for Cable TV, Wireless Phone, Satellite TV, Internet Access, Satellite Radio, and Home Security. When you upload your bills to their site, they advise you how much they can save you each year. Using their service costs you nothing as they only take a percentage of the amount of money they save for you. It’s a guaranteed win-win.?Since launching in 2016, BillShark has saved its clients more than $10 million, with average customer savings totaling about $300 per bill annually.

Well Wallet Tip:??For?every bill you submit to BillShark, they will pay for one child to receive one hour of instruction in the fundamentals of personal finance through their?One BILL, One CHILD?program.?BillShark is a socially responsible company. As BillShark’s ethos is empowering the consumer, they believe that financial literacy is strength.?

Related content:? 7 Ways to Make Your Home a Sustainable Source of Income

2. Cell Phones

This is another area that many people overlook but that can save you hundreds of dollars per year if you are willing to do a bit of research. There are tons of options for consumers today as cell phone service providers compete for your business. According to a survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center, nearly half of survey participants who?switched providers cut their monthly bill by at least $20 per month. If you want to see if you can save $240 dollars per year or more, set aside a few hours and look into your carrier’s competitors to see if you can get a better deal.

Well Wallet Tip:? Did you know that paying $20-$50 dollars more than the minimum payment of your credit card bill can save you thousands in interest over time? Put those savings to work for you and pay down your consumer debt.

Related content:? Credit Card Pay Off Strategies:? What the Card Companies Don’t Want You to Know

3. Monthly Memberships

Are you really getting your money’s worth from that expensive monthly gym membership? Do you really take advantage of that online book club you pay 10 bucks a month for? Take a good honest look at the passive fees escaping your bank account or being charged to your credit card each month. If you have been paying for a service monthly that you haven’t used in a while, cut it loose. Seriously. Monthly services are only convenient if you use them. Otherwise, they are just bleeding you dry. Worried that if you cancel your gym membership you will never be motivated to work out? If you aren’t using it now, chances are you never will. If you get the fitness bug again later, there are tons of free Youtube videos that will give you a workout without wasting gas money to drive anywhere (and increasing your carbon footprint.)

Well Wallet Tip:? Eliminating just $50 in monthly membership fees alone can save you $600 per year. By investing that money in socially responsible stocks you can grow your financial prosperity while doing good for People and Planet at the same time.

Related content:? Start Impact Investing for as Little as 50$

4. Banks

Is your bank charging you monthly fees so that it can use your money? How about ATM? fees?? Did you know that your bank is making money off of your deposits anyway??Banking fees are a total rip off and you do not have to put up with them. Today, more and more socially conscious banks are competing for your business.

What is a socially conscious bank??Socially conscious banks are those which are both customer-centric while financing values-driven enterprises for the good of the community and the planet.?Put simply, they want to offer you a better deal?and?show you that they are doing good things with your money.

Take Aspiration for example. Aspiration?not only provides free banking?services (you can pay what you think is fair, even if it’s zero), they pay?you up to 2.00% APY Interest* on your entire balance and give you access to free ATMs worldwide. If your bank is reaming you with fees, it’s time for a divorce.

Well Wallet Tip:? Aspiration is completely divested from fossil fuels and?Aspiration?s ?Dimes Worth of Difference? commits to donating one dime for every dollar of its earnings to charitable activities that enhance economic opportunity. Opening an account with Aspiration both increases your financial health, protects the planet, and empowers those in need.

Related content:? Divorce Your Bank in 8 Simple Steps – Who Are You Trusting With Your Money?

5. Electric Bill

There is no?getting around the number of electronic gadgets that we use every day that draw power. But did you know that many devices draw power even when we are not using them?? Printers, TV’s, DVD players, chargers, and video game consoles all draw power when in standby mode. While keeping our devices plugged into a power strip is convenient, they consistently draw power increasing our bill and our carbon footprint. Using a smart power strip can save you 10% or more on your monthly power bill. Smart power strips allow you to unplug all of your gadgets at once to make it easier to eliminate phantom power draw.

Well Wallet Tip:??Have you always wanted to support clean energy but couldn?t because of rent or pricey solar panels? If you?re paying an electric bill, Arcadia Power’s free service can switch your bill to clean energy. It takes 5 minutes to set up, and it gives you $20 off your next power bill.

Related content: Declutter Your Life and Make Money

Adopt a Money Hacking Mindset

Sometimes the answers to life’s most difficult problems are right at our fingertips if we take the time to look at things from a different perspective and explore new alternatives. Whether you are looking to free up cash to attack a credit card balance, invest for your future, or save for a dream vacation, it may be easier than you think. Look into ways that you can hack your regular expenses. You may be surprised at how much you save without sacrificing your days off…or your latte.


*The Annual Percentage Yield ?(?APY?) associated with the Aspiration Summit Account is variable and accurate as of [January 2019]. Rates may be changed from time to time without notice.

All ATM withdrawal fees will be waived for your Aspiration Summit Account. In addition, your account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using an Aspiration Debit Card linked to your account at any ATM displaying the Mastercard?, Interlink?, Cirrus?, or Maestro? logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited from the account. Please note, there is a foreign transaction fee of one percent that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account.

Aspiration Partners, Inc. and its affiliates are committed ?to “All Extra Services Provided at Cost,” meaning that we’ll only charge you what it costs us to provide the extra service (such as a wire transfer), and not a penny more. Besides these at-cost service charges, the only account fee you pay is the fee you choose, even if it?s $0, which is why we call it Pay What Is Fair.

Deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor. For more information about FDIC insurance coverage, please visit the FDIC website.

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Conscious Capitalism In The News – Feb 25

This week’s Conscious Capitalism In The News:? Are there guns in your 401k?, Fed up with guns? – divest or engage, BofA shafts low-income customers, C-level sexual harassment damages returns, Big banks normalize crime, and more…

Pissed About Guns? Divest or Engage – Jon Hale, Medium

Jon Hale, Morningstar?s Director of Sustainable Funds, is on a roll. And he has some brilliant points. Look, if the government won?t regulate the gun market, then perhaps we need to look at the markets themselves. Hale calls on mutual fund companies to either divest from gun manufacturers or, as major shareholders, actively engage with gun manufacturers and urge them to stop standing in the way of common sense regulation.

?Mutual funds are among the largest owners of the four public companies that manufacture guns and ammunition in the U.S., including American Outdoor Brands AOBC, the firm that made the AR-15 used in the massacre of 17 high-school students last week in Parkland, Florida.?

Hale believes that mutual fund companies claiming they can?t divest because they are required to replicate a third-party index is a cop-out. He calls out Blackrock specifically, especially in light of Larry Fink?s letter to CEOs recently in which he stated:

Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the community in which they operate. – Larry Fink, Blackrock

According to Hale, Fink would agree that his advice applies to fund companies as well as the firms in which they invest.

Mutual-fund companies have a responsibility to their investors, to themselves and to society to help address the problem of gun violence, and in the process, demonstrate that they too have a ?sense of purpose. – Jon Hale, Morningstar

Are There Guns In Your 401k? – Market Watch

Three of the publicly-traded gun companies ? American Outdoor Brands AOBC, Sturm & Ruger RGR?and Vista Outdoors VSTO? ? are in several major stock indexes.

Vanguard is the largest institutional shareholder of American Outdoor Brands, the maker of the AR-15 assault rifle used in the Florida shooting.

A 2016 analysis of 23,000 mutual funds by MSCI found that nearly three quarters ?had some exposure to the weapons industry,? and approximately half of those funds ?had direct exposure to gun manufacturers.”

If you have a 401k, there is a good chance you are invested in the gun industry. If this bothers you, you can do something about it.

What can you do?

(If you have a 401k, you have more power than you think you do. Learn how to take control of your 401k.)

C-Suite Sexual Harassment Affects Your Returns – Barron?s

What do?Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Guess (GES) have in common? Both saw shares plunge after sexual assault allegations.

Wynn shares fell from $200.60 to $166.58 after a Wall Street Journal report on Jan 26th outlined a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by Steve Wynn.

Guess stock fell from $18.98 to $15.62 after Kate Upton?s Jan 31st #MeToo tweet about Paul Marciano, the apparel maker?s executive chairman. In a further interview with Time, Upton said she had been groped and forcibly kissed by Marciano.

Wynn has since stepped down as CEO, lessening the damage to shareholders. But this begs the question, how can publicly traded companies manage damage control as more and more sexual harassment allegations emerge?

Adam Strauss, portfolio manager of Appleseed Fund (APPLX), mentioned that indicators like governance can be a proxy for good behavior. ?If they?re taking good governance into consideration, then they can probably address harassment responsibly.?

Perhaps if good governance had been taken into consideration, they wouldn’t have found themselves in this position?to begin with.

Times have changed. Don?t start nothing, won?t be nothing.

Bank of America Shafts Low-Income Account Holders – NPR

Last month BofA announced it was no longer offering free checking accounts. Now, low-income customers must keep a minimum daily balance of $1500, or be able to direct deposit $3000 per year, in order to qualify for free checking.?

Why are the most financially vulnerable people in the US charged more to use their own money?

Americans earning less than $30,000 a year pay more pay more than three times the monthly bank fees paid by higher-income brackets, according to Bankrate.

People need to know that there are alternatives to these banking giants.

Enter Aspiration. In the wake of the conscious capitalism movement, Aspiration’s motto is ?Do Well, Do Good.?

Here is why Aspiration is different:

  • Zero overdraft fees
  • Free access to ATMs anywhere in the world
  • Up to 100x more interest earnings than Big Banks
  • 10% of what they earn goes to charity
  • Enviro-friendly banking and investing

Aspiration is now offering all Bank of America customers a $12 credit if they switch to Aspiration. That credit amount represents the monthly checking fees they would pay BofA if they did not maintain the low-balance minimum.

If you got shafted by BofA, give Aspiration a look.

Big Banks Normalize Crime – Joseph Giglio, Wicked Local

Last month federal authorities fined?Deutsche Bank, HSBA, and UBS a total of $46.6 million?without any of the banks having to admit guilt. They were accused of spoofing the markets. This means that they place a huge order to buy or sell a stock in order to distort the price of the stock to their benefit, and then cancel the order. The money for their fines comes from shareholders, not the individual bankers themselves.

This happens over and over again with big banks. They break the law, are fined by the government, and pay the fines with shareholder’s money, only to do it again and again.?After the financial meltdown of 2008, the government did not charge any top bankers, nor pursue corporate prosecutions for the mortgage fraud that fueled the bubble and led to the crisis.

Big banks get away with their crimes for a monetary slap on the wrist. No one is prosecuted. The settlement is sealed by the government and no one can see the details of the crime. The fines paid by shareholders are simply considered “the cost of doing business.”

Some people think that big banks are “too big to fail.” What do you think??

The Invisible Heart of The Markets: ?An Interview with ?The Father of Social Impact Investment? – Asahi Shinbun

Born in 1945 in Egypt, Ronald Cohen is chairman of the Global Steering Group on Impact Investing and serves as chairman of the British social investment bank Big Society Capital. A pioneering venture capitalist, he has been called “the father of social impact investment.”

Excerpts:

Q: Why did you become involved in social impact investment?

If you look around at charitable organizations everywhere in the world, they share two characteristics in common: one, they have no money and, two, they have no scale. … I decided that it should be possible to do what we did for the tech revolution to respond with a new way of connecting entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs in this case, to the capital market.

Q: But wasn’t it the case that social responsibility efforts by companies until now involved sacrificing part of their profits?

We are beginning to see the millennial generation drive the change, a new breed of young person for whom just making money is not the only goal in life…A new generation of entrepreneurs and CEOs are creating new business models where impact is at the core. The more you help to reduce carbon emissions, the more money you make. The more you help poor people to get out of debt, the more money you make. So, a new form of business model is coming up.

Q: Is it true that those involved in social impact investment have established as a goal making 2020 a major turning point for such investment?

I think what is going to help us achieve the goal is now the worldwide interest in achieving the U.N. SDGs (sustainable development goals), which have to be achieved by 2030.

Q: What do you think about the relationship between money and happiness?

I think fulfillment comes from achieving a balance between what you do for yourself and what you do for others. I think our society has gone through a period where … the purpose of business is to make money. And I think we are shifting. You know Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of markets”? I like the phrase I coined which is the “invisible heart of markets” because we bring the invisible heart of markets to guide their invisible hand.

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Online Banking Service- Is it for me?

When was the last time you walked into your bank?

The reality is that most of us already do all of our banking online. Most traditional banks offer automated bill pay, deposits, and transfer capabilities online. You can easily download statements and print them anytime you need. You can easily take a picture of your check and have it deposited automatically via your phone. It’s not a whole lot different from online banking.

When was the last time you called your bank?

Did you notice that the call was picked up by a call center in another state or country? This is the reality of banking today. Very few people find a reason to ever actually visit their bank except to use the ATM without incurring fees.

Today, most services provided by traditional banks are available online. But whether or not you want to completely move to an online bank will really depend on your personal banking needs.

Online Banking?

Pros

  • High yield interest rates.
  • Socially Responsible banking options.
  • User friendly web interface.
  • Low or no fees.
  • 24/7 access.
  • Low or no ATM fees.

Cons

  • No option for a face to face encounter.
  • May need to link an account to fund initially.
  • You will need to ask yourself some straight questions about what services you need.

What kind of account do you need?

Checking Account

If you primarily use your bank for a checking account, online banking could save you tons of money in fees. In addition, online banks have less overhead, which means they don?t have to pay for a building and all its expenses, they can offer better interest rates than a conventional bank. For example, The Aspiration account, offers free ATMs around the world, and up to 2.00% APY Interest on all of your deposits. If you are only using your bank for a checking account, moving to an online bank can not only save you money, it can make you money.

Here are a few online account options. Bonus:? Aspiration is a socially responsible banking option that is divested from fossil fuels and private prison lending.

Online Checking

Min?balance

Monthly Fees

ATM fees

Interest paid
Aspiration*

0$

0$

0$?worldwide

up to 2.00% APY

Ally

0$

0$

Reimburse $10month

0.01-0.60%

Alliant

0$

0$

Reimburse $20/month

0.65%

Savings Account

How is your interest rate on your savings account? Is it less than 1.30%? That is the going rate for online savings accounts these days. If you are making less than that in interest, online banking for your savings account could make you money.

Online Savings

Min?balance

Fees

Interest

Ally

0$

0$

1.25%

Discover

0$

0$

1.30%

Alliant

5$

0$

1.25%

Make your money work for you

If you aren?t earning interest on the money in your checking account, or if your savings account interest rate is low, your money isn’t working for you. And if you are paying monthly fees, it?s definitely time to think about making a move to online banking. Do some research and decide which bank suits?your needs. Remember, it’s your money, not theirs.?


*The Annual Percentage Yield ?(?APY?) associated with the Aspiration Summit Account is variable and accurate as of [January 2019]. Rates may be changed from time to time without notice.

All ATM withdrawal fees will be waived for your Aspiration Summit Account. In addition, your account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using an Aspiration Debit Card linked to your account at any ATM displaying the Mastercard?, Interlink?, Cirrus?, or Maestro? logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited from the account. Please note, there is a foreign transaction fee of one percent that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account.

Aspiration Partners, Inc. and its affiliates are committed ?to “All Extra Services Provided at Cost,” meaning that we’ll only charge you what it costs us to provide the extra service (such as a wire transfer), and not a penny more. Besides these at-cost service charges, the only account fee you pay is the fee you choose, even if it?s $0, which is why we call it Pay What Is Fair.

Deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor. For more information about FDIC insurance coverage, please visit the FDIC website.

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Wanna Change The World? Change Your Bank

Wanna Change The World? Change Your Bank


As impact investing enters the mainstream, many people are asking how they can make a difference and get a better deal. Yet the change they need to make may be right in front of them. If you wanna change the world, you may need to change your bank.?

The truth is that, outside of investing, every dollar you use or save is doing something somewhere.

Every time you spend a dollar, you are having some impact on something outside of you which you may not realize.

Simply picking up your go-to bathroom cleaner at the store can create an impact of sorts, both on the environment and on your family?s health, that you may not be aware of and may not approve of.

Your money could be contributing both to the destruction of the environment and the health of your family. How can you know? Today we are lucky to have organizations that provide us with information about products and services. Information educates, and consumers who learn can push for change.

For example, when consumers first learned of the harmful chemicals in Johnson & Johnson?s baby products by referencing Skin Deep, an online database containing ingredient information for more than 75,000 personal care products, consumers pushed back and demanded change. Johnson and Johnson reacted by removing?Formaldehyde from their baby products and?have promised to reformulate others. Today, if you are wondering what’s in the personal care products you’re buying, all you have to do today is click and read.

The same applies to your bank account. If you have a bank account, your money is not lying in a box with your name on it, waiting for you to withdraw whenever you choose. In fact, if every bank customer tried to withdraw their money at the same time, they couldn?t. This is because banks do not hang onto your money, they loan it out and earn interest off it. Banks make money by loaning it out at a higher interest rate than the cost of the money they lend. And these loans may be financing all kinds of enterprises that you may not be too happy about.

Whether you like it or not, you are inadvertently investing in whatever your bank decides to do with your money.

The fees you pay to maintain your bank account, the interest you pay on your credit cards, every cent you contribute to your financial institution, in any way, will be used to make an impact somewhere. And it may not be inline with your values and beliefs.?

Many people discovered this in 2016 when social pressure forced the disclosure of Wells Fargo and other banks? funding of the DAPL pipeline.

This prompted the city of Seattle to completely cut ties with Wells Fargo.

So if you feel powerless, think again. Sustained social pressure is powerful.

Regardless of where you stand on that issue, if you were against the pipeline and you banked with Wells Fargo, you would be living against your personal beliefs. Without information, we may be blindly contributing to the very things we abhor. As consumers wake up to this, the market is responding with a plethora of alternatives. And this a good thing.

The traditional paradigm that separates capitalism and philanthropy is crumbling quickly.

Paying high-interest rates to financial institutions engaged in sketchy investments, and then turning around to give money to a favorite charity that may be fighting those very investments is a lesson in futility that consumers are waking up to. We owe it our communities to find out where our money is going, and we owe it to ourselves to find out where we can get a better deal.?

You don’t need to be an “investor” in order to make conscious change through spending choices and reap financial benefits. What you need is access to information about the choices available so that your money is working in line with your beliefs and providing you with the best deal possible. It is our mission at Wellwallet to provide consumers with information they need so that they can decide for themselves whether their money is being used in line with their convictions, and is working in favor of their financial health.

Money is money, whether you save it from avoiding high banking fees, or whether you make it by investing wisely. It can be difficult to find out whether your ?big bank? is investing in something that you may not agree with, but it isn’t difficult to compare the interest rates and fees with good banks who are both committed to socially responsible investing and are quite transparent about their investment decisions.?Right now good banking services are competing for your business. Look into them and decide whether it’s time to change your bank.

What are good bank services? They are both customer-centric while financing values-driven enterprises for the good of the community and the planet. They want to offer you a better deal and show you what they are doing with your money.

Good Banking Services Offer You A Better Deal And Show You The Good They Are Doing With Your Money

Aspiration is divested from oil and gas and they put your deposits in places you can feel good about.?

Here?s a quick overview of Aspiration’s Summit Account*:

  • Pays you up to 2.00% APY interest – at least 100X more than traditional banks offer.
  • No minimum deposit – you can open an account with $10.
  • No minimum balance – no minimum balance required, ever.
  • No service fees – their Pay What Is Fair philosophy allows you to pick your fee, even if it?s zero.
  • No ATM fees – Aspiration reimburses ATM fees worldwide.
  • Deposits are FDIC insured
  • Certified B Corp
  • Industry Level Security?
  • An app that lets you track whether you?re actually voting with your dollars. If you use their debit card, a People and Planet score is assigned to every merchant at which you shopped.?
  • They also commit to donating ten cents of every dollar to charities that help struggling Americans get off the ground (microloans.)

We, as consumers, must take ownership of our financial choices on all levels, from debt to investment, in order to make a change in both our finances and our world. And today we can. By choosing well, you can create good on all levels. No matter how small. You are already an investor and your money is already making an impact. You can?t escape this as a consumer in a capitalist system. If your bank is invested in bad ventures, simply change your bank.

You already have more power than you think you do. Now all you have to do is use it.


*The Annual Percentage Yield ?(?APY?) associated with the Aspiration Summit Account is variable and accurate as of [January 2019]. Rates may be changed from time to time without notice.

Based on a comparison of Aspiration’s up to 2.00% APY interest rate to the following checking account interest rates reported by Bankrate for January, 2019: Wells Fargo (0.01% APY), Chase Bank (0.01% APY) and Bank of America (0.01% APY).

All ATM withdrawal fees will be waived for your Aspiration Summit Account. In addition, your account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using an Aspiration Debit Card linked to your account at any ATM displaying the Mastercard?, Interlink?, Cirrus?, or Maestro? logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited from the account. Please note, there is a foreign transaction fee of one percent that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account.

Aspiration Partners, Inc. and its affiliates are committed ?to “All Extra Services Provided at Cost,” meaning that we’ll only charge you what it costs us to provide the extra service (such as a wire transfer), and not a penny more. Besides these at-cost service charges, the only account fee you pay is the fee you choose, even if it?s $0, which is why we call it Pay What Is Fair.

The Aspiration Summit Account provides customers with the ability to see Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) People and Planet scores on a range of merchants where they shop using the Aspiration Debit Card. These scores are determined using a proprietary algorithm that incorporates several measures of sustainability performance. For more information, please click here.

Deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor. For more information about FDIC insurance coverage, please visit the FDIC website.

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