By Sergey Bubnou, Research Analyst
Have you always wanted to try being a venture capitalist but couldn’t afford its high risks? Do you also want to feel useful, knowing that part of your capital is acting as a catalyst for social good? Then micro investing might be just for you! Almost non-existent just a few years ago and admittedly still in its introductory stage, this form of investing has been growing rapidly in recent years and may be worth a look. As with any new and rapidly developing investment model, micro investing is relatively vague and not easy to define. However, it is often associated with the concept of crowdfunding.
Made widely known to the public through the 2012 legislative debate over the JOBS Act (JOBS is an acronym for Jumpstart Our Business Startups), crowdfunding is the practice of funding an idea or project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people. This is typically done via the Internet and can be used to support a wide variety of projects. Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub and others provide potential investors with thousands of ideas they might connect with and in which they can make small investments.
As the tax deadline nears and stragglers race to figure out the bevy of forms (and the fastest route to the post office), here are some interesting articles in the news that you may have missed.
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Wrong Address, Right Outcome
Have you ever mistakenly hit ‘Reply-All’, inadvertently revealing something you shouldn’t have to someone you shouldn’t have over email? A Swiss financial adviser did just that—the old-fashioned way, through the post—into the hands of federal authorities.
Integrating a Social View into Your Investment Program
By John Bussel
At Hewins Financial, we not only support our clients’ financial goals but can also help them express their values and their concerns regarding issues in the world through how they invest.
Socially responsible methods can be incorporated into both passive and active approaches to investing. They can be obtained at a reasonable cost and can include tax efficient strategies. We work with a number of investment managers to integrate social values into an investment program without having to sacrifice the sound, disciplined and cost-efficient investment principles that Hewins Financial advocates.
Whether the values and priorities a client has are viewed as “progressive” or “conservative” or they relate to issues like the environment, to labor practices, religious beliefs, weaponry, animal rights or best practice corporate governance, there are solutions that can simply screen out egregious practitioners. But there are also approaches that are inclusive, that reward those firms that are making sincere efforts to distinguish themselves for the common good.
By Janice Deringer
Teams are a constant in peoples’ careers across industries, levels, and types of jobs. That’s because most every role requires teamwork regardless of the problems, goals, or workflow at hand. And, to be successful, you will generally need to find ways to be a good team member and contribute in a team environment.
But what about the future? We are entering an employment era of virtual offices, changing job structures, job sharing, and other forms of personal flexibility. Does this mean that teams are a thing of the past? Probably not. Businesses will likely continue to find ways to use team contributions in their search for ever greater success; not using teams may leave companies in a less competitive capacity.
It shouldn’t be assumed that throwing people together or saying a business is “team-oriented” can create success. Some cultural and structural factors have to be taken into consideration. And the team actually has to be managed appropriately! If built and run right, the sum of a team can be greater than its parts.
By Roger Hewins
Statistics are devious, difficult things, which is why they are bandied about so freely in politics, making it hard to know what the truth is sometimes. For example, is long-term unemployment getting better? A recent story by CNBC, “Long-Term Unemployment Now a Thing of the Past?” suggests that it is.
The first part of the article is optimistic. But then the painful truth emerges:
- We have 12.3 million people officially unemployed, and of these, 4.7 million are considered “long term unemployed,” but…
- Many of those listed as employed have taken whatever menial job they could find, not the level of work they are capable of and have done for decades.
- About 7 million unemployed people have given up looking.
- 7 plus 4.7 = almost 12 million long-term unemployed people, people increasingly unlikely to ever find important work again. Ponder that one for a moment. It isn’t getting any better, it’s getting worse. They are dropping out of sight.
- Meanwhile younger people are being hired, the older long-term unemployed left behind. So the low level of “stable growth in employment” we see is just enough, give or take, to hire the new people coming into the workforce.
- Speaking of new grads…there’s concern that they also are underemployed. According to a recent study, in 2010, 20 million of them worked in jobs requiring less than a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, 15 million college grads held jobs that required only a high-school diploma.
I am not sure what this means for the country, the economy and the markets in the long run. But we need to be thinking about it; it will not go away.