Giving with Both Hands - My Financial Strategy for 2021 (part 3)

19 days ago
4 Min Read
789 Words

I like to have to have a purpose, even better a cause.

Doing anything without either is a struggle for me.

I am quite binary in everything I do.

It is either full-on, or not at all. I can't do half-ar$3d.

Last year was a tough one financially. It wasn't a destitute disaster but it was determinedly difficult at times.

But I had a purpose - to rebuild my income, pay off some debt, and get back to a position of financial stability.

I made a plan, I stuck at it, and with a few lucky breaks and many, many, many hours doing what was needed I got there.

There may still be trips and trials ahead that I need to look out for but the dial is now just about back to 'comfortably off'.

This year's mission is building up some savings, and hopefully putting them to work and growing them through investing.

As I begin this new phase I do feel the need to take a rain-check and revisit the purpose.

The purpose at a first take is quite obvious - to build up financial reserves to protect against future income drops.

That is a solid purpose.

But how far to go with that? 1 month's income, 1 year's, 3 year's...?

What happens when I have achieved that savings level?

Maybe you can never have too much savings! It will at least be passed on to our children (or what is left after the taxman has had his pickings).

At this point I have a bit of a problem.

The rest of the world.

The people, and the planet.

I am know I am in a tiny privileged minority that despite some temporary economic setbacks will never really have to worry about where my next meal will come from, or have to make the terrible choice of shoes for my children or medicines for my parents.

I have it easy.

Then there is the world around us. It is being destroyed before our very eyes. Forests are being cut down, species are being lost, seas are being polluted, resources are running out, the climate is in crisis.

The planet doesn't have it easy.

So my conscience kicks in.

Can I use my little bit of surplus money to do some good?

This fires me up again. It gives the purpose, the cause.

I would love to do A Dollar A Day again, but it is not the time and not the place for that right now. I'm flying solo for the timebeing.

But I need to box clever on this as I do still need to build up savings as well.

So I have come up with a cunning plan.

In three parts...

1. Social Investments

I will be investing some of my savings through social investment platforms like Energise Africa and Charm Impact.

These both provide low cost loans to small scale renewable energy projects in Africa, paying lenders interest rates of usually between 5% and 8%.

These are not crypto style interest rates, but the risks are very low, and the money is doing good.

There are also similar offers in the UK with projects like Bristol Energy Cooperative and the Low Carbon Hub in Oxfordshire.

2. No Interest Loans

Kiva is one of the best known sites for this.

You can loan money, at zero interest, to vetted individuals in developing countries who would not otherwise have access to finance.

The loans are for example used for startup micro businesses or small scale farmers.

This won't produce any additional income and there is some small risk of non-repayment but the loan amounts are small and the money again is doing good.

3. Donations

A couple of years back I ran a series of Five Things for the Planet posts which included a small Daily Donation to an environmental project or charity.

I don't know if I will manage daily donations again but I am looking to make a least a weekly donation of some sort to an environmental or humanitarian cause.

This won't of course help my financial savings, but hopefully it will help some little bit to save the planet.

So I'm going for a three way split on my savings / investment strategy this year - stocks, crypto and social.

It will take some experimentation and adjustment as I go but I am going to set out with the intention of an equal three way divide.

The social investing will do the most good, but I hope at the end of the year that doesn't end having the best returns !

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