There are a lot of ways to invest in the modern world. Many people opt to invest in big name companies on the stock market. With recent trends towards shopping local and growing local though this doesn’t make since. Why would you invest local in Illinois? Almost every city and even state has businesses that could use investors.
One of the biggest reasons to invest local is that you are helping out your own economy. The changes that your investments made can be both seen and experienced firsthand. As people start to invest in their own cities they will start to see an overall improvement in quality of life. Streets become safer and businesses can grow.
Think about all of the local businesses you go to. If you think about it almost every small business has areas they need funds in order to improve. Your contribution can make that business better so they can afford to pay their employees more, offer lower prices, expand if they need to, or even upgrade to meet modern times.
How Can You Invest?
There are a variety of different ways that you can invest in your community. Each type has its own benefits for you and the business. Here are some of the ways that you can invest.
Loans come in a variety of forms, large and small for example. They also come with different repayment terms. Some lenders dictate how the loan should be applied, for example, they might say it is for upgrading your storefront.
Common stocks are what most people think of stocks. When you invest in common stock it gives you partial ownership in the business and a level of control. The only difference in this case is that you are owning part of a local business.
These stocks are more up the street of people who want to earn returns but don’t want to spend the time controlling a part of the business. Preferred stocks give you regular returns but offer no control or voting power over the business.
Royalties is essentially the process of earning money based on the sales of a business. The amount of money you earn can be statically based on business or can be changed based off of the season and the level of business being done.
Pre-sales is when you get a portion of the advanced sale of goods. Sometimes this will even be for more than the amount that you originally invested.
Who Can Invest?
While the ideal answer would be anyone can invest, the time has not arrived when just anyone can invest in local businesses. The Security Exchange Commission has established a set of rules that determine who can invest in local businesses and how. These criteria are different depending on what type of investment you are talking about.
These rules for investing were not originally set up to limit investors. They were set up to protect investors. The federal government put these rules into effect when it noticed that people were starting to fall for investment scams. They prevent people from just falling into a pit of lost money.
There are some exceptions to the rules for investing. The most important and biggest exemption is the friends and family exemption. This allows most people to ask their friends and family for money for businesses or projects. There are still a few regulations for this exemption but it gives people wide latitude.
Accredited investors also have an exemption. These investors are high-wealth or large income individuals who are not considered to need the protection against losing money. They make enough money that should they lose a little it wouldn’t cause a severe detriment to their life. In most cases an individual has to have made over $200,000 for the last two years. If they are married they have to have over $300,000 a year in those last two years.
There are a few more exemptions but they get a little more difficult to navigate.
Where To Find Investment Opportunities?
There are a lot of options out there for investing in your community. You don’t have to be a major investor in order to help out and get a little money back. Here are some easy ways for you to invest local in Illinois or anywhere else in the world.
A great place to find investment opportunities is in a Co-Op. The simplest way to explain a Co-Op is that they are a member owned business. You have probably heard of REI, which is similar to a Co-Op as it is a member owned food. The business is run for the benefit of those who are members. Members often can vote and have a say in how the business is run.
At the end of the financial year members can a percentage of the profit from the business. Members also tend to get special deals and benefits when they shop at the Co-Op. Co-Ops tend to be for food and farms but you can occasionally find Co-Ops for other purposes such as learning.
Friends, Family, and LIONs Clubs
If you have any friends that are starting a business or want to start a business ask if you can invest. This will help them start a business while allowing you to make some money. When you go about it this way you have less restrictions to worry about.
LIONS or Local Investing Opportunities Networks connect investors with small businesses in the area. They do it in such a way that the two parties create a community and friendship that will alst beyond the investment. It is more than just helping people fund their businesses, in most cases LIONs are made by community members to better the area they live in. Because LIONs clubs connect investors and businesses in a social environment you do not need to be an accredited investor. There are no third parties pressuring you to invest or instructing you on how to do it.
Pre-Pay For Local Goods
The process for prepaying has been around for a long time but recently it hasn’t been utilized by as many people. The name pretty much says it all, you prepay for your local goods in advance and it helps the store gain the money it needs to operate. If you invest at a certain level you often are able to earn interest on your prepayment. There are a number of websites out there that can help you find locations with prepayment options. Credible is a website that allows you to prepay at local stores through their website. Currently Credible is only for food locations.
Look For Local Stocks
Many small businesses are starting to restructure to become public because it is a great way for them to get investors and spread the knowledge of their business. Recent changes to laws around the country have made this easier. As time continues the laws are predicted to change even more to make it easier for local stores and small businesses to go public.
GoFundMe and Other Crowd Funding
While not the most typical form of investing you can look on websites such as GoFundMe for local businesses. These websites allow users and businesses to post requests for funds. With GoFundMe users are typically only donating money but with websites like KickStarter and Indiegogo allow companies to offer perks for different tiers of investment.
You may like your big bank but if you truly want to support the community you should consider moving all of your financial accounts to a credit union. These credit unions are set up as non-profits and instead of big bankers benefiting the members of the union benefit. The most important thing about credit unions is that they aim to help the community. For those that need it they provide financial counseling, scholarships, grants, and other forms of outreach to the community. Not only are you helping the community but most credit unions have no fees, better APRs, and better ways to save.
Alternative Investments (Investing In Yourself)
Some people suggest alternative methods of investing locally, they suggest investing in yourself. For example, investing in solar or wind power can not only power your house but it can feed back into the power system to provide extra power for your neighbors and community. When you produce enough power to send power back into the system you can usually get money back from the utility company. Make sure to first get rid of credit card debt, student loans, and any kind of money you owe. You can’t afford to help the community until you are prepared to do so.
Invest in your community today to make an investment in yourself. Not only are you earning money back by investing locally, you are making the place you live better. Often times this will also raise your property value too. It is an all-around win. Help yourself, help your neighbor, and help your community, invest local Illinois.