Financial literacy is a powerful vehicle to attain financial dignity. The literacy piece is the foundational knowledge necessary to make practical and educated financial decisions, but dignity is captured by the social contract within society. It is expensive to be poor, and the mental cost of poverty is taxing, not to mention that many financial factors are beyond the control of ordinary people anyways. Do you control the Federal Reserve or fiscal policy? I don’t.
In order for people to live a financially dignified life, they deserve the basic respect of freedom from food or housing insecurity, and the ability to save money for a rainy day, among other things. Considering that 80% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck before the pandemic, and unemployment is now rampant, financial dignity is in short supply. So how does equity crowdfunding play a role in this equation? Great question! Let’s examine.
According to Ezekiel Emanuel, bioethicist and former healthcare adviser to Barack Obama, people derive meaning in their lives from three things: “meaningful relationships, passionate interests, and meaningful work.” This assertion is contrary to some outdated social beliefs, but there’s an innate human desire to engage in work that feels important to us. This spark of independence is hardwired in humans, and equity crowdfunding taps into it by funding startups/entrepreneurs and creating local investors who own a stake in their community. And, equity crowdfunding happens exclusively online, which puts the power in the hands of the people. No need to rely on stock brokers or pay brokerage-related fees.
Before the JOBS Act, only accredited investors and the rich had the opportunity to invest in private companies before they went public. Now that equity crowdfunding is becoming mainstream, individuals who were previously shut out from Wall Street can now secure ownership and build a portfolio to pass onto their family. Since many Americans can’t realistically expect to own property in their lifetime, equity crowdfunding offers another route to family legacy, inheritance and generational wealth.
Mom and dad may not have a house to pass down to their children, but that might not matter if they purchased early equity shares in a lucrative startup.
Local investments are significant for communities and the ripple effect brings relief and opportunities. Small businesses are left out in the cold by the Feds, but, when one dollar is spent at a small business, 67% of it stays in the local community. In addition to adding money to local pockets, successfully crowdfunded companies are a “proven jobs engine” which on average, can create and support a total of 54 direct and indirect jobs. And just in case that wasn’t convincing enough, from 2000 to 2017, small businesses created more than 65% of all new jobs. Yes, please! When small businesses and entrepreneurs receive funding, they have the chance to empower themselves and their communities.
Equity crowdfunding fosters financial dignity by providing tangible opportunities for everyday people, who are largely ignored by federal bailouts and venture capitalists. It’s a solid starting point for everyday investors looking to secure ownership in startups, support small businesses, and build generational wealth. And it’s a dream machine for entrepreneurs and startups looking for help over the valley of death to create a thriving and prosperous future. That’s certainly dignified.