In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions and accomplishments made by African Americans in the U.S., while also recognizing that there is still work to be done to achieve racial equity. In Vermont, shopping local and supporting small business is a way of life. We like to know that our dollars are staying in our communities, and one fantastic way to put our dollars to work this month (and year-round!) is to celebrate and uplift the accomplishments of our Black neighbors. The U.S. Census estimates that just 1.4% of Vermont residents identify as Black or African American, a statistic which I found to be reflected in my search to highlight businesses from around the state. Finding Black-owned establishments in Chittenden County was noticeably easier than in other counties, and many of the towns represented here are online shops, rather than traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts. This makes it even more important for all of us to do our part to support and boost the visibility of Black businesses across Vermont. To get you started, here are 15 businesses you should check out!
This Saturday, November 28, is Small Business Saturday. Started in response to the Great Recession, the annual event invites communities to buy from small, local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Ten years later, our local business owners are facing an even greater challenge. As of August 2020, 163,735 United States businesses listed on Yelp were reported as closed, with 97,966 reported as permanently closed due to the pandemic. If there was ever a time to participate in Small Business Saturday, the time is now.
Each year, millions of individuals flood the stores on Thanksgiving night, and into what we now refer to as Black Friday, to score awesome deals. The phrase "Black Friday" has a long history that hasn’t always been focused on commerce, and it is now followed by two other shopping-related holidays that encourage people to buy in different ways. How have these holidays evolved and how should you navigate them? Here’s a little advice.
Believe it or not, your money is powerful. You use it to buy everyday things like clothes, food, and utilities—those things that make it possible to live. You may also use it to provide your kids with an education that opens opportunities for them in the future. Or give it to local charities to express your values and help others out of a tough situation. That’s all powerful stuff.
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Make an impact through values-based banking The term banking is used to describe the act of using your money for your own financial well-being. It could be saving money in a bank account, paying bills in online banking, or borrowing money for a home, vehicle, or for some other purpose.
After years working in traditional finance, I woke up one day to the impact of my investment choices and my portfolio - now fortified with impact investments - hasn’t looked the same since. My conventional background began innocently enough. With a graduate degree in math and economics from the University of California in Berkeley, I began my career in a think tank, leading a movement that leveraged quantitative analysis to dial in on the smartest investments.
Listen Here: As a millennial, shopping online has become the norm. It is convenient to just click and have it shipped to your home. However, shopping online lacks the three main benefits that come to mind when I think of shopping locally in Vermont:
Cooperation: activity shared for mutual benefit – dictionary.com Humans are social beings who evolved with an ability to work together to meet survival and other needs, find and achieve common goals, and to thrive. People seem to love cooperating and they do it every day, whether it be to share the costs of a meal or to pool resources to build something a whole community can use, like a community center. By joining together, groups of people form strong social bonds as they leverage their combined strengths and resources to form complex networks that achieve more than the sum of their individual parts. These networks evolve to meet the changing needs of the group’s members. This is the beauty of cooperation and the reason the cooperative movement is so successful.