In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
What do you think of when you think of “the economy?” We hear that word all the time—on the news, on the lips of politicians and policy makers, and in casual conversations, too. But what is it, exactly? Do you feel like it’s something you have a meaningful role in? Or do you feel like changes in the economy are made out there, outside of your control, by other people like stock traders, senators working on trade deals, the Treasury Secretary, and places like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund? Well, we’re going to break it down a bit and focus on a powerful distinction within the economy—the difference between the financial economy and the real economy.
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.
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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.
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: