regenerative investing
Financial Lifestyle

Blogiversary Update and Reader Survey

“Is it possible to achieve financial independence (FI) while pursuing a triple bottom line, which values people, planet, and profit?” That was the first sentence of the very first post I published on this blog two years ago this month. Just like back then I still think the answer is yes. All of the blog posts I’ve published since then (back when this blog was named Triple Bottom FI) have been my effort to convey to you what I am learning as I forge this uncharted path.

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My Personal Favorites from this Blog

Frequent readers of this blog will know that my thinking is heavily influenced by permaculture, a design science that looks to nature’s closed loop, no waste, abundance based, system as the model. While most people, who are familiar with permaculture, view it as a tool-kit to guide their work in their yards and gardens, the same principles can be applied to all aspects of our lives, including our finances.

Last year I wrote a three part series outlining how I incorporate those permaculture principles into my pursuit of financial independence. These posts best encapsulates the regenerative personal finance framework, which guides my money decisions, that I most want to share and inspire others with. If you missed those three Permaculture FI posts you can find them here, here, and here.

financial permaculture
my new sustainable business cards made from recycled paper and ink from the time bank

Reader Preference

Another core concept that I have covered on this website on numerous occasions is that of the multiple forms of capital. I find this broader, more expansive view of wealth to be fundamental to creating a more resilient and secure foundation of authentic wealth. The most thorough coverage I gave this topic was in this post about looking beyond financial capital.

Another person in the financial independence community, who thinks along these lines and writes about it much more eloquently than me, is Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life. Vicki was generous enough to write a guest post explaining what she beautifully refers to as The ABCs of Wealth. Of the 34 posts that I’ve published on this site in the past two years this one is well-deservedly the most viewed.

Take My Short Reader Survey – And Tell Me What You Want to Learn More About

I’ve been delighted to hear from people by email, in person, or even just in the comments section of this website. They reach out to tell me how much they value this website’s content. Many are excited to have found a blogger exploring an environmentally and socially conscious path to FI because there aren’t (m)any bloggers delving this deep into the topic.

I conceptualized every blog post I’ve written so far based on key ideas and concepts that guide me on this more sustianble path and fortunately they’ve resonated with readers as well. I don’t lack for ideas of things to keep writing about, but moving forward I would like to ensure this blog is as helpful and useful as possible to my readers.

In order to do that – and celebrate my Blogiversary! – I created a Reader Survey to get your feedback. If you would like to show your appreciation for this content (or just make sure I cover certain topics in the future) one way you could do it that would be very much appreciated is to take this 10 question survey.

impact investing

An Emerging Niche in the Financial Independence/Retire Early Community

Two years ago I titled that first post A Reluctant FI Blogger, But Nobody Else Is Talking About This. Certainly, there were a few bloggers then and now there are even more sharing their sustainable and zero waste lifestyles as well as their efforts to start investing in more ethical stocks – which is all very good.

In my second post l even compiled a list of all the bloggers I knew of creating content that linked the pursuit of financial independence with sustainability. I recently updated it adding some new blogs to it and removing those that had shut down. Check it out if you are curious and let me know if I missed anybody. This list currently only contains blogs, but I’d happily add podcasters, social media personalities, and video content creators. I would love for this to be a super comprehensive list of people regulary creating content about their environmentally and socially conscious pursuit of financial independence.

Manage Your Money Like It Matters

This little blog of mine though, continues to be the only one to my knowledge diving deep into a more regenerative approach to personal finance and financial freedom. As part of my effort to put my money where my mouth is and manage my $$ like it matters I’ve moved the majority of my retirement funds into a self-directed IRA (SDIRA).

I’m now directing much of that money towards impact investments outside of the stock market and hopefully encouraging and informing others about how to do the same. Want to know what that looks like? Then be sure to read about How I am Investing to Save the Planet as well as my Crowdsourced Guide to Social Justice Investing. And if you want more food for thought consider where you are banking, which can also have positive or negative social and environmental impacts.

I also place a heavy emphasis on the rethink, refuse, and repair that some are now adding to reduce, reuse, recycle. Not only is that better for people and planet it often means more profit (or at the very least lower costs) for me. For example, early on I chronicled how dumpster diving saves and even earns me money. Now those posts draw the most organic search engine traffic to my site.

Still No Local Investing Club, Yet

I described in one of my first posts how my introduction to Slow Food and then Slow Money launched me down this DIY SDIRA impact investing journey. The stories I heard at a Slow Money Northern California meeting about investing in local food businesses through SDIRAs galvanized me to look into it and eventually open one of those accounts myself.

I would very much like to navigate more of my SDIRA monies into local investing opportunities. Just wanting to do it though doesn’t make it a reality. I’ve had conversations with people in my community on and off for the past five years about creating some kind of local investing club or group. Without a legal, financial, or business background this is a heavy lift for me. And these days other priorities are getting more of my attention.

So far, I’ve made three local investments on my own with mostly positive results. The half share I bought of a new nearby permaculture farm remains my largest investment to date. This is a very long-term investment that will not likely yield financial returns for at least five more years. The small low-interest loan that I made to a friend who stepped up to crowdsource funds and do a lot of other hard work to save our area’s oldest certified organic farm was successful and that loan and interest were just paid back in full.

Even the one risky local investing misstep I made had a fortunate outcome. I was so excited to encounter a local company with an agricultural mission on a crowdfunding website that I overlooked some serious red flags and eagerly invested in it. Within a year the business had closed and the formerly accessible founder was MIA. Due to a technical glitch that arose because I had invested through my SDIRA LLC and not as an individual, my funds had never been transferred out of escrow so I was able to recoup my money, which wasn’t the case for another friend who also invested.

how to invest locally

I’m not giving up on local investing by any means. In fact, an interview with me on this topic was included in Michael Shuman’s new book Put Your Money Where Your Life Is. I haven’t read the whole book yet, but I suspect it will re-energize me and arm me with new ideas about how to get this off the ground in my community and/or do more local investing on my own.

An Update on My Ongoing Transition to Regenerative Personal Finance

I moved about seventy five percent of my retirement funds into a SDIRA four years ago. To date I’ve still only transferred about half of those funds out of my SDIRA high-yield checking account and into meaningful investments. I’ve mentioned before that it takes a great deal of time to research meaningful investing opportunities, conduct due diligence, and then fill out the online or hardcopy applications and transfer the money, especially when I need to ensure that I can make the investment from my SDIRA LLC and not as an individual. And then there’s all the investment tracking and record keeping I should be doing a better job with.

Additionally, about twenty five percent of my retirement funds are still parked at TIAA in their Social Choice funds as well as some bond and guaranteed funds. On top of that I still hold one miniscule Roth IRA with Primerica that is invested in some pretty bad stuff. I just haven’t prioritized the time to deal with that yet either.

Most of my savings has resided in credit unions for the past ten years. Next week though, I have an appointment to finally close the checking account I’ve held for almost 30 years out of laziness and convenience with an unseemly financial institution that implements predatory practices and directs depositors’ money to things I don’t want to support. After that I’ll still hold an online savings account with one other not so ethical financial institution that my mother uses and sometimes transfers $$ into. It makes her life easier when she wants to spontaneously gift me a little money. Since there’s never much money in this account closing this account has slid quite low on my to-do list.

sustainability credit card
photo credit: Green America

I have two credit cards with financial institutions that don’t align with my values. By the time I got serious about changing them I was an entrepreneur with extremely variable income. This has left me unsure if I would qualify to be issued one of the socially responsible credit card options. This year I’ve decided to take the plunge anyways and at least apply for a credit card from a credit union I bank with. I’m curious to see if I’ll be approved. I will keep one of those cards I already have for a while for emergencies since I’ve had it since I was 20 years old and it has a pretty high credit limit.

What the Future Holds for Rich & Resilient Living

I relaunched the blog this year changing the original name from Triple Bottom Line FI to Rich & Resilient Living selecting the tagline “money and lifestyle choices for a regenerative future.” I’m committed to informing, empowering, and encouraging readers to earn, spend, invest, and manage their money in ways that help solve society’s major problems instead of exacerbating them. I’m very excited to get to spread this message even further on a couple of podcast interviews in the coming month and will post those here on my website once they are live.

I’ll be developing online courses as well as worksheets and other tools. All of those will be available for free or on a voluntary contribution sliding scale. I’m also contemplating creating a YouTube channel or at the very least making and uploading more short videos to the Rich & Resilient Living Facebook and Instagram accounts and including them in blog posts. There is so much visually stimulating material in this realm of sustainability and regenerative personal finance. It feels like a natural fit for video.

If you have thoughts or suggestions for topics you would like me to make videos (or write blog posts about) or courses or other tools you would find it helpful for me to create please take that above mentioned Blogiversary Survey here and tell me about them.

Thanks for joining me on this journey to create a rich and resilient life!!! And a special thanks to all of you who take the survey or offer feedback in the comments below. I really, really, really appreciate it.

If you aren’t inclined to take the survey, but want to share your thoughts about future blog or video content ideas or give any other feedback feel free to do so in the comments below.

If you find value in the content here at Rich & Resilient Living, please consider supporting my work by ‘buying me a cup of tea’ using the Ko-fi button just below and then selecting the red support button on the right hand side of my Ko-fi page. Thank you very much indeed.

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  • Reply
    Building Skills to Build Lasting Wealth with Francis Sojun - Rich and Resilient Living
    September 22, 2020 at 10:43 am

    […] like fortuitous timing since one of the suggestions most commonly made by those who responded to my blogiversary reader survey (which is still open should you want to share your feedback) back in June was to include interviews […]

  • Reply
    Joshua Daniels
    November 27, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Terrific blog! It would be really interesting—and maybe not exactly in your wheelhouse—to learn about resources to help community entrepreneurs through the start up phase of a new business. I’m thinking also of resources for funding and for innovative structures for “founding” and leadership that can distribute tasks and “ownership” to help make success more likely when founders are highly leveraged for time and resources.

    • Reply
      November 29, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Joshua. You are correct that resources for community entrepreneurs is not my specialty, but I do know of the following organizations that may hit some of the notes you are talking about: (an excellent model in the U.K.)

      I also think that we often overlook the free resources and knowledge in our communities. For example The Greenhouse in my town of St. Petersburg, FL offers all kinds of classes, consulting, and other resources to area residents. We also have Tampa Bay Start Up week events and sessions each year. I know these options are more conventional than what you are seeking, but they are a good place to start and could lead to better, more targeted contacts, allies, and resources.

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