New bank Account Morally Monitors Your Purchases

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Aspiration financial firm is a B-corporatoin that wants to help people “vote with their wallets”. It’s incredibly hard for individuals to stay up to date on the damage that large organizations do despite that a lot of people care. Consumers want to punish companies for some of their actions from United kicking people off airplanes to Shell lying about climate change. This means there’s an opportunity for Aspiration to help people divert money from companies that make the world worse, and the company is growing as a result.

Called Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM), the program analyzes not one, but thousands of data points to generate two scores for companies: The “People” score gauges how well companies treat their employees and communities, and the “Planet” score assesses companies’ sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Every time an Aspiration customer swipes the debit card associated with their account to make a payment toward a company, that company’s Planet and People scores are funneled into the customer’s personalized AIM score, which reflects the positive (or negative) impact of where they shop.

“People have been hungering for this exact kind of information,” Cherny says. “We see this in our customers, we see this in all these surveys that are coming out about how younger people especially, but consumers overall, are thinking about how a company behaves and how its products are created as they make decisions on where to buy. But until now, they haven’t really had the information to be able to do so.”

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Get Rid of Stuff, Do What You Love

Often we hear that spending on experiences make for a happier life than buying into consumerism. In concept it sounds great, but many people think that it’s hard to rejig their life to be focused on doing things rather than consuming things. This TED talk is about breaking free of that passive normality and living life to its fullest.

A Minimalist Generational Movement

Consumerism takes a huge toll on our planet and out pocketbooks and one generation raised in a consumerist culture has opted out. Many in the generation following Gen-X have realized that doing activities is more fun than owning plates (or whatever people buy, I have no idea) and have decided to live a lifestyle conducive to an experience-over-material mindset.

“I don’t give material possessions. I prefer to give experiences — let’s see a concert together, or let’s watch a sunset together. If I do give something that is physical it will be consumable — like a bottle of wine.”

While their minimalist tendencies may be most noticeable during the countdown to Christmas, for young minimalists this is a year-around commitment. Many have downsized everything about their lives. Those who had large homes shed them for smaller, more efficient digs. They’re pruning possessions, clawing back work schedules, even eliminating fringe friends and non-functioning lovers.

And when they compile their Christmas shopping lists, the minimalist has one wish: Don’t contribute to their clutter and they won’t contribute to yours.

Read more at the The Star.

Air Miles Starts Rewarding Eco-Conscious Purchases

Starting today, consumer tracking program Air Miles will begin rewarding people with points when they make environmentally friendly purchases.

But whereas previous initiatives were intended to inspire a single socially conscious decision, “these [programs] have a permanent effect,” Souvaliotis said.

“If you find a way to create a trickle of reward for the consumer, then you’re actually supporting a change in behaviour,” he said. “Not only will these [programs] start to bring a lot more people to this type of behaviour, but they will stick to this behaviour.”

Souvaliotis, an occasional blogger for The Huffington Post, is not shy about the success of — or his vision for — Air Miles for Social Change, which he says is the “world’s first ever — and to this point only — social venture that’s built entirely inside a loyalty points program.”

Read more at the Huffington Post.

What We Truly Need

Every person has a different take on what one truly needs as opposed to what they want. Over time as a culture we collectively define our needs and those needs change over time. The never-ending question is ultimately what do we need to live and what do we need to be happy.

Obviously, we support looking through the archives of Things Are Good for our tips on bringing more happiness to your life.

Over at the Bucks Blog at the New York Times this issue was recently brought.

From personal experience, I know that the shiny new toy I just had to have often ends up in a pile of things that I eventually need to sell on eBay. I’m not the only one that’s fighting this battle. It’s yet another example of why personal finance can be so complex. Because there’s no definitive list of the 100 things that every family must have, these end up being very personal decisions.

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