(For USA residents — everyone else please pardon the USA-centricness of this post, and of my blog in general. But hope even those of you outside the USA will find this post helpful somehow):

Are you getting a stimulus payment? If so, how are you investing it? Someone in the Socially Conscious FIRE group (on Facebook) just asked this question. My response:

I am investing my stimulus money in:

1) Purchases supporting things that will help my household & community become more resilient to pandemics, extreme weather, and other disasters. So: Rainwater collection, native plants, food plants. And most of all: investing in my continuing education in my field (permaculture design, community organizing). Most of the classes I’m taking (which are online) are either free or cheap. And I have already reduced my overhead expenses super low in order to devote many hours a week to classes and community work. But since my overhead is so low, the stimulus gives me a big boost!
It’s basically a month of free income for me.


2) Buying from friends’ micro-kitchens and other micro-businesses that they started in order to get free of dependence on a corporation for their livelihood.

And come to think of it, #2 is boosting my community’s disaster-resilience also!

Building local economies is essential. So is restoring the health of ecosystems. If we don’t take care of our communities, or the planet that is our only home, no amount of financial gain or stockpiled money can save us.

Additional notes: I do not invest in Wall Street stocks or other nonlocal financial instruments. In my opinion:

• Such investments have an unacceptably high opportunity cost, in that every dollar we invest on Wall Street is a dollar not being invested in our own local Main Street.

• It’s too hard for me to find, and keep track of, the impacts of faraway, centralized, impersonal investments. And according to my research, those unseen impacts tend to be very negative (both environmentally and socially) in comparison with any benefit they produce, either to me or to my community or to society as a whole.

• Direct investment in ecological restoration, disaster-resilience, and in supporting local people and local businesses, is a better bet than any mainstream financial instrument I know of. The monetary ROI may be less (or sometimes even zero), but it’s still a safer bet all-around.