Who needs or deserves your money more - Purnomo the meatball vendor in Indonesia or Sexy Marvin, the indy rock band from Mexico ?
I've recently heard of two financial products that allow you to invest your money in some new ways. These new financial products touch on two interesting facets of everyday life, but are on opposite ends of the responsibility spectrum. Charity and music.
My cousin, and like-minded music fan, pointed me to a financial "product" a few weeks ago called Bandstocks. The idea is that you make small (or large) investments in an unsigned musical talent. It could be considered an easy way to truly put your money where your mouth is with respect to "good" music. If you really think band XYZ is going to be the next big thing, then invest your money. It doesn't have to be much, but it can pay dividends, long term returns and provide non-financial benefits as well.
My wife told me about an interesting concept tonight about investing in individual businesses in developing countries. The investment is made easy by kiva.org and was mentioned in Bill Clinton's book Giving.
I simply like the idea that you're not just donating your money to a charity or a hard up musician. Instead, your making a conscious decision to say, I believe in something strongly enough and something that I'm passionate about, and I believe it will be a success. But rather investing in Apple or pork bellies that you may not really care too much about, you can perhaps say to yourself...great, if my bet works out, everyone's a winner, but if not, I've made a pseudo donation (I'm not certain if these investments are also tax deductible) and given someone else in the world a chance to make it. Or you could simply cozy up to the karma gods and embrace a no-strings-attached, pay it forward doctrine (but that's a whole other topic).