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Review of Amy Cortese’s Locavesting

Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from ItLocavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from It by Amy Cortese

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a thought-provoking book. I tended to think about maximizing the financial return from my investments, and using a portion of that to support the causes that I care about. This book challenges you to think more about the investments themselves. “Locavesting” by analogy to “Locavore” is about investing in your own community. Amy Cortese makes the case for why it’s a good thing (supports jobs in your community, and local patronage keeps money in the community more than chain-store purchases) and tells a number of stories about communities (and leading citizens within them) who have stepped up to make these changes. She talks about cooperatives, credit unions, and some of the more esoteric alternatives like direct public offerings and local exchanges.

Although many of the current investing alternatives are restricted to “accredited investors” (net worth excluding home of $1M+) some of that is starting to change. Companies are now permitted to raise up to $1M from “crowdfunding” scenarios of regular investors.

My slight disappointments with the book were what I felt was the over-reliance on a small number of case studies/anecdotes. I guess these are newer topics that are not widely available, but I’d liked to have seen a broader range of examples. It’s also a fast-changing area, so even though it’s a recent book, some of the descriptions are of things that “will happen” in 2011, and I’m curious to see whether they really did. I hope that she revises/updates the material to keep this book current.

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