John Solari: 5 nontraditional ways to invest locally

SolariEverywhere you look, people are going local with their financial decisions.

Local food movements are popping up alongside local shopping campaigns as a growing number of consumers discover that spending money locally spreads economic prosperity where it counts the most — in local neighborhoods, local school districts or local downtowns.

But this idea has been slow to make its way into the investment world. Stock buyers look to global companies engaged in emerging markets or multinational investment banks when researching where to put their money.

In a world where you can buy a sliver of real estate thousands of miles away, a piece of gold mined halfway across the planet or an oblique financial derivative tied to the movements of the market, sometimes people forget that investing locally can pay dividends for both your pocketbook and your community.

Here are five ways to invest your money, time and energy locally.

Support a local startup

Venture capital and early stage funding is known as a high-risk and high-reward investment. But for those willing to accept that risk, investing locally is an option that provides unique advantages.

Online sites like AngelList can connect you with local startups seeking funding. And being local can give investors an advantage when completing their due diligence on a startup, its founders and its industry.

The old adage, “invest in what you know” becomes easier to follow through on when that investment is made in your own backyard.

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