We came up with this simple plan to extricate our own finances from the grasp of the evil ones.
STEP 1: CREDIT CARDS
Who underwrites your credit card? We had a card from LLBean. Turns out it was managed by MBNA who contributes large quantities of money to the Republican Party year after year.
If you have a card through a retailer, likelihood is that it is underwritten by a large financial institution, one that likely supports the business friendly Republican agenda.
Solution: Get rid of it! Or at least switch to a credit card that will invest their profits locally for causes you can get behind. Here are two great options:
SalmonNation - http://www.salmonnation.com/COMMUNITY/SN_VISA.html
Scholastic Plastic - http://www.albinabank.com/scholastic.asp
Let your former company know why you are switching. Send them a letter and tell them that they engage in practices you can't support in good conscience.
STEP 2: BANKING
We used to bank with Washington Mutual. Well it turns out that they like to outsource jobs.
Albina Community Bank is local and independently owned. They invest in local causes and businesses. http://www.albinabank.com
ShoreBank Pacific is the first commercial bank in the US with a commitment to environmentally sustainable community development. www.eco-bank.com
Again, let your former Bank know why you are switching.
STEP 3: BOYCOTT
STEP 4: BUY & INVEST LOCALLY
By buying local and investing locally we help our neighbors and our own communities thrive. Consider changing the way that you think about investments; for instance, a donation to a local food bank could be considered an investment in your community. See Willamette Week's 1st annual give guide and the Chinook Book.
STEP 5 (the hard one): INVESTMENTS
Do you own U.S. government bonds? Blood money! Sell them now. Take the penalty.
We'll all sleep better.
What about your money in IRA's, 401k's and Retirement plans? Ask your plan administrator for a socially responsible fund option. Get together with other people whose funds are managed by the same company. A large organized group demanding better options in their investments is more likely to be heard than a single person. You asked and it didn't work? Try again and remember there is strength in numbers.
Here are a few sites that offer Socially Responsible Investment information: