You say you want to make the world a better place? Here is a real way to do it
“If you can have some sort of an impact with the way you spend your money and have that be a positive impact on the community, you should try to do it.”
I am going to be brutally honest here. I was assigned to write an editorial for Aspiration and interview two Mitú staffers who had recently opened accounts there. I was planning on just writing about their experience and add a little information about the bank itself. I never thought this task would end up making me question where I have my money and what is being done with it. And I hope it does the same for you.
As with any assignment, the first step was to read a little bit about the bank.
What is Aspiration?
What sets it apart from other major players in the banking world?
This is when things got interesting. A bank that wants to build a better world, gives you the power to do good just by being part of it and that allows you to say how many fees you can pay? Sounds like something that cannot be real right?
So now, the idea of doing these interviews sounded way more interesting. I wanted to find out if all this goodness was for real and even more, if people who actually invested money in this new bank were happy about it.
I had prepared a list of simple questions to understand why they chose this bank, their experience with it and if they would recommend it to family and friends.
I talked to Lucy first. I’ve met Lucy before and I know she is a smart and direct woman. I am sure that if there was anything that she wasn’t happy about in regards to her experience with Aspiration, she will be super vocal about it. In fact, I kind of expected her to.
Courtesy of Lucy Flores
First thing Lucy tells me is that earlier that morning she closed her old bank account. She is so happy with Aspiration that she decided to move all her money there. She talks to me about how she had been very disappointed to learn in the past that some banks invest our money in projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline. She wants to know that wherever her money is invested, they are doing good with it.
This is something I had NEVER even thought about. But she is totally right. Whatever money you have in a bank, it’s being invested to generate you some gained interest. But have you ever even questioned where they are putting your money?
Lucy tells me that, for her, it felt weird to go to support fair causes and then have the her previous bank investing her money in projects she completely disagrees with. Until now.
Apart from not charging you a fee for using any ATM (something that alone could sway my decision to switch to another bank), now your investments could actually help responsible businesses grow. This is what is called sustainable investment.
Next I talked to Denisse. Denisse is a new homeowner and she just turned 30. She feels like she has to take control of her financial situation to make sure that she is making the right decisions. And the right decisions also mean making sure your money is doing good. She told me about how getting a loan for her new house made her realize how much money you end up paying banks and this is when she started to question what her bank was doing with it.
Courtesy of Denisse Cobian
“I need to start putting my money in places that I can believe in, not just where people tell me to.”
This is the bottom line. This world right now, needs us to do more good. But what does that even mean? We might all have the intention to contribute and help others but sometimes we don’t really know what to do. Aspiration gives you the power to help in a very tangible way.
Also, they donate 10 cents of every dollar they make of revenue to causes that they (and you) believe in. This way, 10% of whatever fee you decide to pay will directly help organizations like National Immigration Forum, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Coalition for the Homeless, the African Wildlife Foundation and many others. You can also voluntarily donate more to them straight from your account.
For some of us, the idea of switching banks might sound like a complicated thing that will require time and paperwork. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are interested in a bank that believes we can make a better place together, reach out to Aspiration. Find out what you need to start an account with them and ask about what they can do with your money for the causes you believe in.