This High-Impact Hobby Is Fun and Allows You to Change the World
Impact Crowdfund Investing Is As Affordable As Any Hobby
I’m not a financial advisor; nothing I write in Superpowers for Good should be treated as investment advice. You should seek appropriate counsel before making investment decisions.
Most of us spend money on hobbies. They give our lives pleasure and provide a needed respite from work—even if we love the work we do.
If you’re not into carefully tracking your spending or big on budgeting, you may not have a clear idea of what your recreational hobbies cost you.
Some are crazy expensive. Today, I’ll ignore hobbies like yachting, polo, flying planes or collecting classic cars. Some pastimes are clearly for the well-heeled, who likely don’t have the budgetary concerns the rest of us share.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending money on a hobby, sport or other favorite activity. It’s healthy! Today, I merely want to create a new context for framing your thinking about impact crowdfunding.
Let’s tap into my Utah roots and take a quick look at skiing. About 10.5 million people in the U.S. ski or snowboard. Skiing happens in many ways, but imagine someone from the coast who visits a ski destination like Park City for a week each year. A trip like that could easily cost $3,000 per person, including airfare, lodging, food, ski passes, ski rentals, cold-weather gear updates, etc. Frankly, it is easy to see why so few people ski.
Even for locals, it is expensive. An annual pass at Brighton, a relatively affordable resort, costs $1,099. Avid skiers of that variety likely spend hundreds every year on new equipment. They also have to get to the mountain for each ski day, often including a drive plus bus fare. A season of local skiing can easily match the coastal visitor’s budget.
With 25 million golfers in the country, it’s more than twice as likely you golf as ski. As a former golfer, I loved the time spent with friends in nature. It approaches the divine. The only problem for me was the pesky white balls I was challenged to hit with the long skinny things.
Still, millions enjoy golf. As a kid, I caddied for my grandfather, who played at one of the most affordable public courses in Salt Lake City. He walked the course with me, pulling the cart. Today, the green fees are $32. Back in the day, he played about 100 rounds per year. That would be $3,200 per year today before buying a ball, a burger, or a new club.
Of course, not everyone has time to golf that much, but green fees now reach up to $500 on courses open to the public. It is easy for casual golfers to spend $3,200 per year.
Cycling, with 51 million people having ridden a bike at least once during the year, is one of the most popular sports. Cycling is cheap if you just ride your old bike occasionally. Pump up the tires, and you’re on your way.
If you ride regularly, the cost increases dramatically. Bikes must be tuned up annually; tires and tubes must be replaced periodically. Depending on your preferences, a new bike can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to many thousands.
Reading: 75 percent of U.S. adults read at least one book in 2021 (that’s about 157 million people). Reading can be free if you can walk to the library—and cheap if you need to drive or take public transit for a monthly visit to pick up and drop off your books.
Of course, many of us still buy books. (As an author, I’m grateful for this reality.) If you buy two new hardback books each month, that could easily tally $50, yielding an annual total of $600. Audiobooks and ebooks can be cheaper—much cheaper with some available subscriptions.
In any case, it is easy to spend hundreds of dollars per year on books. That ignores other reading materials, like newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Most readers don’t satisfy their appetites for free.
Superpowers for Good is a reader-supported publication. To support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber.
Whether we’re talking about watching old-school broadcast television, cable TV or streaming one or more of the dozens of channels many of us subscribe to, our viewing habits can get pricey. Virtually everyone in the U.S. does some viewing.
Watching broadcast television on an old TV is pretty close to free. Millions still limit themselves to this. But most indulge in cable TV plus a streaming account with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or HBO.
Gail and I may be typical. We try to keep our viewing budget low. We cut the cable years ago and rely exclusively on streaming. Over the years, our streaming budget quickly approached $100 per month for a collection of accounts plus some movies on demand. And during the football season, we subscribe to a streaming cable account that allows us to watch the Pac-12 games. In the end, our annual budget tops $1200.
Impact Crowdfund Investing
Let me reiterate that there is nothing wrong with spending money on a hobby. As human beings, we need a break.
To some, impact crowdfund investing sounds more like volunteering to do someone else’s homework than a hobby. Of course, that’s what I think of fishing. Before you conclude that impact crowdfunding isn’t for you, I invite you to try it.
It really can be fun. Choosing companies to back can be fascinating—even delightful. I typically start with this screener. As you begin looking at companies with impact, things get interesting. We recently invested in a company developing net zero carbon emission space launches.
Finding companies to back that truly excite your passions is surprisingly easy. Most of us find that choosing among the great businesses doing things we love is the real challenge.
A fundamental principle of impact crowdfunding is to develop a pattern of regular investing to build a portfolio over time. For some of us, that means investing $100 per month. For others, $100 per year. Impact crowdfunding doesn’t have to be more expensive than almost any other hobby you choose.
In the long run, impact crowdfunding can become self-funding. Some investments will never return a dime, but a few may go up in value tenfold. Others will return your capital with interest. Most hobbies can’t do that!
Join the Club
You can literally join the impact crowdfunding club. Operating like an angel investing group, the Impact Cherub Club meets monthly to consider impact investments we can make in businesses starting at just $100. I don’t touch the money, and you aren’t required to invest in anything you help the group choose.
If your budget for impact crowdfunding is $100 per year, we’d be thrilled to have you join us. Sign up here.
Learn to Invest Like the Pros
For some people, impact investing is part of their professional lives. We can learn a lot from them. Many of them will be speaking at SuperCrowd23 on May 10-11. Paying subscribers to Superpowers for Good can register to attend for free! Our other readers can register at half-price here.
If you’d like to learn more before you start investing, join us in May. Sign up today.