Usually, for most people, the words interest rate, loan, or investment don't come up within the first 5 minutes of a first date. If they do, you could be in for a bit of a boring evening (unless of course, you're on a date with Warren Buffet).
But is there a way those topics could be sexy enough to talk about over a juicy steak and shrimp dinner? Believe it or not, there's a new exciting world of investing options these days that you may not have heard about that can be quite attractive.
A Move from the Rich to the Regular
Many investments that used to be only for rich fat-cats are now available to the average Joe and Jane.
Have you ever heard of a BDC? Well, it's one of those "boring" sounding investments I talked about earlier. But they're actually quite interesting.
BDCs (Business Development Companies) are publicly traded companies that provide financing to small and mid-size businesses. Banks continue to grow and mainly focus on the richest (and most profitable) areas of the economy.
As a result, businesses in the middle of the economy have trouble getting loans and get left behind. BDCs try to fix that problem.
The way a BDC works is you buy a share in that company and they invest the money on your behalf.
In the past, only richer investors could get involved in financing businesses. But thanks to BDCs, anyone with an investment account can get in on the action.
A Hint of Sexiness
So now we can make our original dinner date conversation a bit more interesting. Instead of getting too far into the details, we can now say:
"I help fund small and medium-sized businesses that normally can't get a loan, so they can grow."
But can we make that even more fun and attractive? Let's give it a shot.
More Control, More (Sexy) Impact
Instead of purchasing shares in a company that invests in entrepreneurs for you, what if you could invest in those entrepreneurs yourself?
Even sexier, what if those entrepreneurs were in developing countries?
Everyone and their mom are asking you to give your money away to help the world's poor. But how many charities give you the chance to actually make money by investing in the world's poor?
With social impact investing, you get to choose the entrepreneurs you finance. You get to put your money where you want it. Want to invest in companies providing solar power to homes in Africa? You got it. Want to invest in companies providing toilets to families in India? You got it.
A Better Dinner Date Conversation
So back to our dinner date. How does this sound for an interesting conversation starter?
"I invest in entrepreneurs in developing countries so they can grow their businesses and improve their communities."
It may not be as exciting as saying you own Coca-Cola or you bought an entire airline, but it sounds pretty attractive none-the-less.
An Investment That's Out of This World
Let's talk about Space for a minute. More specifically, the big burning ball of gas we call the Sun. Solar is one of the sexiest investments on the planet. Thanks in part to Elon Musk and his huge tribe of Tesla supporters, but also in part to the real-wallet impacts that millions in the U.S. and Europe have seen in savings from installing solar home systems.
But besides investing in Tesla or one of the many solar power options in China, is there anything sexier we can get involved in? How does powering the homes of an entire African village sound?
Making Massive Impact with Solar Investing in Africa
Millions in Africa still get their light from unhealthy kerosene lamps. The companies mentioned above, as well as others such as BBOXX offer investors the chance to invest in solar in a way that not only helps the planet become more green, but also helps improve the living conditions of millions still without electricity.
What makes it sexy?
Again, it goes against the long history of the "hand-out" as being the only way people in Africa had a chance to get help from developed countries. Now investors can help developing countries progress, without having to just give your money away.
And in case you're not a Tesla investor, it gives you the chance to have something cool to tell your other solar-obsessed investor friends.
Want to learn more about the opportunities available in social impact investing? Sign up for our email course from our founder Peter Heijen. Or, ready to start impact investing for yourself? Check out our available investment projects here.