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On the wiki: Inspirations to share

Event: BALLE Conference

In case you missed it, the BALLE conference; their, "Once per year ... can't-miss gathering that is a who's who of innovators collaborating to build a new economy." met in Buffalo, New York on June 12-14, 2013, and posted the video for the rest of us.

On the wiki: Inspirations to share

Resource: Ethical Markets

Ethical Markets provides news and perspective on the Green Transition, Reforming Global Finance, SRI and more by gathering information from around the world with analysis by their editor-in-chief, Hazel Henderson.

Member Profile: Dianne and Chuck - Financial Independence at Fifty

Diane Williams is New Road Map Foundation's Treasurer. She and her husband reached FI at 50, without ever making more than $100,000 per year. "Our priority was freedom from paid employment in our fifties which helped us focus on jobs that paid well and provided good benefits. We learned to invest in the stock market for the long term." "We love doing what we want to do when we want. Life is good!!!" The rest of the story is on our wiki.

Tools and Examples: Step 1) Practicing Gratitude

Step One in the Nine Step program is about reflection. How much money has flowed into your life? How much has flowed back out again? The difference makes all the difference. Celebrate what you've accomplished, and then begin asking, "What could I do differently?"

In the news:

Federal Student Loan Rates

Under the heading of "Dull but Important", Federal student loan rates doubled. We hate being the ones to tell you that, but hopefully you already knew.

Reading List: Utne Reader

This month's reading list comes compliments of Simple Living Forum.

Utne Reader's goal is to "Cure Ignorance, and is known for gathering news from alternative sources. Alternative also explains the lifestyles, economies, and philosophies described in its pages.

Facebook Highlights

A Popular post was a poster

One of the most popular posts on NRM/FI's Facebook page was the poster of the 9-Steps to Financial Independence. Nice to see that the 9-Steps continue their popularity. Keep up the good work and spread the word!

If you haven't seen them lately, here's a page from the Guide that summarizes them.

The Best of Simple Living Forums

Who's Really Buying All of those Houses?

The housing market is recovering, or so we hear. But, who is actually buying all of those houses? There's a continual pressure for some percentage of the population to move, but there are also speculators and even corporations buying properties when they are low, hoping to sell them when they are high - and maybe rent them in the meantime. If that's the case, is the market truly recovering? Catch up on the community's comments.

Passing the Baton

The Simple Living Forum is, quite literally, a living network of people, sharing their stories, their advice, their questions... and their labor. As an all-volunteer-run community forum, there is a team of people who work behind the scenes, making sure that the lights are always on, new folks are welcomed and offered a place at the virtual table, (and the occasional drunk uncle gets asked to go sleep it off...) This community has been building and renewing itself for many, many years, and there are always some wonderful people who step up to serve the community by joining the Mod(erating) Squad. "Lhamo" is one such star who's helped anchor the team for several years. She has been moderating and doing administrative work for SLF while living a busy life in China, doing important NGO work, and raising a family. All the while, she's been a dependable person, willing to tackle new technology, a wise voice amidst occasional raucousness, and a great advisor to others learning the ropes of service to this online community. As of this summer, she's taking off her mod hat and blending in with the crowd, but she'll always stand out as a stand-up community member -- Thanks Lhamo!!

Resource: Resilience Circles (also known as Common Security Clubs)

Based on the concept that common people, working together using common sense and trusting their judgment, can bring about a better economy. Replacing "charity" with "reciprocity," the clubs provide a practice ground for learning to work together, giving and receiving equally, to find better solutions to debt, unemployment, reducing costs, and other financial challenges, learn to "push back against the powerful Wall Street interests," and lobby for change. Resilience Circles and the Common Security Club network offers guidebooks for starting and running a club and other curriculum materials.

Member Profile: Dianne & Patrick - Freedom Before Fifty

"Our journey started when my wife and I watched the PBS documentary "Affluenza" and we began to question our own levels of consumption. After watching the documentary we read the book "Your Money or Your Life." It tied sustainability and the economics of the fulfillment curve together in a way that spoke to our experiences and goals." The rest of the story is in our Stories section.

Resource: Downsizing your home with style : living well in a smaller space" by Lauri Ward

A book being read over on the Simple Living Forums: Downsizing your home with style : living well in a smaller space" by Lauri Ward. Very few folks are talking about bigger houses. For years, moving into smaller houses was a reason to assume something bad happened. We know better, and yet, downsizing with style is new enough that advice is in short supply (though maybe not for long). Less is more, but how and why?

Got a book you want to share? Tell us.

Take the personal finance quiz that 86% of Americans flunked.

Five out of five, that's tough; especially for folks unfamiliar with bonds.

Here's the source of the five question quiz, and also the source of an impressive database of spending habits. What's "normal"? This article pulled a lot of traffic from the NRM/FI community. Did we score higher?

Who Controls the World? - James B. Glattfelder's TED Talk

Conspiracy theories abound, but is there hidden center of power running the world? Patterns in data can reveal relationships, or can reveal the fundamental nature of the system. There is a wealth of data about how wealth is distributed, and someone had more than enough to sort out how many people control not just their wealth, but the wealth of others. The surprise is that the current system will produce such centers. Conspiracies aren't required.

Geeky and long (Hey, it's a TED Talk), this video (James B. Glattfelder: Who controls the world?) shows where the power resides, how few folks control it, and how far they can reach.

'The Minimalists' Share Their Journey to a Simpler Life.

Ryan Nicodemus discusses how and why he and Joshua Fields Millburn left successful careers, ditched most of their stuff, and set up shop in a Montana cabin.

"When asked what he misses from his old life, Ryan pauses his heretofore enthusiastic, stream-of-consciousness answers. After a long pause, he says, "I can't think of anything."

Thanks to Mother Nature Network for passing along the story of these minimalists.

Resource Canada: Canadian Centre for Community Renewal

The Canadian Centre for Community Renewal is leading initiatives for transforming local economies in the face of current economic challenges. Check out thought-provoking resources and articles about ways to rethink the economies of Canada and the world.

Member Profile: Laurana Rayne

Laurana Rayne has published a book on the subject of navigating the consumer culture, Conscious Spending, Conscious Life. Laurana teaches a university course on consumer issues, and incorporates many of the principles of Financial Integrity into her classes and her writing. Learn how to access her book and blog here.


Tools & Examples: CFPB student debt visualizer

The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau has an interesting tool for gauging the impact of your student debt. Although not very specific, the "cost comparison" visualizer translates general college cost information into data regarding the long term impact of student debt. E.g. paying for an average 4-year private education with private loans will cost the equivalent of 63 tank-fulls of gas PER MONTH, for ten years after graduation. Pretty interesting thought experiment for anyone weighing financing options! Find the comparison visualizer here.

Resource: People Money - the Promise of Regional Currencies

' People Money - the Promise of Regional Currencies' tells the stories of 16 local currency systems, based on interviews with practitioners from around the world. "It is not just another downturn in the business cycle but a deep systemic crisis caused by the rift between a casino economics based on monetary speculation and the social and ecological realities of our time. The only way to bridge this chasm between money and planet, between money and people is to reinvent money." Many communities around the world are doing just that.

Resource: Conscious Spending, Conscious Life

Laurana Rayne has published a book on the subject of navigating the consumer culture, Conscious Spending, Conscious Life. Laurana teaches a university course on consumer issues, and incorporates many of the principles of Financial Integrity into her classes and her writing. Learn how to access her book and blog here.

On the wiki: Inspirations to share

We've added a gallery of images for you to use, post or share, focusing on Financial Integrity as a part of life. This will be updated as new images are created. Check it out!

Resource: Inhabitat

Whether you're interested in ways to make your personal economics more sustainable by reducing costs, or in what's happening in sustainability on a broader scale, Inhabitat is an informative resource on integrating values and action.

In the news: Pre-employment credit checks

The recent economic upheavals have left many Americans with damaged credit despite their best efforts. A growing concern in many areas is the increasing use of pre-employment credit screenings, which has led to efforts to restrict the practice. This telling graphic by underscores the concerns, and efforts to effect change are being led by Stop the Credit Catch 22, along with an impressive list of national partners. The National Consumer Law Center issued a report that is being used by state legislatures in reform efforts. For information on the status of pre-employment credit checks in your state, here's a state-by-state list of laws.

Resource: Coredlia Calls It Quits

Looking for some inspiration on making more intentional financial choices? Check out Cordelia Calls it Quits.

In the news: Can't Get a Job? Get a Microjob!

Whether you're looking for work, or simply looking to maximize your income in line with Step 7 to reach your financial goals, one option for increasing income is to take advantage of freelance microjobs. Microjobs can offer flexible self-employment that makes use of your skills, abilities, and preferences to create income and perhaps make also a difference.

In the news: From an Unlikely Source, a Serious Challenge to Wall Street

Local governments in California and elsewhere are formulating plans to do an end run around Wall Street banks' blockades of modifying mortgages for many troubled borrowers. In an article on Common Dreams, Matt Taibbi reports on these plans, which creatively use eminent domain, and how they might work to bring relief to underwater borrowers in some of the nation's hardest-hit regions, and spark economic recovery as well. A companion piece by Rep. Brad Miller on American Banker gives additional context to the concept.

Resource: Real Sustainable Habits

If you're looking for ideas and support for changing your habits to a more sustainable style, check out the blog Real Sustainable Habits. Witty and relaxed, the blog also offers one of the best descriptions we've seen of what "sustainable" means in terms of life choices.

In the news: A Lesson In Independence: The Two Fates of Lavish Lifestyle Larry

Read how one person approached regaining his independence, avoided a Lamentable Fate, and found the true Good Life through money mindfulness. What Larry learned: "it is better to act so as to preserve one’s independence than it is merely to act on one’s independence."

Resource: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)

INET provides a resource with a number of shorter videos of thoughtful in-depth discussions of the intersection of economic crisis and opportunity that we currently face.

Resource: Bank and Services Infographics

If you're interested in how big banks compare with community banks in size, types of loans, and performance (including America's only state-owned bank, the Bank of North Dakota), and how some key services compare, here are a number of illuminating graphs.

In the news: U.S. debt load falling at fastest pace since 1950s

Read how Americans are making inroads against private debt, by deleveraging and increasing savings. The debate about public debt has largely served to distract attention from the role of private debt in driving economic turmoil, and from the good news that American families and businesses are reducing debt at epic levels.

Resource: 4 weeks to a more organized home

It's one thing to recognize that an overabundance of "stuff" makes it difficult to appreciate what we have, but sometimes it's another thing to tackle "de-stuffing" our lives. Here's an organized baby-steps program for decluttering.

Resource: Organic Housekeeping

Conquer clutter and clean your space the frugal and healthy way with Ellen Sandbeck's Organic Housekeeping.

Resource: Resilience Circles/Common Security Clubs

Read about ways communities can help each other in uncertain economic times.

In the news: Amid Wall Street Protests, Smaller Banks Gain Favor

Community banking is gaining favor as people seek alternatives to megabanks. Read about banks that operate as B-Corporations (benefit corporations), such as New Resource Bank in San Francisco, with a focus on improving communities and the economy as well as bottom lines.

In the news: Is Job Security Real Security? Gainful Unemployment May Be A Workable Alternative

The benefits of a diversified investment strategy are well known. This article explores the benefits of a broadly diversified personal income strategy, in terms of flexible and diversified “gainful unemployment,” using strategies much in alignment with FI principles of honoring life energy through wise use of resources.

In the news: The Rise of the New Economy Movement

In the wake of the economic devastation the world has experienced since 2008, the "New Economy" movement has gained momentum, looking for alternative solutions to these problems. But just what is the New Economy Movement? What are these activits, theorists, organizations and ordinary citizens seeking to do? For a quick overview, check out this article from Also, check out Money & Life, co-sponsored by NRM.

In the news: It's not always about the money

There are many sound reasons for making financial decisions. Once survival issues are secured, according to this article on Moneycrush, there can be many "right" answers to how to spend and how to save, decisions made on the basis of multiple factors.

In the news: The credit CARD Act is working

According to an article on Demos, American households are benefiting significantly from increased consumer protections in the CARD Act. "Signed into law on May 22, 2009, the Credit CARD Act has benefited millions of households in ways that directly affect their monthly budgets. Demos’ 2012 National Survey on Credit Card Debt of Low- and Middle- Income Households finds that the Credit CARD Act empowers Americans to take control of their finances by increasing the transparency of credit card statements and dramatically reducing unfair and excessive fees and penalties."

In the news: Prepaid cards under scrutiny

According to, Consumers Union has released a new report detailing the need for stronger consumer protections on prepaid cards, and showing that using prepaid cards does little to help rebuild damaged credit.

Event: YMOYL featured in book club

Unicorn Books and Gifts in Ramona, CA holds a book club meeting the last Saturday of every month. On May 26, the book club will be discussing Your Money Or Your Life. This is a great chance, for those in the area, to get together and discuss what the book has done in your life, or may yet do, or just discuss the general subject. Everyone welcome. To learn more, visit the website.

Resource Canada: FinancialHighway

A general financial education blog with a Canadian point of view, FinancialHighway offers plenty of material of interest to FIers everywhere, from spending and debt to money psychology.

Resource: The Mindful Word

Check out The Mindful Word, a blog highlighting the benefits of seeking and living "enough" in personal finances, lifestyle choices, business, and more.

In the news: Homeowners battle banks to stop foreclosures ... and win

In some encouraging news, years into the greatest foreclosure crisis in decades, homeowners are beginning to make headway against faulty foreclosures by turning the banks' flawed processes and illegal actions against them in court. In most cases, homeowners are simply seeking - and gaining - the modifications they were supposed to be guaranteed under HAMP and other programs, along with legal fees. To avoid the disclosure of illegal activity, many banks are beginning to take these threats seriously, making it easier for distressed homeowners to get modifications without resorting to the courts. But, have the illegal actions stopped happening?

In the news: 8 ways to de-corporatize your money

Concerned about supporting mega-banks with your money? Looking for alternatives to huge corporate financing options? Here are some simple ways to put your money to work more locally and more personally, from Yes! Magazine.

Resource: FI classes in Florida

Holly Thomas is holding an FI-oriented financial workshop in Tampa on Friday, April 27, titled "Financial Lifestyle Planning Workshop: Will I Be OK?"

Resource: Making Good

Is it possible to have a meaningful career and make money at the same time? According to the authors of Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money, and Community in a Changing World, the answer is "yes!"

Member Profile: Holly P. Thomas

Holly Thomas is our newest Speaker/Instructor. A long-time professional in banking and financial planning, Holly specializes in helping individuals and small businesses create integrated financial/life plans that meet their needs.

Resource: The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing

The Mesh provides a new way to look at the economy and consumption, and explores a new business model based on that vision.

Resource: RSF Social Finance

RSF Social Finance is a world leader in social investing and giving, and sustainable economies.

In the news: JOBS Act: Crowdfunding Could Give a Boost to Small Business

President Obama has signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, removing outdated regulation dating to the 1930s that has made it all but impossible for the smallest businesses to gain investors, or for small investors to put their money to work supporting local businesses. These modest securities reforms remove a major stumbling block for small start-ups, allowing them to take advantage of the "crowdfunding" model. Read what the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies has to say about the how the new rules may affect the economy and investors.

Member profile: Peter Rodgers

We welcome a new FI instructor listed on the site, our very first in Australia. Learn more about Peter here.

Resource: Microfinance and crowdfunding

Once you’ve established your emergency fund, if you’e looking for a way to share your life energy and make a difference, you might consider Kiva Microfinance. Interested in supporting social entrepreneurs as well? Check out StartSomeGood to learn how.

Resource: Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood

Childhood influence is a powerful shaper of individual lifelong relationships with money. Many parents today are concerned about counteracting the influence of child-targeted marketing, from television commercials to candy ads painted on school walls. The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood seeks to address some of these concerns.

In the news: Launching the Boomerang Generation

The economic downturn has had a particular impact on young adults, with more of them unemployed now than at any time since 1948. "Boomerang" arrangements are a common way of dealing with the phenomenon - but how best to manage the arrangement to everyone's benefit? Read some suggestions from Share Save Spend.

In the news: Most Trustworthy US Companies

Investing in US companies? You can find out their level of financial integrity by relying on GMIRatings, Inc. Read the Forbes article featuring the top most trustworthy companies before you buy.

Member profile: Diane and Chuck - Financial independence at fifty

Read how Diane and Chuck learned to focus on the circumstances they could control – their spending and saving – to transform their lives. At fifty, they achieved financial independence from paid employment, including lifelong financial security for their two disabled sons. Says Diane: “We love doing what we want to do when we want. Life is good!!! “

In the news: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

Why did Greg Smith resign March 14 as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa? Because, he says, Goldman Sachs has lost its way: the client trust that has sustained the company for 143 years is no longer valued or sought. The carefully-nurtured culture of teamwork, integrity, spirit of humility, and always doing right by clients has been replaced with a toxic and unsustainable drive to make the most money from - rather than for - each client. A revealing look at what hasn’t changed about Wall Street since the crash, and why no investment firm can survive without a return to these traditional values of trust.

In the news: The Secret to Living Well on Less

As we’ve learned, the secret to contentment isn’t accumulation of “stuff,” but following an internal compass that points a course illuminated by our true values. Amy Gutman explores how changing our “reference group” – those we compare ourselves to – can help us change our spending and accumulating habits.

Resource: 1001 Things They Won't Tell You

If you need to make a major purchase, make home repairs, buy insurance, or any number of other transactions, 1001 Things They Won't Tell You can provide a useful overview of potential "gotchas" to be aware of.

Resource: Sustainable Seattle

Sustainable Seattle is part of a national project to examine more holistic means of measuring prosperity, beyond GDP, and make communities stronger, more sustainable, and more livable. The project can serve as an example to communities all over the country for improving local economies. FIers can use the site's Happiness Survey as a tool to help clarify personal values as they relate to economic well-being.

Resource: What's the Economy For, Anyway?

Born out of a project by the Economics Department at University of Washington, the movie What's the Economy For, Anyway? has now been joined by a companion book. Compelling and thought-provoking for anyone who's ever wondered: is there more to life than the GDP?

Resource: Center for Responsible Lending

Non-profit and non-partisan, the ward-winning Center for Responsible Lending is a consumer/policymaker resource dedicated to combating predatory lending and banking practices. Check out their tools and resources section for a handy comparison tool to evaluate checking accounts and credit cards.

In the news: Cash Mobs, the Anti-Groupon, Are Coming to a Store Near You

The craze for daily-deal Groupon-style purchasing has become very popular - even when it's really not very good for the health of small local businesses. Read how groups around the country are using social media to turn the "flash-sale" concept on its head to support small local businesses by organizing "cash mobs."

Resource: SmartyPig

If savings is a challenge for you, you have some specific goals you'd like to save for, or you would like a simple, fun way to encourage kids to develop the habit of saving for goals and the save-then-spend lifestyle, check out SmartyPig.

Resource: Free From Broke

For a general financial website with articles and tools, see Free From Broke

Save the Date: Money & Life, June 28 - July 1, 2012

In partnership with the Whidbey Institute, NRM is hosting a convening of 80 innovators of new economic paradigms in commerce, finance, activism, and academia, creating a new equitable and sustainable economy from the ground up. Using the rough-cut of the new film Money & Life by documentarian Katie Teague as a launching pad, we will share what is working and challenge each other to deepen and broaden the transformative power of our organizations, businesses, and our own lives. See Money & Life Event for more information.

In the news: Easing the hassles of changing banks

With ongoing rapid changes in the banking environment, from multiplying fees and-consumer-hostile services to questionable corporate actions, or simply due to relocation, sometimes it makes sense to change banks. However, in today's interconnected, plugged-in world, doing so can be complicated. To ease the challenges of getting all your automated services changed over, check out the Bank Switch Kit from

On the wiki: Announcing a new resource especially for Canadians

Although the principles of FI are universal, the specifics of living many of the steps can vary under the financial systems and laws of various countries. New Road Map Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of, a new place on the web for Canadians practicing FI. Here you can find editions of the Guides specific to the Canadian financial system, and a place to view and share resources specific to the needs of Canadians. (Although there are many resources with universal application, making it well worth the time for non-Canadians as well.) As a part of this wiki, the FICanada home page provides easy access to the full range of resources on the wiki, while helping Canadians to identify resources geared specifically to their needs as well. From within the wiki, the FICanada resources page can also be reached through Resources - International. We're still building out this important new resource, so please be sure to check back from time to time for updates and new features. Suggestions and feedback are always welcome (you can email us at info (at) financialintegrity (dot) org).

Resource: The American Debt Project

A personal finance blog with a broad range of information, the American Debt Project combines personal experience with practical resources on a variety of personal finance subjects.

In the news: You’ve Got an Emergency Fund — Now What?

Congratulations: you've established an emergency fund to help maintain your financial stability. Now... how do you manage it to keep it safe and readily available? Some ideas from MoneyCrush.

In the news: My Story of Frugality: Breaking My Economic Dependence on My Job

Dale S. Brown tells her story of how she realized that while she loved working, she hated being dependent on her job. Read how, using the FI principles in Your Money or Your Life, she set about attaining more financial freedom. She provides more details here.

Resource: Cool to be frugal

Cool To Be Frugal is a down-to-earth blog about frugal living and increasing income.

In the news: The 3/50 Project: Help Your Local Economy

Looking for a way to both be more deliberate in your own financial behavior, and make a real difference to the economy in your own community? Check out this article about the 3/50 Project, mindfully spending locally, within your normal budget.

On the wiki: Organizing study groups

We have members in Brazil and the UK who are looking for like-minded individuals who might be interested in starting up local study groups, or perhaps online study groups. If you or someone you know might be interested, send us an email at info(at), and we'll help connect you.

We'd also be interested in volunteers who would like to help us translate the study guides into Portuguese (or any other languages).

On the wiki: Newsletter archives

Are you new to the FI site, or just interested in looking up past articles or resources? Now you can browse the newsletter archives for any missed issues. Use the permanent link at the bottom of this page, or go directly to the archives here.

On the wiki: Find us on Facebook!

New Road Map Foundation has launched our new Financial Integrity page on Facebook to make it easier than ever to keep up on what FIers are doing around the world. We hope you'll join us there for content, conversation and community in addition to the postings on the wiki and the [ Simple Living Forum]. What's on your mind? How has FI made a difference in your life? Do you have a favorite quote from YMOYL or one of the many helpful books about changing your relationship with money? What are the challenges and rewards? Have a great resource? Need a great resource? Let us know, we'd love to hear from you!

On The Wiki: Join the Fun!

Do you have ideas for how to improve Join in the fun – moderating the wiki is a shared volunteer responsibility and it really connects you to what’s going on near and far. We’d love to have you join the team! Contact

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