How to live in a capitalist society and plan your future

My day job recently began a 401K program that I’m only now looking over. At the same time I’m looking for a credit card to build my credit history. The prospect of giving a bunch of money to huge capitalist corporations for decades feels immoral.

Banks just flatly horde money, penalize poorer people and reward rich people, and lobby against protections for the public. Then the whole point of good credit is to hopefully one day promise a bank exorbitant amounts of money for a house or car. With investment portfolios your money goes to a random bunch of huge companies that engage in a mix of chaotic, neutral, and true evil behavior.

Is there a method of planning for your future in a capitalist society that doesn’t support these awful companies?

Credit unions are run way better that any bank. Ive been with becu for nearly a decade. Highly recommend it. I got a car loan at a good rate and also credit card through them and never once gotten a processing fee or bogus charge.

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That’s I good idea! I should look for a credit card through them.

I wonder if there even is a way to invest money that is social responsible.

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I’ve got a BECU credit card, just to ‘build credit’ for the imaginary future where I can afford to buy an apartment. It’s nice and easy. They up my limit automatically and I just transfer money online to pay it off.

I recently (like a couple years ago) pulled investments out of Vanguard after finding out that they were the most significant financial investor in GEO Group, a for-profit prison company which also runs our concentration camps. Vanguard is one of the most commonly recommended investment options, and one of the largest, and yeah I think a lot of American wealth is held up in these portfolios for passive growth that are just funding the most horrific things you can think of.

I am maybe just not fully radicalized yet but I think investing can be socially responsible, if it’s in socially responsible companies. I’m sure there are groups that manage those sorts of portfolios but I haven’t looked into it yet. Maybe I will, and get back to this. Either way, curious to know.

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My generation so far isn’t very informed on banking. I’m guilty of my accounts being in a bank with tangibly bad issues and I have no idea how to break from it and get my stuff moved over. I should honestly find an online personal finance video playlist…any recommendations?

In general, my personal capitalism-screwing is hosted mainly in my gardening and sewing. I get disproportionately angry about fast fashion and food sourcing, so I do as much of that stuff myself. My friends (from an lgbtq scientist collective) and I share a community garden plot, and I’m an active forager. Foraging is so underrated. Hopefully my seed storage and propagation techniques yield fewer grocery trips. I make and repair clothing with mixed success, and I love reusing old fabrics to make new things. Fast fashion supports inhumane labor practices and poor environmental standards while poorly crediting designers and laborers.

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I second credit-unions. They aren’t banks, they are groups of folks who come together to use their savings to give each other loans. If you have one in your area, you should check it out.

In regards to the more broad question of ethical financial investment, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
In my view, it is unethical to allow financial investors to make all decisions of who works and how they work, but this is not the only model available to us. There is an increasing amount of interest in companies that are organized by by-laws that state that the workers of that company are the ones who maintain control over who works there and how they work. They are often referred to as “worker-owned co-ops”. The easiest way for me to visualize this is to imagine a group of folks who work at a company after the owner of the company has decided to retire. The workers ask for loans from their friends and family and possibly even from a credit-union or bank. But they don’t give any control of how the business is operated to those investors. They may pay back that investment with interest, but they are making the decisions on how this organization is run themselves.
Now in that example, remember that they still need financial investment. They are also likely to be willing to pay some interest back for that investment. Who is going to finance them?

Here is a good initial source of resources to investigate this further:

Here is a 20 minute video that goes over the basics of what a worker-owned co-op is.


Yeah!! We’re very pro-co-op here I think :slight_smile:
IWG is kinda co-op-inspired in its democratic aspects - but also very different, since it’s a nonprofit with no financial assets.

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There is going to be a money workshop at the Unitarian Universalist congregation I attend. I’m really looking forward to having some physical-space interactions with social-justice minded folks about their personal experiences and thoughts in the ethics of savings. I’m very very cynical about it, but they have surprised me in positive ways multiple times so I’m psyched by the possibility that I don’t know everything.