Transition Whatcom

Personal Finance Workgroup


Personal Finance Workgroup

We agree that people and households that are financially secure are more resilient, and our community will be more resilient if its members are more financially secure.

Members: 40
Latest Activity: Sep 2, 2013

Discussion Forum

Initiative to start a public Washington state bank gets some press

Started by Rob Olason. Last reply by Shirley Jacobson Dec 29, 2011. 2 Replies

Thought this article by Ellen Brown of Truth Out might be of interest to this group. "Bills were introduced on January 18, in both the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature, that add…Continue

Legalize Local Investing

Started by David MacLeod. Last reply by Patricia Herlevi Dec 7, 2011. 1 Reply

See my cross-post of Asher Miller's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to…Continue

Move Your Money Campaign

Started by Shirley Jacobson. Last reply by Maxine Walker Oct 17, 2011. 23 Replies

I am copying Katie's comment here first so that all comments related to this discussion will be together.Continue

Poverty/Unemployment and Sustainable Economics

Started by Behrouz. Last reply by Behrouz Aug 31, 2011. 4 Replies

Optimal personal finance management requires knowledge of the short and long-term economic trend.  How we allocate our life energy and resources individually and collectively will affect our quality…Continue

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Personal Finance Workgroup to add comments!

Comment by Judith Culver on January 4, 2012 at 2:09pm

The Personal Finance workgroup meeting is at the home of a member.  Mason intersects with Ellis where it changes to Samish Way.  Laurel is the cross street on Maple.  920 is on the left as you go toward the Arboretum.

Comment by Patricia Herlevi on January 3, 2012 at 5:00pm

Where is this 920 Mason where the Financial Group meeting is taking place? I've not heard of this street.

Comment by Judith Culver on December 28, 2011 at 3:16pm

Patricia, thank you for letting us know your ideas and generating some discussion.  This workgroup founded a Transition Whatcom spinoff, Whatcom Investing Network.  Local people in this network (called WIN) are seeking investments in sustainable businesses.  When you have made contacts and put together a proposal, remember this as a possible source of funding.  Here's the link:


Comment by Angela MacLeod on December 28, 2011 at 12:41pm

Hi Patricia,

A good person to contact on the Board of Directors of the Community Food Co-op is Deborah Craig. She used to be a co-op employee for many years and is now a board member. She  also now works for  The Circle of Life Caregiver Cooperative, a worker owned local cooperative business. So she has a lot of experience working in cooperatives and in her position on the Board at the Co-op, she might be a great resource for your ideas.

Comment by Patricia Herlevi on December 28, 2011 at 10:26am

Hi Angela,  What a great idea!  The structure of a food co-op certainly lends itself as a model for artisan coops.  And I remember reading about an artist coop last spring in the coop newsletter so the food coop supported that effort.  Also coops bring talent, experience, and know-how together with each member bringing strengths.  So veteran artisans or farmers joining a cooperative share their interpersonal skills and experience and younger generations with all the computer skills/tools bring their experience to the marketing and networking side.

Since 2002, I've been carrying around a proposal for a music cooperative and I remember doing extensive research at the time when I wrote that proposal.  Funding was the biggest obstacle along with location (zoning codes, etc). I'm not a wealthy person, don't know any investors, so I stuffed the proposal in the back of my file cabinet.

Comment by Angela MacLeod on December 27, 2011 at 7:49pm

In response to Patricia's comment:

   ..."say we start a fair trade cooperative for textile artisans in the region".

Perhaps the Community Food Co-op could support or mentor such a cooperative. I know they have been having brainstorming meetings amongst members with the Board of Directors to come up with ways to support our region in becoming more resilient.

Comment by Patricia Herlevi on December 27, 2011 at 4:13pm

I agree Walter.  There was a time not so long ago when companies and food producers hired marketing directors and assistants.  But with the current economy, communications professionals are losing their jobs or have done so already.  Many are volunteering for non-profits at the moment, but need to make a living. 

Marketing is important for any business endeavor including today's farms who desire outreach to the local communities and beyond.  Marketing, (I just self-published a book and have been doing my own marketing), takes up time that can be used for the day-to-day work. When priorities are weighed, marketing usually is tossed out.

I'm actually seeking part-time work doing public outreach and social media marketing for a sustainable business. I would be interested in contracting for food producers in the city limits that have an office space for me to work from.  My specialties are blogging, Linked-In and Twitter.  I'm looking at this work as my livelihood so I would charge the current market fee for marketing consultants or if hired on staff, a marketing coordinator.

Comment by David Marshak on December 27, 2011 at 12:47pm

Patricia, I think this a really interesting discussion, which to me does seem to relate to Personal Finance. Our next group meeting is Sunday, January 8, from 11 AM - 1 PM. Would you be interested in participating and helping us understand more about how you see this possibly taking form?

Comment by Patricia Herlevi on December 27, 2011 at 12:37pm

Hi Judith,  I'm not concerned about the comments left with the article.  My goal here is to open up a discussion of how online media and tools can enhance do-it-yourself businesses and further enhance the entrepreneur spirit that exists in Bellingham.

For instance, a social media consultant earns a bottom figure of $20 an hour, but can charge a client $500 to $2,000 for social media content.  Social media is crucial for any small or large business these days, but many businesses and entrepreneurs already wear too many hats and don't participate enough with social media.  So entrepreneurs and small businesses can hire social media consultants to do the work for them.  This is just one example.

So say we start a fair trade cooperative for textile artisans in the region, which there must be hundreds working individually.  Most of these artisans are too busy making their clothing, and other textiles to deal with marketing.  So then this cooperative hires consultants to do this work and also hires a business manager to run the cooperative.  Think of all the jobs this cooperative and support staff could create.  This is just one idea of how social media and online tools can build a sustainable economy.

Right now in Bellingham there are few paid communication positions and not many with sustainable businesses.  Yet, marketing is crucial to getting a product out locally and distributed on a wider scale.

I have met local artisans selling their crafts through site like Etsy.  I don't know how much money this brings in and that would depend on the artisan's marketing efforts and online presence.

So what I'm saying here is that the Yahoo article brought up a new economy that relies more heavily on the internet as a tool.  The actual salaries mentioned might be exaggerated. I don't know without doing a lot of research on the occupations mentioned.  But I'll tell you this, I recently self-published a book online because that is the direction the book publishing industry is heading.  I'm not pro-high tech and it took me forever to get a computer, but I'm seeing online trends that can create better paying jobs in Bellingham while still honoring the entrepreneur spirit.

Those people who commented and tried those professions probably didn't have the proper training with online tools to enhance their careers.  Not every social media consultant or yoga coach will succeed, especially if they don't make the effort towards a huge learning curve.  Younger generations will have an easier time than baby boomers because they are more comfortable with new technology.  But we need to open our minds and use the tools that are available to us in the most effective manner.  Or we just end up with a business-as-usual approach that isn't the least bit sustainable.

Comment by Judith Culver on December 25, 2011 at 4:45pm

Patricia, I read the yahoo article and the first 20-30 comments.  None of the people who responded took this article seriously.  They couldn't believe people could achieve the income suggested in the article.  A number had tried those professions.  Were you looking for something specific from this workgroup?  If so, tell us what and maybe someone will be interested in responding to you.


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