John Hamilton

What does Slow Money mean to you?

By John Hamilton

Slow Money is about examining whether you're using your investment dollars in ways that are strategic, open-minded and likely to achieve your goals.

In preparing to participate in the Slow Living Summit later this month in Brattleboro, VT, I reflected on the meaning of Slow Money.

Is Slow Money the pace at which the return comes back to the lender/investor? Not to me. I think it is more about slowing down enough to examine whether you're using your investment dollars in ways that are strategic, open-minded and likely to achieve your goals.

I believe this definition sticks whether you are an individual investor, institutional lender, business owner, social entrepreneur, traditional/alternative source of capital, philanthropist, etc. I also believe that asking the Slow Money questions has the potential to lead people in each of those roles to surprising and challenging but healthy places.

  • An investor may realize that innovation is a two-way street, and that she would serve herself and her customers better by offering more than one type of financing.
  • A business owner may question whether his focus on raising capital is actually helping him accomplish his business goals.
  • A business owner may discover that her "debt is always good" or "always bad" approach isn't really working and needs deeper analysis.
  • A technologist or hobbyist thinking of starting a business may understand more deeply what it means to grow a company and pursue investors.
  • An individual investor may gain insight into how the ways he uses his money can reflect his goals and values.

If you've applied this examination to your investments, either professionally or personally, I'd love to hear from you. Did it reveal any new directions? Did you follow through? How has it worked? Please let me know by commenting below.

John Hamilton is the Community Loan Fund's Vice President of Economic Opportunity and Vested for Growth's Managing Director.