Many business experts believe that the simplest and best way to earn reliable income for the future is with a fixed-income investment. You can use a fixed-income investment to pay for retirement or generate extra income in the future. A fixed-income investment can also mitigate risk in a diversified financial portfolio. And most fixed-income investments pay anywhere between 5% to 7% semi-annually up to the date of maturity.
Are some of you lost after reading the previous few sentences? Don’t be ashamed if you are – I used to be lost when it came to financial terms as well. A fixed-income investment is also known as a bond and a bond is basically a loan from an investor to a borrower. And now there is a small business bond service called SMBX that allows you to invest in promising small businesses directly instead of large corporations. SMBX is one of number of companies emerging in in hybridized crowdfunding and investing space. But it’s interesting for reasons I’ll explain in this post.
The SMBX Small Business Bond – Up to 9% Return
By investing in small business bonds through SMBX, you can earn up to 9% in interest and principal every month.
When you buy small business bonds through SMBX, you impact your community in a positive way by showing people they can support local small businesses in more ways than one. You can buy a small business bond via SMBX for as little as $10 each or as much as $2,500.
I am now a bondholder because of SMBX, something I am very proud of doing. I bought five bonds for the company ChildWise, a Chicago-based company that offers Child Development Associate Credential, or CDA, certificates.
If you are interested in learning about bonds and supporting small businesses, then I recommend that you check out SMBX.
However, the best way to explain the SMBX small business bond is to first explain the traditional bond, of the fixed income investment.
What is a Bond?
I started this article by referring to bonds as “fixed-income investments” for a reason – many Americans have no idea what they are even though they are the same thing. And that is a shame because bonds are a great way to generate a reliable form of income through investment.
A fixed-income investment, which hereafter will be referred to as a bond, is just a loan.
However, instead of a bank or financial service lending you money, you are the one who extends a loan as an investor. You can buy bonds from the federal, state, or local municipal government.
Government bonds pay a coupon rate, or interest rate, usually twice a year. The maturity date, which is printed on the bond, is the date when the interest rate payments end. So, if you cash the bond by the maturity date, you will get back your loan plus the interest that was generated until the maturity date.
So, you can buy a 30-year Treasury bond at 1.84% right now to help fund the American government. A local municipal bond may offer a 5% interest rate.
Corporate bonds usually offer up to a 7% interest rate.
When you buy government or corporate bonds, you are lending money to institutions with a lot more money than you.
That is why you will get a different kind of small business-centric investment experience with SMBX.
The Small Business Bond Initiative
SMBX is a small business bond facilitator that matches investors with small businesses in need of financial aid to stay independent and augment economic growth.
All you need to get started is a bank account or a credit card. Then you can register at SMBX’s official website. After that, you can buy $10 bonds up to an investment limit of $2,500. So, you can buy up to 250 bonds at SMBX.
SMBX small business bonds pay interest rates ranging from 4% to 9%, and principal, on a monthly basis for a period of up to 60 months.
SMBX even has an interest calculator to help you calculate how much monthly interest you could generate. As the interest payments accumulate in your SMBX account, you can withdraw them to your bank account or credit card.
With SMBX, small businesses can raise capital on their own terms. And investors like you can support small business growth on a local level. After a small business lists itself on SMBX, you can analyze each profile, download financial prospectus’ and other financial data related to the company, and decide if you want to invest.
Why You Should Invest via SMBX
The idea of crowdfunding as an everyday investor is not new. However, traditional crowdfunding has many pitfalls.
Local Impact Investing
Less than 23% of all traditional crowdfunding efforts are successful in their fundraising goals. Traditional crowdfunding initiatives are essentially popularity contests because there are so many of them. Also, you must be consistently engaged in traditional crowdfunding tactics to succeed.
I am not implying that investing in small business bonds via SMBX carries no risks (more on that later). What I stress is that the difference here is that SMBX bonds allow you to invest in businesses on a grassroots scale. The focus of an SMBX crowdfunding initiative is on the small business and local community, not popularity contests.
SMBX small business bonds allow the everyday investor an opportunity to learn the basics of bond investing on a small scale. With an SMBX small business bond, you can help a business run its operations on its own terms.
And by investing via SMBX, you just might help to create new jobs on a local scale.
Investing via SMBX is a different way of doing business and gives you more investor control in potential outcomes.
Currently, the small companies seeking bond investors on SMBX are food retailers, a truck company, and a child education certification company.
And I am not just preaching to you the virtues of small business bonds. Or the power of advocating for small businesses. I myself bought bonds and invested in a small business via SMBX.
SMBX empowers bond investors and companies to engage in local impact investing. Local impact investing is where bond investors loan money to upstart companies that are disrupting business norm status quos and trying to drive social change.
Most importantly, the money that you lend to one or more companies via SMBX goes directly to that business and the local community it serves, not some commercial bank. That is in essence what is meant by the term “local impact investing.”
While local impact investing benefits you and the company you invest in – I want to stress that your potential interest returns can range between 4% t0 9%. If you compare SMBX’s interest rates to dividends paid by the stock market (2-3% for the S&P 500) and rates paid by bank accounts (2-4%), the 9% return looks pretty good for investors who want income, but less risk than the stock market.
I bought $50 worth of bonds, at $10 each and at 8%, for a small Chicago-based company called ChildWise (LinkedIn page here).
I really respect the business visions of the other businesses seeking investment bonds on SMBX.
However, I am a former educator. And the mission statement of ChildWise, to provide online training, consultation, and official credentials to educators of young children, spoke to my heart. Their mission is here:
Children all over the world have been missing out on in-school education since the coronavirus pandemic began. I believe that we will have lost generations of children due to mandatory lockdowns and social distancing mandates.
Also, I did not just invest in ChildWise on a whim. ChildWise, and the other companies offer a PDF prospectus and other financial information for investors to analyze.
I believe in the mission of ChildWise and encourage you to check out their SMBX page. ChildWise will be trying to attract more bond investors through its SMBX profile page for another 20 days as of this writing.
You can sign up using this link, or click on the image below to navigate to their website.
At the end of ChildWise’s fundraiser, I will receive my bonds and receive monthly principal and interest payments for 60 months. I will document my progress six months from now.
The SMBX Method (And Risks)
Investing can be an intimidating thing to do. But is an important strategy to master if you want to gain financial independence.
And investing via SMBX carries risks. Like any other investment vehicle, you could lose your money. You should thoroughly research the small business you invest in via SMBX. Each small business profiled on SMBX offers PDF prospectuses and other financial documents that you can peruse.
Additionally, you must be engaged as an SMBX small business bond investor. Tell friends and colleagues about your investment. Contact the small business you invested and see if you can help them with attracting more fundraisers.
The only way that you can get your ROI is to help the small business you invested in expanding its brand and gain more local visibility. SMBX investing isn’t a passive sport.
But if you invest in bonds, invest in small business bonds through SMBX. Unlike government or corporate bonds, your interest rate can be as high as 9%.
And you can help a small local business get the financial support they need to operate their business on their terms and to help their local community.
I encourage you to invest in small business bonds through SMBX today.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.