Save money and do good with this financial firm’s socially conscious rewards program
Aspiration
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Aspiration

Financial firms and social goodwill don't always go hand in hand. But one company, fittingly called Aspiration, challenges that assumption.

Aspiration is a financial institution with a conscience — one built to help serve everyone. That shouldn't be revolutionary, but it is. Perhaps it's worth taking that analogy one step further: Aspiration isn't changing the face of finance. It's giving it a face by restoring a long-absent social conscious to the world of financial services.


US vs THEM www.youtube.com

Here are just a few examples: Instead of using their customers' deposits to fund oil pipelines, which can "threaten Indigenous and human rights, put drinking water and wildlife at risk, and contribute to climate change," or fund political campaigns working directly against their own interests, 10% of Aspiration's net profits from customer's "Pay what is fair" program are donated to charity. And yes, the monthly maintenance fee is a choice, entirely within the customer's jurisdiction. The customer pays a monthly maintenance fee based on what they think is fair... even if it's zero.

It's an approach that landed Aspiration on Fast Company's Top Ten Most Innovative Companies list in both Finance and Social Good – the only company to ever appear on both.

Since Aspiration Partners, LLC's CEO Andrei Cherny, a former speech writer for Al Gore and Bill Clinton, co-founded the financial startup in 2015, the company has let customers track their debit purchases with sustainable brands. "We want to find every way we can to help people line up their money with their morals," Cherny told Bloomberg.

But now they're taking that commitment one step further: When debit-card customers shop with one of the sustainable companies with whom Aspiration has partnered, they will receive 3% to 5% cash back. So by giving more, you're also receiving more (call it institutionalized instant karma.) "It provides the encouragement people need to vote with their dollars," Cherny said.

"We've selected and teamed up with over 15 companies that put 'doing the right thing' at the heart of their businesses — from giving away eyeglasses and shoes to distributing food when you shop with them," Aspiration said about the program it's calling The Conscience Coalition.

Aspiration Presents: The #ConscienceCoalition www.youtube.com

As more customers sign up and participate in this new brand of financial service, they predict the Coalition will expand, not only to include more ethical brands, but also inspire existing brands to change their business model. A few of the companies currently included in The Conscience Coalition are: eyeglass provider Warby Parker, shoe seller TOMS, household-goods retailer Brandless, pet care company Wag!, and fashion retailer Reformation.

In time, perhaps Aspiration's vision will revolutionize the financial industry as we know it and revamp its image for a more progressive, more compassionate era.

If you want a financial institution that helps you do more with your money, visit the Aspiration website to sign up.


The Aspiration Spend & Save Account is a cash management account offered by Aspiration Financial, LLC, a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Aspiration Financial, LLC (Aspiration Financial) provides brokerage services and securities products. Its affiliate company, Aspiration Fund Adviser, LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser, provides investment advisory services. Aspiration Fund Adviser, LLC and Aspiration Financial, LLC are subsidiaries of Aspiration Partners, Inc. Neither Aspiration Partners, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries is a bank. Aspiration pledges to donate 10% of our net profits to charities.

Aspiration Partners, LLC and its subsidiaries are not affiliated with the organizations or individuals listed.

Aspiration Debit Card is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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