Investing for happiness does not always mean investing for personal financial gain. Happiness can also be obtained by investing to make a difference in someone else’s life. One prime example of investing leading to social benefit is Grameen Bank. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank for fighting poverty through microloans. The bank was founded by Professor Yunus when he was teaching in Bangladesh while people were dying outside. He asked the people outside, why were they poor? Many were victims of bad loans putting them in debt for life. Soon Yunus secured funding and started Grameen Bank. The microloans are small amounts of money used to start businesses by purchasing raw materials or equipment. There are many things that differ from a normal bank. Money is loaned groups and women to ensure high probability of repayment. The bank also charges for instructional courses. By charging for those courses, it forces value to be extracted from those courses. Grameen Bank is anything but a free lunch. Instead of giving people a fish, it teaches people how to fish. It plants seeds of entrepreneurial spirit to lift people from poverty.
Grameen Bank is great, but how can you help other people. Kiva.org is an organization that provides microloans to people in developing countries. For as little as $25, you can help someone take a step toward a better life. I first heard of kiva.org from a friend and I saw it mentioned again on Oprah when she had Bill Clinton on to advertise his Giving book. The best part is that when your loan has been repaid, you can loan that money again to help another person. Helping people help themselves is fun and easy.