The Democratization of Investing
- by Bruce Blechman
At last, just about everyone who has any discretionary capital can invest in a private company in the United States. Since 1934, except for a few small exemptions, only millionaires could invest in private companies. How did we ever achieve economic growth during the past 78 years with that silly law on the books?
Imagine what we can now accomplish with the enactment of the crowdfunding section of the new JOBS Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on April 5. It allows 99 percent—instead of just 1 percent—of the investing population to put some capital in Main Street inscrowdtead of only Wall Street.
For the first time, a new category of investors has been created. What was called the “unaccredited investor” will now be called the “microinvestor,” defined as anyone taking an interest in putting discretionary funds into private companies instead of other risky investments such as penny stocks, gambling or the lottery.
The first microinvestors will undoubtedly be early adaptors, but expect many millions of Americans to join in soon—those who wonder whether they can continue to entrust their retirement, savings and children’s education to today’s rickety financial system.
Finally for the first time, everyone will be allowed to invest in the entrepreneurial early-stage and growing businesses that are the real wealth of this country.
In fact, I predict that the new approach of crowdfunding Main Street will fundamentally change the way people manage their wealth.
Now imagine the kinds of new businesses, economic revitalization, income, wealth and jobs that will be created from this major shift.
As soon as the new wave of crowdfunded capital starts to pour into the severely undercapitalized world of entrepreneurs, some extraordinary, highly profitable businesses will emerge, creating success stories for both the entrepreneurs and their microinvestors.
Once this type of news hits the media, all hell will break loose and what might first appear to be a trickle of funds will soon burst into a torrent. In the same way that social networking changed how we allocate time, crowdfunding will change how we allocate capital. This capital flight will occur with dramatic speed and result in the largest and most monumental change in capital investing in human history.