You may have heard the term “Crowdfunding” and thought it described a creative way of paying for a party. Or maybe you’ve heard about it from one of your children telling you about an “investment” that went bust. So what is it and why should you care?
After the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the widespread fraud in the unregulated sale of investment securities, Federal and State governments enacted laws requiring agencies to protect investors from sham investments. Recently those controls have been relaxed. Internet-driven charity fundraising and volunteer funding for creative music and movie projects via KickStarter have inspired the change. Congress has now also loosened rules governing the solicitation and sale of investment securities online. Crowdfunding is the massive online selling of these investments.
Congress passed The JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startup) Act of 2012 to relax investment regulations for smaller online equity investments and required the SEC to issue enabling guidelines. While the SEC has delayed implementation to date, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Alabama, Maine, Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana and Texas (pending November) have approved statutes permitting Intrastate Crowdfunding of equity investments.
As a result, businesses wanting to raise $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 online in increments of $5,000 or less have powerful new options to consider. Meanwhile, online investors (who need not be accredited investors as was required for prior closely held offerings) need to be aware of the unregulated nature of these investments, and investors must consider their risk of loss.
If you have not had a discussion about Crowdfunding with your children, be informed as this is a very popular topic among the social media-connected generation. Investments come in many forms, and they will succeed or fail for many reasons. Getting your children involved with your team of professional advisors – Attorney, CPA, Finance and Investment Advisor – will increase their chance of making a successful investment by giving them the due diligence tools needed to evaluate the proposed investment. The process of reviewing the potential Crowdfunding offering will also be a valuable learning experience that will prepare your children for when they eventually inherit the family wealth. Just as you wouldn’t stand by and watch your son or daughter build a custom home without help from an architect and other construction professionals, don’t sit on the sidelines while they invest hard-earned wealth in unregulated investments without reaching out for help.
Your goals and dreams change. Financial products do not. Clients work with us because we don’t sell products – we create customized plans based on each client’s unique goals, and we continuously reevaluate client plans to ensure they are aligned with changing needs. Our clients rely on us to protect their futures, and we take their trust to heart.
Tim Scannell, CPA, CFP TM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals “.
Keith Wolak, CPA is a partner at Hoeppner Wagner & Evans. Keith is a Board Certified Indiana Trust and Estate Lawyer, as certified by Trust and Estate Specialty Board who assisted in the technical drafting of this article but does not necessarily adopt any views expressed herein. Hoeppner Wagner & Evans LLP is a law firm with offices in Merrillville and Valparaiso. DISCLAIMER: This publication is not intended to be legal advice but is presented for informational and educational purposes only. The facts and circumstances of a specific legal issue are unique and you should seek legal advice for your specific questions or concerns. No attorney-client relationship is created