I hate book clubs. I have tried a few over the years and find that either I’m the only one who reads the book, or we talk about the book for five minutes and spend the rest of the time drinking wine. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just isn’t for me. Time is precious, and I’m one of those people who wants to feel like I’m learning and not just hanging out.
In a 2017 Money Matters report from the makers of the app ‘Acorns’, 68% of respondents said they would rather discuss their weight than how much they had in savings. That is scary! We use friends and social groups to gather information on everything from parenting to renovating a home. Why not do the same for your finances by starting or joining a Money Club? Talking about money does not have to be shameful or a taboo subject. If you want to make the most of your financial resources and achieve your financial goals, a Money Club could be what you need.
Here is my advice on how to start and use a Money Club to optimize your personal finances.
Step 1: Find people interested in making improvements to their personal finances and willing to talk about the subject openly. Three to five people is a good starting point as it gives you several different viewpoints and the ability to focus on making meaningful progress towards each of your financial goals. In addition, pick people you can trust to be confidential. What is said in the Money Club, stays in the Money Club.
Step 2: Keep logistics simple. Make the meeting time and place easy for everyone. This could be a virtual meeting for 60 minutes when the kids are asleep or out of the house. Make attendance mandatory. If you meet once a month and miss a meeting, it will derail the group’s progress. To keep in touch in between meetings, set up a What’s App group and text updates or questions. Committing to anything is hard these days. Set a time frame for the group, like 9 months. If the first run is successful, you can start a new one with fresh goals and potentially new members.
Step 3: Set your financial goals. You can determine an overall theme for the Money Club, like debt reduction or living within your means (i.e. budgeting), or you can each set personal financial goals and help each other achieve those goals. Be specific and have a way to measure your progress towards the goal and share it with your Money Club.
Step 4: Seek out useful resources. It’s overwhelming how much information is available on personal finances, which makes it hard to know what information is best to help you achieve your goals. Crowdsourcing information is an option (Reddit Personal Finance, list of 50 Personal Financial blogs) or seeking out a financial professional to join you for your meetings or help answer specific questions.
It takes a village to live in today’s world. Use that village to help ensure your personal financial success. For anyone reading this article and interested in starting a Money Club, I am here as a resource. Reach out to me and I’ll help your Money Club get on track to achieving your goals.