Want to Win at Personal Finance? Start a Money Club


We will talk about anything. Sex. Politics. Religion. Most controversial topics are fair game in today's world of openness and authenticity, and Americans will bare our souls — as long as the topic doesn't venture into money. A 2017 report from the makers of micro-investing app Acorns found that 68 percent of respondents would rather discuss their weight than how much they had in savings.

But making progress on your money goals may require an open, honest approach to finances. And this may be as simple as starting a money club.

Money clubs are making a comeback. People are borrowing the idea of connecting with a group to improve their financial literacy. I started a money club in 2017 for that very reason. I wanted people to have a safe space to ask questions, share success stories, and find accountability to help them accomplish their financial goals. In just three months, a group of 33 women collectively paid off $35,000 of debt and added just over $7,000 in savings.

Starting a money club doesn't have to be difficult. You should, however, keep these aspects in mind to create a lasting club that serves all members well.

Identify club members

Look for people in your circle who have either expressed an interest in learning about finances, are already working toward a financial goal, or are generally open to self-improvement concepts. Keep an eye out for social media posts from friends with a personal finance focus. You might find a willing participant.

Start with your family, friends, or co-workers and then broaden your search from there. Join social media groups related to personal finance if you can't tap anyone in your immediate circle.

Remember, everyone approached may not be receptive. Money can be a very sensitive topic. A committed group of three to five people is a great starting point. Continue to reach out to those in your sphere of influence until you have a solid, yet manageable group.

Schedule meeting logistics

Everyone is busy, and adding a new activity to a packed day can be difficult for many. Consider options to host your money club in a way that doesn't complicate the members' lives. Conference calls or online video chats are a great way to fit in regular meetings. Co-workers can meet in a conference room during lunch.

You can also start a private social media group that will allow your members to stay connected between official meetings. You can check in on each other and offer quick advice or encouragement as a means to keep everyone on the straight and narrow.

Think through meeting options that will work best for everyone so it's easy to attend. Organizing the group in a way that minimizes scheduling conflicts will ensure more members stay committed for the long run.

Set group goals

Decide as a group on the desired outcomes. Are you working toward becoming better budgeters? Do you all have a debt-free finish date in mind? Outline areas that the group should focus on in addition to goals for individual members.

Establish an overall timeline, too. Limit your participation to a specific time frame and re-evaluate if the group should continue once that time frame has expired. This will force you to constantly review your progress to ensure members' needs are being met. (See also: 5-Minute Finance: Create Financial Goals)

Locate helpful resources

The internet is brimming with helpful resources on just about every financial topic imaginable. Some members may be familiar with specific books or approaches that they can bring to the table. Start with an assignment that requires each member to suggest a resource and review it together as a group. (See also: 9 Online Forums That'll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals)

Celebrate group wins

Remember to celebrate interim milestones. Encourage each member to succeed. Even a small recognition of a goal accomplished or interim good news can help keep the fuel of motivation burning. When individual members are doing well, the good news is contagious.

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