Saving, investing, and educating yourself about finance can be lonely and boring if you go it alone. Unfortunately, too many people try to tackle money issues without support and end up giving up because they’re bored or because they aren’t getting any validation for their efforts. Sure, if you’re an introvert you may prefer to go it alone, but even then a little interaction with like-minded people can be fun and lead to new discoveries. If you want to share your journey with other people, you can start (or join) a money club.
Starting a club about money doesn’t have to be a big deal. You don’t need officers or rules. All you need is a group of willing people and someplace to meet. You can start by recruiting people you know. People from church, coworkers, neighbors, friends, members of other social groups, and family members all make prospective members. You can just casually mention that you’d like to start meeting to trade ideas and resources about investing, retirement, frugality, debt reduction, or whatever other topics interest you. Chances are that you’ll find more people than you think who are also looking for support and inspiration.
If you want to branch out and make a bigger club, you can post the details of your club at the local library, in the local newspaper, at the local community college, or on a site like Meetup.com. If you look around your area, you may also find an existing club that you’d like to join, saving you the hassle of creating one from scratch.
If you’re starting a club from scratch, you’ll need meeting space. You want this to be free of charge, if possible. Libraries often offer meeting space, and they may also help you spread the word about your group. You may also be able to use a classroom after school hours or a room in a church. Coffee shops and casual restaurants can work for smaller groups. They may be happy if you buy a drink, but most don’t require it. You can also use your house, or the houses of your group members, but if you’re recruiting people you don’t know through the library, newspaper, or websites, make sure you have your meetings in public places, at least at first. You don’t want total strangers coming to your home.
Once you’ve got some people and a space, you can let the conversation rip. If you want to stick to one topic that’s fine, although many great ideas are found when the conversation ranges over the course of the evening. You can share success stories and problems, discuss articles you saw online or in a magazine, talk about something you heard from an advisor, or swap recipes and frugal tips. You can also have an occasional book club month where everyone reads the same finance book and discusses it. Just be sure to listen as well as talk. No one likes a group member who monopolizes the conversation and makes it all about themselves and their problems.
A money club doesn’t have to be serious or dull. If your venue allows for food, you can arrange potluck dinners or have members sign up to provide refreshments on a rotating basis. You can occasionally play games related to money, or watch a movie/documentary about money. You can celebrate birthdays and holidays, all while you discuss the financial topics you want to learn about. Occasionally, you can just shelve the money talk and do something fun like plan a group outing to the park or a free concert.
A club can give you support and friendship that might make those hard financial days seem a bit easier. And you get to capitalize on the knowledge of those who might know more than you or have great ideas that you never thought of. At the very least, it’s a chance to get out and make some new friends and have a little fun.
(Photo courtesy of snickclunk)