Money Clubs

Most U.S. adults have their own personal money goals, ranging from saving for retirement to getting out of debt.

 

You may simply want to know more about finance in general, and how to make the most of your income. However, trying to achieve your goals and educate yourself with no help can be very difficult. You may feel overwhelmed at the idea of taking a finance course, or perhaps embarrassed over past money mistakes. In most K-12 public schools in the U.S. money matters and economics are seldom taught. If you would like to learn more about finances, a money club may be your best option.

A money club will allow you to share your financial experiences, both past and present, as well as your goals, in a safe and friendly environment. You can both give and benefit from peer support and learn more about your financial options. There is also a social aspect to enjoy, as you can spend time with your friends in a constructive and valuable manner.

What is a Money Club?

A money club functions in much the same way as other activity-based social clubs like wine or book clubs. It involves a group of peers meeting together on a regular basis to discuss their personal finances. Generally, the group will be made up of close friends who all feel they need some kind of help in their financial lives.

The goal of meeting together is partially to break the taboo of discussing money. If you are unable to ask for help from anyone, you may never be able to find a solution to your problems. At the same time, you may be able to offer advice to another member of the group on an issue he or she is experiencing. By committing to meeting with friends, the members also keep themselves focused on their goals and will feel empowered by the encouragement of others.

Groups of women often start money clubs, also called “Sou Sou money saving clubs”. Many people feel a stronger commitment to their financial targets if they are part of a group. However, there are money clubs held by many different groups in various demographics. Students, for example, might organize a college-based money club. Many clubs can be started in a virtual forum as well using social media.

Starting Your Own Money Club

Starting your own club can be as simple as contacting a group of friends and inviting them over to have a finance-based discussion. However, some planning is advisable if you intend to keep the group going in the long term. You will need to select a group of friends who will be willing to commit to the group’s meetings, as well as divulge the details of their personal finances. This may even involve bringing bank and credit card statements to share with the group, so everyone will need to commit to the level of honesty required.

Someone will need to determine the agenda for every meeting, as well as plan future meetings. This can be organized collaboratively, or one or two members might be placed in charge of administering the group. However, it is not necessary to have anyone take on a teaching role for the club. Instead, it should be an open and equal discussion. Each meeting may also require its own topic, planned in advance so members can do their own research and preparation.

Topics for Discussion

The overall subject of personal finance is extremely broad, and you may be unsure of which topics you might focus on in your meetings. You might choose one topic per meeting, or perhaps have a set list of items you deal with at every session. Consider some of the following topics for discussion:

 

  • Financial literacy can be extremely daunting at times, with difficult terms everyone but you may seem to understand. However, you may be surprised at how many of your friends are also unfamiliar with personal finance terms. Learning these terms may feel like schoolwork, but it will be worth it.
  • Financial confessions can be very personal but may also be freeing when shared in the right environment. You may find you are better able to deal with your issues once they are out in the open.
  • Investments can be very useful to consider, even if not everyone present is planning on entering the stock market. By researching this topic, you may find alternative investment options to suit each member of the group.
  • Savings goals, either long or short term, can be easier to achieve if a group of friends is keeping you accountable. This might be saving for an emergency fund, toward a retirement plan or for a home purchase. You might check in with everyone’s progress for a particular goal at every session, working to determine the cause of any missed targets.
  • Paying off debts can also benefit from accountability, as well as advice from others who have experience in this area.
  • Financial triumphs should be celebrated at each meeting as well. This can help everyone to remember they are on their way to meeting their goals, even if they are struggling in certain areas. Accomplishments can be as small as implementing a budget strategy or opening a savings account.

Practical Concerns

You will need to decide how many friends to include in the group. A small group may mean there are fewer experiences to share, while too many members might mean not everyone has a chance to contribute. A recommended number to aim for is six members, although fewer can also work. If necessary, you can start with just one friend, aiming to grow the group slowly when you have the chance.

It is also important to make sure you meet at a time and location equally suitable for all members. Many money clubs choose to meet at someone’s home, perhaps combining the meeting with drinks and snacks to make it a more enjoyable social event for all the members. You may alternatively wish to meet at a coffee shop or restaurant.

The nature of the discussions means you might need to tackle the issue of privacy head on. Make sure all of the members understand everything spoken of within the meetings is completely confidential. If you are not that close with the members of the group, consider having everyone sign confidentiality agreements. This is suggested by money club promoters at the Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE), who also have their own recommended process for starting a club.

 

It might also interest you: