A Money Group is a group of friends who gather to talk about financial matters (e.g., how to pay for their children’s college education, get out of debt or save for retirement). You can ask questions, share worries and gather tips.
How to start one:
Mix up the membership. Include people with different backgrounds, such as stay-at-home moms, entrepreneurs, thirtysomethings and grandparents. You’ll learn more that way. Aim for 10 to 12 members.
Make sure everyone can attend the first meeting. Decide whether you want one long-term leader or if you want to keep the playing field level by rotating the role.
Brainstorm about what you want to learn through the experience. That should provide you with a list of topics for each monthly meeting.
Circulate articles on each meeting’s topic in advance and come with a list of questions to get the conversation started, similar to a book club. Note: Chatzky posts new Money Group Guides on Oprah.com every month.
Invite a financial planner or a broker to join you one month if a topic you’re covering is complex. Most would be happy to have your business, so it’s a good foot in the door for them.
Start tracking your finances to gain a true picture of your spending. Begin each Money Group meeting with a four-part warm-up. Go around the room to gather from each person:
1. Mood assessment. How are you feeling about your finances this month?
2. Goals assessment. What goals did you set at the last meeting? What challenges or victories did you encounter?
3. Spending/saving/debt/salary assessment. How’s your spending and saving since the last meeting? Paying down your debt? Have you added to your earnings in any way? How did your progress (or lapses) feel?
4. Secret swap. Does anyone have a great resource to bring to the group’s attention?