Find your Money Mavens members
Chances are you’ve never opened up about your financial situation to anyone before so how do you decide who to divulge your entire history to? This can be tricky but remember that other women will have the same reservations you do. Women share intimate details about their sex lives – so why not money? In order for the club to serve its purpose of helping you reach your goals, you’ll need to lay your finances bare. Be forthright about your cashflow ups and downs – that way the group can celebrate your successes and get you back on track if you slip. Form a group of less than 10 people so everyone has an opportunity to share. Send an email or Facebook message to recruit acquaintances, co-workers or friends of friends – as long as they’re people who will keep the details confidential and remain committed to the group.
Questions to ask before recruiting:
• Is this someone you trust?
• Does this person have similar goals?
• Is this person too busy to commit to regular meetings?
• Will I be able to hold this member accountable if they don’t show or are constantly late?
• If someone asks to join an existing club, do all members consent to it?
• Will this person respect the group’s privacy and comments?
Your first meeting
What to bring
• Binder or notebook to take minutes
• Financial statements and credit card bills
At your inaugural meeting break the ice with a few classic cocktails and go around the group discussing your individual goals and reasons for joining a money group. Share your short and long-term life plans and how getting in financial shape will help you realize those plans. You’ll be surprised to discover the different attitudes and relationships each woman has with money – some may be in deep debt while others might never spend money on themselves. It’s important to never let judgement creep in – each person will have unique circumstances.
Set a meeting time and location
Chances are you won’t be reviewing bank statements right away. You’ll want to warm up to the other members and divvy up some responsibilities. Decide on when and where you will regularly meet. Will you meet once a week, every other week or once a month? Who will be responsible for taking notes or bringing drinks?
Once you get comfortable with regular meetings, it’s a good idea to structure your agenda with pre-researched topics. Share your unique experiences – how you got your raise or how you successfully bargained for a lower interest rate on your credit card. You can rotate who hosts and who keeps minutes to give each member a chance to participate and lead the discussion.
Do your homework
It’s a good idea to send each member off with a little task for the next meeting. You’re more likely to stick with the group if you know they’re relying on your help, too. Each member can research a different topic (credit ratings, debt repayment, retirement savings, etc.) and that way you can work out your finances as a team and avoid all the research you would have to do alone otherwise. Hold each other accountable to act on the meeting’s information. Your week-to-week goals can be anything from eating out less to finding the lowest cell phone plan. Your longer term goals could include making more money, starting your own business, building retirement savings or debt repayment.
Here are some useful clippings to get you started. Simply print or email these articles for your next meeting:
• Glossary of financial terms
• 15 tips to save money
• New Year’s resolutions for your career
• Keep your cool this RRSP season
• How to save $2,500 with coupons
• Recession-proof your career
• Find money to start your own business
• How to decide to buy or rent
Calculators and worksheets
Never feign surprise at the words “insufficient funds” again. Always know how much money you can spend and save. Keep track of your daily purchases and calculate what you can afford:
• Daily expense calculator
• The stay-at-home calculator
• All Money Mavens calculators