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How to start a personal finance group

If you’re anything like me, the notion of attempting to get your personal finances in order is scary as scary can be. Like many young Canadians, I never learned about the nuances of finance in school (side note: shouldn’t we be teaching our kids this? I would like to see a personal finance class overtake those stupid CAPP career classes we were all subjected to in high school. I took about ten personality tests that all said, “writer/teacher/creative-type” when I could have used some lessons about investment, RSPs, even simple savings! Grr!).

So now that I’m an adult, in most senses of the word, it’s become extremely difficult for me to handle my debt, and to even understand basic things like interest (seriously, and I know I’m not alone in this). Recently, I was chatting up a rather financially well-adjusted friend of mine—he even has a mortgage! Whoa!—and he told me, in ten minutes, more than I’d learned in ten years. Another friend of ours who was there agreed that she’d learned a lot in that brief conversation.

Which got us to thinking: hey! If we did this once a month or so, focusing on one topic at a time (mortgages, tax-free savings accounts, loan consolidation), we could really get our whole group on track. And, if there was a topic on which none of us was capable, we could bring in an expert. With upwards of ten of us involved, the cost of doing so wouldn’t break the bank.

This idea is nothing new, of course: the very savvy women of Smart Cookies, among many others, have made this method not just effective but an enviable business model. Nonetheless, those of us who are just desirous of a simple lesson or two in personal finance might feel intimidated by such large and official ways of dealing with it. But, if it’s me and my friends in someone’s living room with a bottle of wine, some cheese, and an hour of learning about things that will help me not be poor, that sounds groovy!

As a group, we decided on the second Thursday of the month, with a rotating venue of people’s homes. The person who is hosting provides drinks/snacks, and is responsible for either presenting info or booking someone to do so. With all the technology out there that makes chatting about this kind of thing easy, we’re well on our way to becoming our own version of Smart Cookies in no time flat. I’ll let you know how it goes, and in the meantime: if you know anyone who can teach me how to find a rich dude to be my patron/sugar daddy, that’s what I plan on presenting.

I’m joking. Sort of.

image via Gelatobaby

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