Lessons from the Money Club: Peer-Supported Progress
As I finished the last meeting for the last Money Club cohort, I realized the key value-add of the Money Club was different than I originally imagined. When I first decided to have a Money Club, I thought the main thing people might want was small, intimate classes about financial topics of interest. I imagined I could customize the topics from cohort to cohort, based on the areas they wanted to learn about. But as I prepared content for the topics of interest, the same topics would come up, meaning I could use content I'd already prepared. Then the group and 1:1 coaching part became more and more significant and impactful, based on the group's feedback. Clients would re-up for the next Money Club because of the group accountability and the money moves they made in their personal lives.
Growing up, the term "peer pressure" was always used in negative contexts like saying "no" to drugs or alcohol when peers pressure you to use them. Later I heard that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. At another point I learned about the "barrel of crabs" mentality, where your social circle may drag you down to keep you from further success when they see you succeeding. However, if you get a group together where each of you is on a personal journey different from the others in the group, it's much easier to cheer each other on towards your goals and find areas of synergy. We are not in competition with each other, but in support of each other. Ultimately we can harness the power of peer pressure for positive change.
In the last few Money Clubs, I found that the most progress would occur when the individuals were engaged with the group itself, when they were courageously vulnerable with the group, and when they were willing to try new things in the service of a reimagined future. The group members would offer each other their own personal experiences and expertise. They would share their own past struggles to offer a path up and out for someone currently in a struggle. They would get encouraged and inspired by each other's wins. There might've also been a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) effect, where they didn't want to be the only one with no happy update to share.
Years ago, I read a book where they talked about moving people along a continuum with an end goal in mind when influencing them. It was pitching doing it via relationships built upon shared interests or hobbies. It framed it as moving up in tiers, where you meet someone on whatever tier they're on, and you try to move them to the next one. I am reminded of this idea as I help my Money Clubbers "level up."
With each small action towards their personal financial empowerment, they share personal victories like having money conversations they'd been avoiding, finally downloading their spending reports and really taking a look at them, creating budgets for the first time, opening investment accounts for the first time, and selling stocks for the first time.
A side perk of the pandemic has been the increased use of technology for facilitating these groups. I use WhatsApp to group chat - we share videos and screenshots of our Mint accounts. I use Google Meet to host the meetings, with Zoom as a back up app. I use SnagIt to record the calls (for sending to the absent Money Clubbers so they don't miss a beat, and for me to learn how to be a better host). I introduce apps like Reminders, Mint, Acorns, and Greenlight to assist them on their journey. As I share, so do they, and I learn from them as well about ways I can improve and skill up too. Along the way, Money Clubbers might learn new technology if they've never used these apps.
After this last cohort, they decided to keep the momentum going by scheduling their own recurring working meetings to continue progressing on their goals. I love this! The group created a life of their own and will continue supporting each other. It's a group they can talk to about their finances without fear of judgement, and they readily share newfound knowledge or revelations.
I've decided the next cohort will start in the first week of August. Register by Wednesday July 28 to have a vote on Money Club recurring meeting date/time):
Duration: 8 weeks
Start: Early August (exact date/time will be determined by Money Club consensus)
What you get: 1 hour/week group session (8 sessions total) 2 hours of one-on-one personalized financial coaching (use in 30min or 1h increments at any time between the program's start and end dates)
Membership in the group WhatsApp chat to receive accountability texts and relevant info
Pay via Venmo: @Denise-Thurlow Include: Your name, email, phone number, and WhatsApp handle