The best club I ever joined was the Archie Fan Club. I received an official press card and a pin. My first crush was on Archie and I was in glee whenever he would choose Betty over Veronica. Also, this was probably the only club I ever joined that I was not
thrown out of politely asked to leave or quit, voluntarily. I just don’t do clubs well. I did however, get invited to one recently where you leave your keys in a jar as you enter, but visions of the creepy 70′s movies kept me from joining.
And here I am contemplating joining – or possibly even starting - an investment club.
This of course makes no sense.
Currently, *my* market is the place I go to buy strawberries, camembert & figs (so at least we’d eat well during the club’s snack time, right?). And of course anyone willing to let me have a voice about investment decisions right now is not the person I want to be in a club with anyway – Thanks Groucho.
So where do we go from there?
According to the very cool blog, Boomer&Echo here’s a quick overview of two traditional investment clubs. I will not be joining either of them though. Check out their link for a more in-depth description.
Informal Investment Club
An informal club is a group of like-minded friends that get together to talk about finances. In a non-threatening atmosphere, people can talk about the basics of investing, the stock market, mutual funds, bonds, the financial alphabet of RRSP’s, TFSA’s, GIC’s and ETF’s, as well as other financial matters such a budgeting, credit, mortgages and insurance.
When investing, the people in the group use their own money and make decisions independent of each other.
Formal Investment Club
A formal club is, well, more formal and usually deals solely with investing. It is set up like a corporation and elects club officers. Legal and/or accounting advice may be required to set it up and some costs are involved. Each club has its own agenda developed by its membership. The group determines a name for the club, how often to meet and what the cap should be on membership.
Frankly, both of these formats scare and irritate the crap out of me. I am just picturing a bunch of like-minded people sitting around feeling anxious about our lack of understanding and then trying to over compensate by bringing high-fat tasty dishes and drinking copious amounts of red wine out of papercups.
The person with the best penmanship gets to makes all the big decisions. There will be much smirking.
And even though I know more about what heel heights are just right for Summer 2011 than I do about the stock market (for now), I will still want to *win* so I will forge ahead and start desperately proclaiming things like, “Did you guys catch Jim Cramer’s Mad Money last night” or “David Einhorn is definitely my favorite hedge fund manager right now” until I get
thrown out politely asked to leave.
Even though I will be hosting. In my house.
Or worse, people will believe me.
So I was delighted to hear about another type of investment club.
Barabara Stanny, a wealth coach and writer with Forbes.com recently wrote about Financial Book Clubs or Study Groups.
What makes them better? “They are easy to start, less work to maintain and often cover more ground than just investing.”
According to Stanny, they are, “springing up everywhere…small groups of women gathering in person, or through the internet (http://www.wife.org), to discuss a financial book, listen to a speaker or just gab about money in general.” (sidenote: This site had me at their *A Man Is Not A Financial Plan* slogan).
Stanny explains, ” Women by nature are relationship oriented. We learn best from each other. Combining girl-talk with financial-speak reduces the intimidation and raises the fun exponentially”.
And she’s not the only one preaching a more casual approach to investment clubs either. Jennifer Fong, of The Edmonton Journal recently wrote about what she calls investment parties. “Over snacks and drinks, … young professional women, learned about the stock market, mutual funds, and saving for retirement”.
Kristin Baker, an attendee of investment parties explains how she, ” booked a meeting with her financial adviser, hoping to find answers. But “he might as well have talked a different language. I didn’t understand one word he said.”
So the 30-year-old went to an investment party. Over snacks and drinks, Baker and her friends, all young professional women, learned about the stock market, mutual funds, and saving for retirement”.
Kim McDonald, who led one such party says in the article, “It might be a girl power thing, I’m not really too sure, but I think girls can stick together in a certain sense and help each other out.”
The reality is that women typically end up without a man – whether by choice, divorce widowhood or just life. “We’re trying to get an early start with women nowadays so that they are prepared.” Baker explains.
“Once you have a tangible plan, it’s a lot easier to know you’re on track and it’s a lot easier to know if you can afford this trip and you can afford that pair of boots.”
The casual learning atmosphere appears to be *paying* off. In the article, Baker describes how, “When she first went to see her financial adviser, Baker left feeling “totally defeated.”
After she joined…she returned to see him and “I was able to somewhat understand some of the terms he was using. I felt more confident asking questions.”
Being able to learn among friends at home “makes it fun,” says Baker. “It’s not stressful at all.”
Barbara Stanny has some great book recommendations (www.barbarastanny.com and suggests that we, “pick up the phone and invite your girlfriends over for a discussion (wine optional)? What a great way to reclaim your power, take charge of your life, and have a great time in the process”.
What say you: Would you be interested in any type of investment club or party?