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Those who want to learn more about budgeting, investing or getting out of debt havebook club
plenty of resources available, including podcasts, magazines, personal finance blogs and books. But while it's easy to increase your financial knowledge and set future aspirations with the right information and tools, following through on the money strategies you learn without outside accountability can be challenging.

That's where personal finance book clubs come in.

These groups allow members to discuss money concepts from the books they read, follow each other's financial progress and, in some cases, interact with the book's author. But unlike book clubs where you might devour a novel in a month and then move onto another book club read, financial book clubs tend to take longer to process and apply the book's material in real life.

Amy Day, a Northern California resident, wanted a way to interact with her father without clashing over politics, so they started reading the same books and discussing them over the phone, forming a two-person, long-distance book club. "We've covered all kinds of topics, but we've been interested in things that are practical," she says.

 

Day admires the work of financial therapist Bari Tessler, so she suggested they read Tessler's book, "The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness." For about six months, they've been working their way through the book together. "We've been taking it a little bit more slowly due to life constraints," Day explains. "[We wanted to] set aside time for implementing things [from the book]." For instance, she's trying to be more consistent about keeping a regular money date. I go through my spending patterns, review and see where it's all going and how I want things to begin to shift," Day says, adding that she tends to check-in with her spending biweekly.

 

Tessler has always worked in a group setting but recognizes that not everyone can participate in her yearlong financial therapy program, so she felt that a self-study book club might be the next best option. She noticed that readers were creating book clubs around "The Art of Money," so her website now features a PDF guide on creating an "Art of Money" book club, including tips on logistics and stories from existing book clubs. "If you have other people witnessing you, supporting you, then things transform," she says. Tessler also finds hearing from people of different financial backgrounds to be illuminating because you may realize that a person who seems to have it all can still have hang-ups around money.

Meanwhile, other book clubs discuss different personal finance books. Toronto-based blogger and podcaster Jessica Moorhouse recently launched an online book club centered on finance. The first book club meeting will take place on Aug. 13 to discuss "Broke Millennial" by Erin Lowry, who Moorhouse previously interviewed on her podcast, The Mo' Money Podcast. Lowry will join the group for a discussion on Facebook Live, and book club members can submit questions for her in advance.

"What I've realized is it's great to put out informational content, but it's the community aspect that people are really craving," Moorhouse says. "That's what I really wanted to do. I have this big Facebook group, so I thought, 'What's another way that we can get together and feel like we're doing something as one entity?'"

Moorhouse plans to host quarterly meetings, with the next one discussing "Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School" by Andrew Hallam in the fall. According to Moorhouse, the book club offers "an interesting way to introduce books that people may not normally pick up."

Rachelle Magadan of Rock Island, Illinois, takes a similar approach to her recently launched online book club, The Art of Love and Money. "There's a lot of content online, but listening [to podcasts] and browsing through articles doesn't really change anything for you," she says. "It might give you a new idea, but it doesn't really move the needle. My idea is to go through these books one at a time … and create actionable steps."

Magadan sent out a survey to those who signed up for the book club online, and the consensus was one book per quarter. The first book selection chosen by members is "When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women" by Farnoosh Torabi; Torabi will Skype into a meeting to answer questions. "I hope to keep the Skype [interaction] going even if the author won't be involved," Magadan says. She also plans to send out a newsletter with articles relevant to that quarter's book selection, along with a cocktail recipe to keep it fun.

Whether meeting online or in person, Tessler says trust and consistency are key to a successful money book club. "With money work, it's a journey," she says. "It takes a lot of fine tuning. It's something you're going to be learning and practicing for years."

This article was originally published on US News By Susan Johnston Taylor


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Whether meeting online or in person, Tessler says trust and consistency are key to a successful money book club. "With money work, it's a journey," she says. "It takes a lot of fine tuning. It's something you're going to be learning and practicing for years."

Your Month-to-Month Guide to Savings


This year, resolve to break your habit of wasteful spending. Each month brings new challenges, from the holidays and Valentine’s Day to the back-to-school shopping frenzy in late summer. So with that in mind, here are 12 ideas to help you save more and spend wisely – one for every month of the year.

 

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