Today I totally spent the entire day watching Biden’s inauguration and getting nothing done but chatting with friends in group chats & commenting on facebook posts. It was a big day for my USian friends (and indeed for democracy) so I am giving myself a pass on writing a lot.

Still, my friend K and I have started an interesting project! Following two comment-laden conversations on our respective facebook feeds, K and I thought people may benefit from a casual personal finance (PF) chat amongst friends. It’s hard to figure out where to start with PF if you aren’t a nerd about it so we sent out an email asking for people to let us know if they are interested in a group like this. Here is what we wrote,

Hey friends,

If you are receiving this invitation it is because you have been a part of one of the conversations on Personal Finance on either K’s or T’s facebook posts. From those conversations people expressed an interest in having a personal finance chat over zoom. Our primary goal with this group is to de-mystify money for people & learn together. Personal Finance tends to be so wrapped up in our self-esteem and personal identities in a culture where discussing it is taboo. When something is taboo it creates shame and that shame controls us and prevents us from seeking out information that could possibly unstick us from where we are stuck. So we are offering a stress-free environment where we can lay our questions and concerns on the table and get some ideas from other people.

Our idea was to have a preliminary group discussion to figure out what topics people would like to tackle in subsequent zoom calls where we could get a feel for what people want to discuss and then tailor subsequent calls. This could range from the psychology of money down to the various investment products — the sky is the limit! We aren’t positioning anyone as an “expert” so much as we are crowdsourcing ideas, tips, and tricks from everyone. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you have much to contribute as with any group there will be people who know more than others and people who know less. Everyone who receives this email is invited to join us and don’t stress about where you are on your journey. Also, there is also no obligation to share the details of your personal situation with the group, so don’t feel like this will be looking at your life under the microscope. You are invited to share as much or as little as you want to.

Please note, that while we can discuss various types of investments, if you want detailed investing advice, this is not the place. Please seek out a fee-only, fiduciary (legally-obligated to act in your best interest) financial planner. If they aren’t fiduciary advisors, they are salespeople who get kickbacks from selling you high-fee products…but this is also something we can discuss!

If you don’t want to join us – that’s ok, too! No pressure at all. We would ask that you let us know as we have really had to scale down the invite list to make it manageable for online discussion so it would help us with planning.

NO OBLIGATION! NO MONEY DOWN! YOU CAN CANCEL AT ANYTIME!

I do hope you will join us,

K & T

It looks like we have quite a bit of interest but I hope to hear from a few other people before we settle on a time & date for our preliminary meeting. I am crossing my fingers that this turns into a positive, stress-free PF group that people find helpful.