Feb 21, 2013

Strength in Numbers

Meet Martian Martuskawicz.
Just one of the many riches in my life.
A while back, when we still lived in Minnesota, we joined with five other people and met every so often to try to learn how investments work. Most of us knew nothing about investing, and B and I didn't know when we could start or where the money would come from to begin with. As far as I knew, all of us were community-minded idealists, and none of us were ruthless money makers. With a little guidance from a seasoned and successful self investor, some websites, and a book (Conquer the Crash, if you are interested), we got a peek into the Wall Street system and dreamed of the day when we had made our fortunes. It was affectionately dubbed "The Billionaires' Club."

It was interesting to learn about the stock market. But the biggest benefit I got from the Billionaires' Club was having the opportunity to gather with other like-minded people who were concerned about financial security. We often got distracted from the mechanics of investment and talked instead about the state of the world, what we would do with money if we had it, how to find a little extra to invest, and what lifestyle changes we could make to reduce our expenses.

Investing never really panned out for me. But one of the things I miss from Minnesota is my fellow club members. When I passed them on the street I knew they were also trying to find ways to ethically and responsibly eliminate their debts, increase their incomes, invest in their futures, and get out from under the weight of feeling like there isn't enough. That commeraderie is empowering.

Through our name, I felt like we were manifesting a change. Perhaps the change would be that we would all get rich. Or maybe the change would be that we would all realize how rich we already are, not financially, but in every way that counts: health, support, relationships, love, community.

Alone, it is easy for me to get overwhelmed by the negative and hopeless feelings I associate with  money. Brainstorming and daydreaming with others helped me to worry less about finances and get excited about the real wealth that surrounds me. Those people made me feel like a billionaire, and I wish I could have brought them with me when I moved.

Do you have a support network, financial or otherwise? What do you get from the group that you weren't able to find on your own? And what do you feel makes you rich?


  1. I don't really have much of a support network for finances. It's really tough to find people who are interested in being financial stable without just chasing more money and adding busy-ness to their lives. My husband and I definitely try to keep each other in check and remind ourselves of our goals though. We meet fairly regularly, stay on a cash budget, and discuss any purchases over $50 before making them.

    CJ was in that group and I know he got a lot out of it. I'm not really sure why I never attended - other than my natural hermit tendencis.

  2. I really love those practices - meeting regularly and discussing medium to large purchases are going on my list! I also like your second sentence. I agree! I always wanted to start a simple living/spend less support group. Maybe I can find one here, and you can start one there.