Wow. It's already been nearly nine months since I created the Millennial Money Man community on Facebook!
What started as just a little side project to give M$M readers a place to hang out has exploded into almost 7,000 members, and (in my opinion) one of the best personal finance groups on the internet.
Honestly, it's been one of my favorite things about running this site because I literally get to watch financial success stories happen every single day.
And…it's just a really fun group haha.
It's one thing running the actual blog and seeing that you're reaching a ton of people (over 400,000 so far this year!), but it's a totally different animal seeing your MOST passionate readers all in one place asking questions and sharing their wins.
It really reminds me why I started this site in the first place, and I've also learned a lot about support groups and how important they are for helping people see real financial success.
Here are the biggest things that I have learned from running the private M$M community:
1. It's hard to create a really positive financial space online, but incredible if you can pull it off
I LOVE talking about personal finance, but I've got to tell you…there is one thing that really sucks about it:
A lot of people are total jerks when talking about money and try to mask it by calling it “tough love.”
I'm really not sure where that comes from, but for some reason, it's really prevalent in personal finance communities. And quite honestly, it's mostly from guys (although I have seen plenty of females do this too…just not as many).
It's almost like this weird machismo “I know more than you about money, so I'm better than you” thing. It really makes no sense to me. I just don't see any benefit in that mentality.
In the very early days of the group, it was really common for me to see a reader share their financial situation, just to have someone else come in and tell them that they are an idiot for various reasons.
I hate that crap. I truly think that the negativity by people who think they have it “figured out” is one of the reasons that personal finance continues to be so taboo, and also why a lot of people sit on the sidelines.
So I just put my foot down on it. When someone insulted another group member or talked down to them, we kicked them out. No warning, no exceptions. If we saw someone doing it, we just banned them and called it a day.
At first, there was some pushback. The people that got booted would private message me or the admins and whine about it and ask to get back in…and we didn't budge.
After a few weeks of really trying to set the tone, it totally worked. It's just one of the many things that I learned from being a high school teacher haha. You have to set super clear rules and enforce the heck out of them if you want to create the right culture.
Now the group is ultra-positive, a ton of fun, and they effectively self-police (my admins might disagree on that last part though haha).
So where does all of that negative stuff come from?
This won't be a popular opinion, but I don't care. I think there are way too many people in the personal finance community that are trying to be “gurus”. Straight-up, some people think that the only way to build a brand in my industry is to position themselves as the best and only source of personal finance information.
And don't get me wrong – it works. Being edgy and having hot takes on money is an easy way to get press coverage and get a tight-knit group of people that feel the same way that you do.
Then their readers/followers wander out into the rest of the personal finance world and tell everyone with a different approach that they're wrong.
That's really just my theory though. I could be totally wrong.
2. There are a lot of paths to financial success
As a lot of you know, I'm a huge fan of paying off consumer debt and student loan debt as fast as possible (obviously). But there are so many approaches to personal finance. Some people would rather hold the debt and buy index funds instead. Some people would rather borrow money to jump into real estate investing.
You get the point.
I used to think that my way was the best way, but then I started realizing that there are a ton of great ideas in the personal finance space.
For my group, I wanted to create an environment where people could discuss the pros and cons of all of them, and then ultimately decide what path works best for them based on their lifestyle and risk tolerance.
So far, it seems to be super effective for getting people motivated to do something, which is the hardest part of personal finance in the first place.
Just take a look at some of the accomplishments we've seen in the group so far (this is just a tiny tiny taste of what is going on in there):
So obviously, something is working. 🙂
3. People that are interested in personal finance REALLY want to meet like-minded individuals
One of the things that I've noticed from the beginning of the group is that people who are interested in personal finance tend to feel isolated in their “regular” lives.
I was the same way. One of the biggest reasons that I started M$M was that I felt like nobody around me really cared as much about personal finance as me. It was like I was weird for wanting to talk about money.
That's why I'm super excited about starting local M$M meetups later in the year!
M$M readers have been asking me about it for months now, but I've been so busy with all of the recent course launches that I didn't really have time to organize it the right way.
Now that things have calmed down (sort of), I'm going to get all of that going.
I don't have all of the details nailed down, but we are going to do the first official M$M meetup in Houston. It kinda looks like it's going to turn into a big event (I'm even catering Mexican food for the M$M homies), and I've even had a bunch of people from out of town that have asked if they can fly in!
That's just so crazy to me. I never thought that this site would have that type of support this early…but it does. It's so cool.
I'm not going to share the meetup details on the site because I'd probably have 1,000 people randomly show up if I did haha. But, if you're in the group I'll be sharing more details on everything as we get a little closer!
Groups help you stay motivated and reach your goals
Right now I run four private Facebook groups, and every one of them continues to prove the same thing:
If you surround yourself with people that are rooting for your success and going through the same things as you, you're going to get some awesome stuff done.
If you're feeling a little stuck and don't have anyone to bounce personal finance ideas around with, join the private M$M community.
The only requirements are:
- You have to answer ALL THREE of the entrance questions (so many people mess that up haha)
- You can't be a jerk
- You can't spam people
That's pretty much it. Oh…you're also encouraged to completely overuse gifs, especially in a spam scenario. If you're in the group already, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 😉
See you in the group.