The final night of Rebel Finance School 2023 was busier than ever. People crammed in at Rebel HQ, a huge online audience and a special guest, Mr Money Mustache came to talk to us.

Katie and I were on a high! We celebrated with some pizza, packed our bags and left for Poland a few days later.  It was a whirlwind 3 months setting up, writing and running Rebel Finance School.  Did you attend this year? See any of the videos? Did you notice the changes we made from previous years?

Rebel Finance School 2023, photo by Chris Andrews: https://www.everglowmedia.co.uk/

Rebel Finance School’23. Alan and Katie presenting. Thank you to Chris Andrews for the Photos!
After a month off in Poland we have finally relaxed and started to reflect on what the heck just happened! Read on for some stats about RFS’23, some ideas and future plans for content and the course.

What the heck just happened?

For those of you that don’t know, Rebel Finance School is a course Katie and I wrote in the depths of lockdown in 2020 to help people with their finances.  We looked around and saw that people were losing their jobs and struggling with money. We wanted to help.

Fast forward to 2023. The situation hasn’t improved all that much. The specifics are different but there are still multiple challenges… the cost of living crisis, inflation and increasing mortgage rates are ravaging people’s finances.  We think it is more important than ever that we help people.

We announced this year’s course in May and people started to sign up online.  We had no idea what size the course would be but are aim remained the same… to help as many people as possible.  A bunch of incredible people volunteered to help us run the course.  The Rebel Ninjas, as they have become known, helped us get ready and prepare for the start of the course.

Over the years the course has grown massively.  It started out small with us inviting people we knew on Facebook and grew from there. Katie has made us a graph to show how it’s grown over the years!

​​You can see the big jump In 2022 when Katie got featured in the Sun (controversial article) and this spread the message much further

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2023 course stats

The course and accompanying videos have been viewed on YouTube 105,000 times!  We are still blown away by how many of you have tuned in and worked through the course!

The other stat we’re really excited by is that over the 10 weeks of the course, 6,504 people attended each week!

And this won’t even be the final stats! People are still watching the course on catch up on YouTube now!  The full play list is here

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The total YouTube views of RFS’23 as of October’23 and the average weekly attendance of the course!

But did it actually help anyone?

Katie and I have been reading the feedback forms.  If you were one of the people that filled it in,  THANK YOU.  We do this to help you and want to know if it actually worked or not!

We asked the people that came on the course to rate their personal finance and investing knowledge before and afterwards.  We were pumped to see if increase from 4.6 out of 10 all the way to 8.2/10!

Then a critical question “How in control of your finances are you?”  Before the course people rated themselves 5.9/10.  After the course and all the work we did together they rated themselves 8.4/10.

What an incredible improvement.  We feel like we delivered and you took action.  That was the reason to do this course.  To empower people to take control of their financial destiny.

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The words “life changing” get banded around a lot.  We are so honoured that people write to us and tell us that the course changed their lives. It makes us want to do even more to help!

We asked all the people on the course “How much of an impact has RFS had on your life?”  People answered with a huge 8.8/10 on average!  That is an incredible impact and we feel so proud!

RFS – becoming a global movement

People came from 43 countries for the course this year.  I still find that mind blowing.  78% of you were from the UK and then there was a huge number of people from New Zealand, the USA and all across the globe!  It fills our hearts that we are reaching and helping people in all different countries.

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6500 people from 43 countries attended Rebel Finance School 2023
The fact that we have such an international audience makes it hugely challenging to be able to help everyone when we get into the specifics of investing and tax rules!  Read on for more about how we want to tackle that.

Rebel Ninjas

After year 2 of running the course we got overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed with questions and people.  In year 3 we asked for support and many of you came forward to help us run the course.  These people became known as Rebel Ninjas!  This year 24 incredible people came forward to help us!

It was an awesome team.

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They answered countless questions on the course and in the Facebook group.  They removed thousands of scam comments in the Facebook group keeping our community safe.  They supported us to deliver better content.  They worked tirelessly, volunteering their time, to help you improve your finances.

We are forever grateful for the Ninjas and their support.  If you want to find them they are in the Facebook group, Dom, Nate, Simon, Harriet, Derek, Christine, David, Judith, Tas, Stephanie, Stephen and many more.  Say thank you if you have a moment, I know they will appreciate it.

Recovery

In the month or so after the course Katie and I took some time off and travelled to Poland.  We joined a gym, got back into fitness and slept a lot!

To counteract the healthiness we ate a LOT of fancy breakfasts out and did Jigsaws and built Lego.  We found a BitCoin ATM, visited a museum that showed Poland’s history in Lego and enjoyed Pierogis!

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The Ninja Debrief

This week Katie and I hosted a Ninja Debrief call and we chatted about what has gone on at the course, what we changed and future plans.  if you would like to see the PowerPoint we presented you can flick through our slides below!

What’s next?

If there is one thing we have discovered in our “retirement” from 9-5 work, it is that you need a purpose.  You need a mission.  Something to drive you, give you energy, give you a reason to wake up in the morning and make things happen.

Katie and I love travelling, eating, experiencing the world but we feel most alive when we are helping, giving and contributing. Our way of doing this is to create finance content, to support you in making your money decisions and to help you build your version of an extraordinary life.

We have finished the course this year but we have huge plans for what to do next.  The live course is a HUGE commitment for all and that is why we decided to run it once a year.  That doesn’t mean we are going to sit around and sip margaritas until next year.

This is a list of the projects that we most want to make happen over the coming months.

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1. New Website – RebelDonegans.com
Our current website enabled us to get going.  We build it on Weebly which made it quick and easy to create but it has started to hold us back.  Google is supressing us in the rankings because of our site performance and we need a new site!  We are working with the fabulous Tas, one of the Rebel Ninjas, to migrate to WordPress and create a new home for the Rebel content with a new domain that is more representative of Katie and me!

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2. Nest campaign
Nest is one of the biggest pension providers in the UK.  They have 8 million customers and having looked at their funds they appear to be systematically destroying people’s financial futures with their investment advice.  Several of the group have shared their Nest pension statements with me and I have started analysing their returns.  We want to get some hard data about Nest’s performance, write some articles and develop a guide to Nest for people that have to use them.  Then we want to start lobbying the British government and Nest to get them to change their policies and stop investing people in gold and wheat to give barely over inflation returns.  Investing for your future is not a game of Settlers of Catan. Come on people!

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3. St James’s Place: Wealth Management article
As you have probably heard from the course, the Donegans are not fans of SJP.  They put people in high fee active funds, they charge a fortune and they damage the financial future of their customers.  We are taking it on ourselves to tackle them and save as many of their customers as possible.  Our plan is to analyse the data we have received from you, write articles and create YouTube videos to open their customers’ eyes.  We want to save as many people as we can from St James’s Place. If you are up for helping us by providing stories, analysing data or helping us with the campaign we would be truly grateful!

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4. Guide to early retirement (UK)
I have been inspired to write a guide to early retirement.  The plan is to create a pillar page on our new website that shows how to get to Early Retirement and then some of the perils to avoid when you get there.  The page will then lead to all our content that helps people sort out their finances.  We want to make this a good page for people to land on for our content as at the moment there is SO much of it and it isn’t well organised.  This should make it far easier for people to find, access and share our content and guides.

PS do you like my little logo?  I created it use AI yesterday!


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5. New investor series
3 years ago Katie woke up with a question.  “How much of our money is invested in Apple stock alone?”  She disappeared for a week and came back with charts analysing the whole of the global index funds and more.  I was blown away and wanted to share it with EVERYONE!  That was the start of our investor series, 7 articles designed to help people start investing.  Since then we have learnt so much more, Katie’s data visualisation skills have increased exponentially and we want to re-write the series on the new website and fill in the gaps.  This is going to be a fun project moving the old articles, updating and then creating new articles based on your questions from the course.

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6. YouTube Series 3
With the help of Derek and a cool gang of student film makers in Bogota, we have produced 2 series of YouTube videos answering common questions and more about finances. We are about to launch the 3rd season we filmed in Bogota last year with Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution.  We are so excited.  We have 20 new short videos for you that we are going to release twice a week in the coming weeks!

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7. More videos
Some of our most popular recent videos (a sign you enjoyed them we think!) have been the Mr Money Mustache Interview, the Vanguard series of videos analysing their funds and services and the Rebel Finance School course itself.  Katie is planning a LISA series and we want to review more platforms and funds.  It is just finding the time to record, write the titles and descriptions and publish them!

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8. RFS Money Series / Podcast
For some time we have thought about doing a series of podcast episodes all about money.  Katie and I talking about the concepts, interviewing some of the exceptional money people we have met along the way and speaking to some of the RFS participants about what you have learnt.

​We have a way to do this and are planning to pull together a set of 10 – 12 episodes covering all the important subjects.  We are super excited about getting this out into the world!  We would love some help producing the series; i.e. someone who would help us organise the interviews and organise the descriptions and uploading stuff!  Maybe someone who wants to start their own podcast and can learn from us how we do it, and then put podcast producer on their CV!


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9. Global Guide to FI
With people coming along to the course from 43 countries we need to do a better job at supporting them all.  Ruth from the Happy Saver wrote an awesome article about applying the RFS principles in NZ and we need to find more people that help with specific tax, investing and other questions as it is a little bit different in each country.   With that in mind we want to create a map and a set of links to different resources in different countries around the world. We want to point to the best FI content in each country.  We know some of the people like Ruth in NZ, Mr Money Mustache in the USA and Kristy and Bryce in Canada. We are going to need some help pulling this together!

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10. FAQ – Abhi’s work
Abhi, one of the Rebel Ninjas, did an incredible piece of work pulling together all the questions asked across YouTube and Zoom during the course!  He grouped it all under each week’s content and has created something amazing.  We have started to pull together an FAQ which will be built on the website and help future participants as well as Ninjas who will be able to simply copy and paste an answer that will help people with the most frequently asked questions!  This is a big project we are super excited about.

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11. Dom’s catch up calls
​Last year another one of the amazing Rebel Ninjas, Dom, ran catchup calls following the content of the course.  A group of people got together each week and discussed how they were implementing the course and what they learnt.  This is an incredible resource that Dom did for free and just gave away.  Dom has said he is going to do it again this year and would love some help running them!

Fancy giving us a hand?

We are never going to be able to do all this stuff on our own!  We have a HUGE mission to help people with their finances and make a difference in the world.  We want to go further, do more and have a bigger impact.

We also know that not only we can’t do it all ourselves, we need to get out of the way and allow other people to give, support and create too.

We would LOVE your support, ideas and energy to help more.

Maybe you want to help produce 10 episodes of the podcast by organising guests and making sure the Donegans do their work?  Maybe you want to be on the podcast and talk about something?  Maybe you want to help write the new investor series?  Maybe you just want to play with spreadsheets and help us analyse Nest and SJP data to publish?

Maybe you want to help us run the course next year and be a Rebel Ninja?  Maybe you just enjoy reading what the heck we are up to and supporting us by sharing the articles?  Maybe you don’t want to do anything and are just happy!

​All you need to do is drop us an email here and tell us which of the projects inspired you and we can have a chat about you can get involved and help.

Thank you

Thank you for reading the blog.  Thank you for supporting us in our mission to help people with their finances.  Thank you for working on your finances and your life.  The biggest gift you can give us is your happiness.

For us; please work on your happiness, your life and your finances.  That is the biggest gift you can give us!  Sending you happiness and love from Poland!

And to end the article here is a picture of a gnome at a cash point that made us laugh in Wroclaw.  The gnome is the symbol of the anti-Communist movement in Poland and there are hundreds of them to find in Wroclaw

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Photo credits: Thank you to Chris Andrews : Video production for the Construction Industry – Everglow Media – United Kingdom for the photos of Rebel Finance School 2023.

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