Making Friends at FinCon: Why You Should Go Next Year

FinCon

Happy Friday friends! If you’ve been reading much this week in the PF space, you’ll know that FinCon 13 – the Financial Blogger Conference was this past week in St. Louis. If you’re not a personal finance blogger you might be tempted to think that it sounds a bit like a gathering of nerds, and well…you’d be right! ;-)

FinCon is an annual personal finance blogging conference that celebrated its third year this year. I was encouraged to learn that the attendance has doubled every year with this year’s attendance weighing in at around 500 personal finance bloggers as well as representatives from various affiliates, financial companies and the like.

Being the PF blogger that I am, Mrs. Frugal Rules and I made the drive to St. Louis as it’s only about a six hour drive from our abode here in Omaha. Thanks to our trusty Altima, we were able to make it there and back for less than what it would’ve cost us to fly just one of us there – not bad in my opinion.

Some of the highlights for me, were meeting many of those I’d gotten to know virtually over the past 15 months (more on that later), being interviewed by Jean Chatzky, and a variety of social events put on either by the conference itself or other various companies. This is also not to mention the fact of the things I learned while there in addition to the boost it was for the vision of my site. I would also like to thank the team at PT Money for their hard work in organizing and managing a conference of this level. I have been responsible for managing smaller conferences in the past, and know that it takes a lot of hard work and time, and they pulled it off flawlessly.

Making Connections at FinCon

If you’ve ever been to a professional conference, then you’ll know that it’s generally the connections you make in between the sessions that you take home with you. That was definitely the case for me at FinCon this year as I got to make a number of new friends, connect with those I’d been conversing with online, and meet some potential new clients. It was also fun to put a face to a name and see if their personality matched what I thought it would. In the case of Joe at Stacking Benjamins, my thoughts were spot on – that man is hysterical! While I did not get to meet, or speak as long as I would’ve liked with many, here is a list of a few stellar bloggers whom I had the pleasure of meeting:

I know that I am missing some bloggers as well as those I did not speak to as much as I wanted to. As you can tell, there were plenty of opportunities to meet other bloggers and make connections; this alone would be worth it for me to attend FinCon again next year. Of course, making friends isn’t the only benefit of going to FinCon. Here are some others:

Keynote Speakers

We had four keynote speakers at FinCon this year and the two that resonated most with me were Pat Flynn and Jean Chatzky. Both shared how their journeys shaped them and made them who they are today. This was incredibly insightful and motivating. The desire they both have to help others and make a difference is quite contagious and one that resonated quite a bit with me.

Breakout Sessions

These were the smaller sessions and there were many to choose from in terms of “level” and topic covered. The nice thing about these sessions is they offer quite a bit no matter what your experience level might be. If you’re newer to blogging then there was a lot to learn from and if you’re on the other end it’s a great way to get a refresher on some topics you may either be overlooking or need some encouragement to work on.

Everything Else

There were plenty of other things to experience at FinCon, but I will lump them together for the sake of brevity. There were various social events planned, such as the Beer Tour we went on Thursday that was a blast and really conducive to making some good connections. There was also an Expo two of the days with various companies giving out loads of free stuff and representatives to speak with about what programs they might offer. Oh, did I also mention some free meals were offered too? That wasn’t too bad either. ;-)

If you can’t tell already, we had a blast at FinCon. With it being my first year attending, I think I can safely say that I’ll be attending next year. If cost is a concern, remember that if you’re making an income off your blogging, then you can likely write off a lot of the expenses from your taxes which can help mitigate the cost some. In addition to that, we were able to cover the hotel costs thanks to rewards points from my World Mastercard. That said, there are many benefits to attending, most importantly with the potential connections you can make that can help you, others and your blog – not to mention the motivation, which can be contagious.  Just ask Mrs. Frugal Rules – I talked her ear off on the six hour drive home and have a long list of things I want to do now.  :-)

 

Did you go to FinCon? What was your biggest takeaway? Do you have anything fun planned this weekend?

 

Photo courtesy of: Samdogs

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About the author:

I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. You can connect via Twitter / Facebook.

75 comments on “Making Friends at FinCon: Why You Should Go Next Year

    • It really was a great time Laurie and think you should totally go next year if you can. Having that ability to write off most of the expenses does ease the sting of the cost…though I’d probably go anyway. :)

    • Likewise Mrs. Pop! I know how you feel. I think I am just going to take a couple of things at a time and focus on what will bring the greatest value.

    • As am I Travis. I had seen you several times, but one of us was always talking to someone else. It was funny, because Joe had told me that very thing a few minutes prior and said it was his mission for the rest of FinCon to connect us….leave it to Joe. :)

    • It really was Jacob, we had a blast. He really is a good speaker. Not only does he keep your attention and make it enjoyable, but so much of what he said was actionable.

  1. It sounds like everyone had such a great time. I would love to go next year. I should start saving for it early this way cost is no excuse. While I am sure it’s worth every penny and then some, unfortunately I wasn’t able to take off work. Can’t wait to see you take action on some of the ideas you had during the car ride!
    E.M. recently posted..Being Grateful – Fourth EditionMy Profile

  2. It sounds amazing and you’ve met a who’s who of the personal finance blogging world in that list. Glad you had a good time. Everything seemed to be so valuable to everyone as well. That said, “the Beer Tour we went on Thursday that was a blast and really conducive to making some good connections” may be the weakest excuse for going on a beer tour that I’ve ever heard!!! :)
    moneystepper.com recently posted..Real wages in the UK – how inflation is impacting your salaryMy Profile

    • It was a good time and feel fortunate to have met all that I did, the crazy thing is that is just a small portion of who I met. What can I say, I’m a man. ;)

      Yea, I know ;) , though honestly I was able to have some solid conversations while on it. :)

  3. I am still battling debt but I would love to attend next year.

    I am from southern Ontario so it would have to be someplace in the east for me to get a cheap flight. Or Vegas. There are a lot of cheap flights from Toronto to Vegas.

    I understand there is a chin up competition and I have started practicing. So far I cannot get my chin anywhere near the bar but I have a whole year to practice and to build up calluses on my hands.
    Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle recently posted..Energy Costs Rise As The Temperature Drops, British Interest Rates And Money Quickies For October 23,2013My Profile

    • I can certainly understand that Jane and makes complete sense.

      Yes, there was a chin up competition, though you’re much farther ahead of me by practicing. :)

  4. Lucky you! I read many recaps and everyone had a blast. I didn’t want to go as I don’t think it would have been my scene, I’m not much for big groups but it looks like there were plenty of occasions to be in small groups.

    • I can definitely relate Pauline as I am not into big scenes either, but there was a lot of opportunities to talk to people in small groups – which made it quite comfortable to network.

    • Lol, I like the radio personality comparison. I think you may be on to something there. I think you should totally try and go next year, it’s worth the cost in my opinion. :)

    • It really was Martin. I think you’d fit in just fine as there were quite a number of bloggers there that are focused solely on investing related blogging as opposed to just standard PF.

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