FinCon17 was all I expected and then some. It’s a conference like no other. One for personal finance geeks to financial professionals with quite a bit of eating, drinking, and socializing thrown in. This year some rap, crowd surfing, and Mohawk styling also made the list.
There is much to see and do at FinCon, and with this being my first year I opted to jump in with some volunteering and then just go with the flow for the most part. The whole damn thing was so much fun!
I arrived midday Tuesday and volunteered for my first shift that evening stuffing gift bags. After our shift, I invited the other volunteers to dinner where we met up with DoYouEvenBlog and ESIMoney (awesome guys!). Connections continued after dinner at the pub in the hotel – a frequent destination.
During the morning and early afternoon on Wednesday, I participated in FinX as part of my contest winnings (future post coming on FinX). Met the other awesome contest winners there, including InspiredMoney, @MoneyTalk1 and FemmeFrugality, and team members @CertififiablePF and @OneBigHappy.
Late afternoon I met many of my RockstarFinance Forums friends (RSFF) including Mr. BudgetsAreSexy himself J$ – totally made the whole trip – and then rushed off to a fabulous dinner at the Ritz (that was for you ESI) which was another benefit from winning the blog contest sponsored by CFSI and FinCon.
Thursday, my roomie MakingYourMoneyMatter and I took the early volunteer shift checking in attendees. It was a great way to meet people and put faces with names. We then attended a few sessions, met and connected with more great people and heard the first keynote address. It was then off to the opening party at The Rustic, a super-cool place with excellent food. Be sure and check it out if you’re ever in Dallas.
The fun and new friendship making continued, Friday. Oh and some learning happened too. At least I think it was Friday; the days were starting to run together with little sleep. The morning sessions, only 20 minutes long, were filled with practical information and helpful advice. Another RSFF meet-up occurred in the afternoon, then another keynote address, a cocktail party, followed by a smaller group dinner in the evening – thanks, Andy!
I attended the most sessions on Saturday, starting with, The Hidden Secret Behind Freelance Success. It was a panel discussion that provided insightful tips and how-tos for succeeding at freelance writing. Other sessions I attended were on growing your blog. My mentoring session with Donna Freedman was beneficial (thank you Donna) and the final keynote address by Nicole Walters kicked-ass.
The official closing costume party that evening was epic. Not only did I participate in the making of Jim $ aka RouteToRetire, but I was also able to meet a few other bloggers that I’ve been
crushing on reading for years, ProBlogger, MadFientist (thx for the intro Chris), AffordAnything, and OurNextLife. Oh, and I did an episode of talking trash with Mr. Groovy! Okay, not the real Mr. Groovy but Mr. MakingSmarterDecision dressed as Mr. G. Thanks, KeepThrifty for the recording.
— Chris Durheim (@keepthrifty) October 29, 2017
Some FinCon17 Takeaways
The magic of FinCon17 started with PT Money and his excellent staff, but they could not do it alone. Many others volunteer their time to help keep things running smoothly. I volunteered for 3 different shifts and the service project. I enjoyed doing them all as it was a fantastic way to meet people and give back a little.
Hint: Check the session schedule before you pick your time slots to volunteer. I did not check and missed the freelancer marketplace I really wanted to attend, doh!
I often wanted to attend more than one session during the same time slot. Next year I’ll make a point to find someone that is attending one, while I attend the other, and trade notes or get the low down on whether it’s worth watching the other session video later. Note, this year the video sessions were included with the FinCon17 basic pass, next year they will be offered at an additional cost.
The air conditioning at FinCon was on in full force, take a jacket or sweater (or two) to prevent freezing, and bring your hot coffee or tea with you.
This is a great bonus for all attendees. If you are early in your personal finance, blogging, or business journey, this is a fantastic way to learn from the pros. If you’re a pro, this is a wonderful way to help others behind you. Definitely sign-up for this if you are attending FinCon18.
Attending FinCon can easily cost you $1-2K, start saving now for next year. Find a roommate to cut hotel costs, bring some of your own food, and use any travel or award points if you can. Don’t forget to look for the #FinHealthMatters contest next year or if you are a new blogger try for a scholarship to the event for the opportunity to win your way there.
There were plenty of opportunities to get some exercise. Whether it was exploring the city, going for a morning jog, or finding a local gym many stayed active. I hit my 10k step goal every day with walks outside. I also walked up flights of stairs in the hotel and did some squats and other bodyweight exercises in my hotel room. Others organized walking, running, yoga, and CrossFit meet-ups, so plenty of ways to stay active.
Ah, the food. I packed several protein bars and homemade trail mix to take with me and found some fresh fruit and salads as often as possible. I did indulge in filet, lobster, and chocolate mousse at my Wednesday night dinner, as well as food at the Rustic opening party and some delicious sweet potato fries during a lunch, all well worth the extra exercise I’ll need to do this week.
Many of my new friends enjoyed pizza, barbeque, Mexican, and seafood throughout the week. Plenty of delicious options.
Oh my gosh, the fun! One of my primary goals for FinCon17 was to meet as many of my online friends as possible. While I accomplished that goal, I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked with some of them. The ones who put up with me the most include all those mentioned above and ThinkSaveRetire – Steve and his fabulous wife Courtney, RetirementManifesto, Minafi, and Seth D, thanks, guys!
The event was incredibly memorable, and I’m so thankful I attended. I met so many people in person that I hope to connect with further – WalletHacks, PhysicianOnFire, MissMazuma, UncommonDream, IDreamOfFire, TheMastermindWithin, FieryMillennials, PlanInvestEscape, MaxYourFreedom, 2FrugalDudes, MontanaMoneyAdventures, TwoCupHouse (congrats on the Plutus Claudia and Garrett!), TheHappyPhilosopher, OptimizeYourLife, ApathyEnds, GuyOnFire, AdventureRich, ChiefMomOfficer, Kinfo, Tawcan, Nords, BaylissIsTheAnswer, and FinancialPanther. I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting, please forgive me if that’s you.
Sunday morning, I shuttled to the airport with Mr. Steve Stewart, who was kind enough to keep me company through baggage check-in and security lines. Once I landed in Orlando, I was fortunate enough to meet Josh Elledge at baggage claim, turns out we shared the same flight.
Take time off after FinCon if you still have a day job. With many sessions to still watch, notes to organize, people to thank and reach out too, and sleep to catch up on, I’m glad I’m off for the next week. I’ve got some ideas brewing on how to make my blog better for you all and thoughts on collaboration projects worth embarking on.
I’ve bought my pass for #FinCon18 and hope to see all my new friends from this year there. I also hope if you didn’t attend this year you will next year and seek me out to create conversations and new friendships.
Ya’ll are truly awesome!
Do you have any great conference memories, FinCon or other? Plans to attend FinCon18 or another conference to further your career or business?
More great stories from the week:
- FinCon17: What the hell just happened? | Think Save Retire
- The Power of Community, at #FinCon17 — and Everywhere Else | Our Next Life
- 9 Game-Changing Blogging Takeaways from FinCon 2017 | Do You Even Blog
- REVIEW: #FinCon17 – What a Rush?! | Future Proof MD
- I Found My Tribe! FinCon 2017 | Slowly Sipping Coffee
- My FinCon 2017: 4 days of Accidental Connections, Beer & Memories | Minafi
- Beer and BBQ in Dallas. Is Pecan Lodge the best BBQ ever? Yes, it is. | 1500 Days
- Adventures In Tipping: FinCon 2017 | The Happy Philosopher
- FinCon17 Recap: The Conference That Doesn’t Sleep | Physician On Fire
- Most Fun For the Cost of a Root Canal (#FinCon17) | Human Business Works
- #FinCon17 What Really Happened (on Twitter) | Northern Expenditure
- 10 New Fintech Companies To Watch Out For! (Plus Highlights From FinCon 2017) | Budgets Are Sexy
- Why FinCon Was Amazing And I’m Going To FinCon 2018 In Orlando | Mastermind Within
- Do Stuff That Scares The Shit Out Of You | Notorious Debt
- What’s My Story? Recap Of #FinCon17 | Work In My Pajamas
- How Much Does It Cost To Go To FinCon? (Plus A FinCon Recap) | Financial Panther
- FinCon17 Dallas Recap | Rebel With A Plan
- My Favorite FinTech From FinCon 2017 | Janet Berry-Johnson
- My FinCon 2017 Review | Debt Free Climb
- FinCon17 recap | a gai shan life
- FinCon 2017: So Much To Take In During A 4 Day Blitz | My Family On A Budget
- Don’t Make a Pest of Yourself | Bayalis is the Answer
- Life as a Living Statue, Party Crashing, & New Friends (FinCon Recap) | Fetching Financial Freedom
- MilBlogging17 was awesome! (Oh, and FinCon17 too.) | The Military Guide
- The Ultra-Official FinCon 2017 Review | The Happy Philosopher
- Five Lessons from the FinCon17 FIRE Panel | Easy Does It FI
- Impostor Syndrome Was Stopping Me From Making More Money | Mixed Up Money
- FinCon 2017: Putting Faces to Blogs, Beer and Take-Aways | Apathy Ends
- I Finally Went to FinCon – Here’s What I Learned | My Money Wizard
- I Know A Lot Of Nerds | The Retirement Manifesto
- Forget the Fluffy Recap, Here’s the Real Dirt on FinCon17… | Miss Mazuma
- FinCon17 Recap – A Canadian’s Perspective | Tawcan
- FinCon and a New Direction | Optimize Your Life
- The Incredible People I Met at FinCon 2017 | Distilled Dollar
- My experience at Fincon 2017 | Creativescale
- My First FinCon, Total Groupie Mode | Money i$ not Taboo