What I’ve learned (and taught) at Fincon

For over a decade, I’ve spent a week every fall hanging out with fellow money nerds at Fincon, the annual “money and media” conference. FinCon started in 2011 as a small(-ish) gathering for a couple hundred financial bloggers. It’s now ten times its original size and draws legit financial journalists from all sorts of platforms. It also attracts some of the biggest names in the world of financial products — USAA, Ally Bank, Capital Group, etc. — plus plenty of new companies with cool ideas that may blow up in years to come.

For me, though, FinCon isn’t about meeting brands or looking for new ways to make money. Some of that happens, sure, but I spend most of my time catching up with colleagues. Ten years ago, these folks were mostly strangers. Today, they’re some of my closest friends.

Old friends having fun

I opened that first conference by speaking about why we write. Why do we blog about money? Do we do it for the fame? The fortune? The fun? I think all of these are part of it, but I argued that the real reason we blog is because of you, the readers.

Your blog does not belong to you. Your blog actually belongs to your readers. Without them, you have no blog. If you want to grow your blog, to gain fame and fortune, let your readers have as much control as possible. I’m not saying you should allow a no-holds-barred free-for-all in the comments. I’m saying you should allow your readers to steer the blog’s content and direction.

[…]

We’re lucky. We don’t have to choose between helping ourselves and helping others. We can do both. One of the things that makes personal finance blogging so awesome is that our interests and our readers’ interests are often perfectly aligned. The more we show others how to achieve their financial goals, the more likely we are to achieve our own.

I also stressed the importance of story. I always stress the importance of story when I speak to bloggers. I think traditional financial media is too dry; it lectures. Blogs are great because they let us share real-life stories about money so that others can learn from our successes and failures.

Using a Klingon to talk about the value of story

 

As part of this point, I brought in a special guest: Benny Lewis, the Irish polyglot. (Benny recently shared an article at GRS about how to learn a foreign language without spending a cent.) Benny is spending time in Chicago learning to speak Klingon for a Star Trek convention. This is a great example of using story to convey an idea to readers.

A Meeting of Minds

Networking is a dirty word to a lot of people. It conjures images of slick guys in expensive suits who spam their business card to as many people as possible while pitching their product or service. There are absolutely some folks like that at Fincon, but they’re rare. They’re the exception, not the rule.

Because my peers have dubbed me “the grandfather of personal finance blogging”, and because I’ve been fortunate to build and sell a profitable website already, I view my role at Fincon as a resource. I know next to nothing about modern blogging (although I’m learning!), but I still have lots of experience to draw upon. More than that, my decade in this field has allowed me to build a wide personal network, so I’m able to connect people who ought to know each other.

I suspect most new Fincon attendees spend their time attending the info-packed sessions. Not me. I spend my time in the hallways and lobbies, chatting with whomever happens to pass along. I chat with old friends like Jim Wang and Harlan Landes. I chat with newbies like Gwen Merz and Marcus Garrett. I chat with people who have tiny podcasts and I chat with people who have created massive followings.

When I network, I practice what I preach.

I go into each conversation without motive. This probably goes against every piece of professional networking advice, but I don’t have objectives when meeting people. I let the conversation go where the conversation wants to go. Preferably, we chat about our personal lives: about our dogs, about travel, about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Because we’re at a business conference, we do often chat about business, but I try not to steer things in any particular direction. I do my best to keep the conversation focused on the other person, not on me.

True story: Last year, at a smaller conference that feeds into Fincon, I co-presented about “the right way to network”. I explicitly said that leading with your pitch is the wrong way to network. After the session, sure enough, a guy came up to pitch me on his product. I wanted to shoot myself.

Paula Pant and Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Bond with Friends and Colleagues

Fincon is first and foremost a chance to meet and bond with friends and colleagues. When you’re a money writer (or money podcaster or money YouTuber, etc.), you spend a lot of time holed away by yourself. It’s a lonely existence. It’s rewarding to see each other, even if it’s only once a year.

It’s strange to think that although I see these people only one week each year, they’re almost like family. We’re able to pick up where we left off twelve months ago and continue as if we’d never been apart.

For me, the best part of any conference is meeting and talking with my colleagues. It’s almost impossible to overstate how much I enjoy sharing tips and stories and ideas. The people I meet are universally amazing, and this weekend was no different.

Here are just a handful of the folks I’ve met:

  • In 2011, Tom from MapleMoney has started to buy smaller sites from folks who are burned out on blogging. “If somebody will sell me a site for 1x to 2x annual profit, of course I’ll buy it,” he said. “It’s like I’m buying future income.” He now owns dozens of blogs, though only a handful produce any real money. Still, he’s getting close to where he could quit his day job. “But I figure as long as I have my mortgage, I should keep working,” he said.
  • Also that year, I met Ryan from Cash Money Life. Ryan used to be an anonymous blogger (or semi-anonymous really), but at some point he decided to go public. “When I started using my real name, so many doors opened up,” he said. I’m a strong believer in transparency, so it was interesting to hear how being more open brought down barriers between Ryan and his readers — and gave him more opportunities outside his blog.
  • Shannon McLay, who runs an award-winning podcast called Martinis and Your Money. (I’ve been on twice: here and here) She recently launched The Financial Gym in New York City. What an amazing idea! I’ve altered my travel plans so that I can attend the grand opening next week.
  • Roger Wohlner, a writer and financial planner in Chicago who works with wealthy families to plan for the future. Roger told me some funny anecdotes about how people relate to wealth. It’s clear that he’s passionate (and knowledgable!) about retirement planning and investing.
  • Jill (a.k.a. Mrs. Mad Fientist), who is at the start of a three-month trip around the world. Jill, Kim, and I have decided that the next time we visit Scotland, we’re going to drag the Mad Fientist to a fancy, expensive spa for the day.
  • In 2016, for instance, I met Marcus Garrett, who is one half of the Paychecks and Balances podcast and the author of Debt Free or Die Trying. Marcus met with me during the Fincon mentoring session, and did a great job of coming armed with questions. He has a keen, analytical mind, and I think there’s no question that he has a bright future in this field.
  • Gwen, the fiery millennial who runs a site called Fiery Millennials. Unlike the stereotypical young person who whines about his lot in life, Gwen has a ten-year plan to retire by the age of 35. I believe she’ll do it. She’ll be at Camp Mustache SE in January, where she’s sure to be the life of the party.
  • In 2018, I met Piggy and Kitty from Bitches Get Riches. It’s no secret that this is my favorite money blog. It’s smart, irreverent, and hilarious. I’m pleased to report that I spent more time with the bitches this year (and Kim hung out with them too). They’re even smarter, funnier, and more irreverent in person.
  • In 2019, I spent some time with Julien and Kiersten from rich & REGULAR, Rocky from Richer Soul, Joshua from Radical Personal Finance, and Bianca from Miss Mazuma. These are all quality folks doing quality work.
  • In 2022, I enjoyed chatting with Rob Berger about how he’s managed to grow his excellent YouTube channel from 0 to 63,000 subscribers in two years. He now makes more than he used to earn with his blog (and he made plenty with his blog). He does this by putting his audience first and only promoting a handful of products that he actually uses and endorses. Love it.
  • Rocky Lalvani from Richer Soul told me about Marisa Peer and the biggest disease affecting humanity. As a guy who has struggled plenty with his mental health, I like Peer’s message: “I am enough.” (This is now the lockscreen on my phone!)
  • Donna Freedman told me all about her frugal adventures in Anchorage, Alaska. Donna is just as funny and resourceful in person as she is in her GRS articles (and those at her own site). I have high hopes that she and I can reach some sort of arrangement to feature her writing here regularly again — but we forgot to discuss this because we were talking about gardening and education and moose.
  • I talked with Carl Jensen about podcasting, friends, and home remodeling. He suggested something crazy but cool: What if he and Pete (a.k.a. Mr. Money Mustache) were to fly out to Oregon for a week to help me remodel my bathroom? I like this idea. Carl says he’s serious about it, so it’s just a matter of getting MMM on board. I suspect I can lure him to Oregon with promises of bikes and beer.
  • I had a delightful conversation with Tanja Hester. I’ve never told her this, but I always feel like she’s a female J.D. (or that I’m a male Tanja). Some examples: she’s nerdy af, plagued by ADHD, and loves great writing. And we’re both competitive pedants (as that sentence illustrates). Tanja and I are both notebook nerds. She showed me hers. I showed her mine.

J.D. Roth and Gwen Merz, podcasting

Teach Everything You Know

Fincon is also a chance for us to teach everything we know in order to help others improve their sites, podcasts, and channels. The unrestrained sharing of info and experience is astounding. In a lot of other fields, people would be jealously guarding their secrets. Not here. Here, folks are dropping knowledge bombs all of the time.

As always, I’ve been involved in a couple of presentations (in addition to the bajillion casual conversations in bars and lobbies).

  • I participated in a workshop devoted to the past, present, and future of the early retirement movement.
  • I joined my business partner Tom Drake and a couple of other friends to present a panel discussion on collaboration.
  • I joined my pal Jim Wang (from Wallet Hacks) to give a talk on how blogging has changed during the past decade. We had fun exploring the ways in which this world has (and has not) evolved since we started in 2004 and 2006.
  • I moderated a panel discussion about “the four flavors of FIRE”. Our small group discussed the rising popularity of financial independence and early retirement. Why is the subject suddenly resonating with so many people? Is it an idea that’s only applicable to tech workers without children? How does retiring early affect relationships?
  • I participated in a panel about Playing with Fire, the upcoming feature film about financial independence. This project has been in production for more than a year and is finally nearing completion. In fact, Fincon saw the world premiere of the Playing with Fire trailer!

I don’t really like public speaking. I turn down a lot of requests. And when I do agree to speak, I’m often very nervous. But I’m always happy to do whatever presentations I’m asked to do at Fincon, and I’m nearly never nervous doing them. Not sure why that is. Maybe because I’m completely comfortable and in my element?

Partner with Like-Minded Companies

Lastly, Fincon is a chance to meet with potential “partners”, companies who want to advertise on our channels or who want to pitch their shiny new money apps.

The real problem, however, is that many partner pitches just aren’t appropriate for me — or for you. Fortunately, some are. I was impressed with three companies in particular, and hope to work with them in the future (whether or not there’s financial compensation involved).

I came to the startling realization that I, as a man nearing his fiftieth birthday, really ought to be working with AARP, the national non-profit whose mission is to “empower people to choose how they live as they age”. It was hilarious during my meeting with the AARP rep to watch the light switch on in both of our heads: “Oh, our missions are well-aligned, and there’s an opportunity here to collaborate and make the world a better place.” We don’t know what that collaboration would look like yet, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t work together extensively in years to come.

The Future of Get Rich Slowly

Tom Drake trading card Perhaps the biggest Get Rich Slowly news to come out of Fincon 2018 was that I’ve found somebody to come on board to handle the technical side of the site. As loyal readers know, I’m a writer. All I want to do is write, to share stories and strategies for better managing money. I hate hate hate dealing with the technical and business aspects of this business. (And make no mistake, this is a business.)

Well, my friend Tom Drake from MapleMoney does not hate the technical and business side of things. In fact, he’s the sort of nerd who digs this sort of drudgery. (For him, it’s not actually drudgery.) We haven’t hammered out the details yet, but we’ve agreed that some sort of partnership is in order. In fact, he’s already begun working behind the scenes to clean things up around here. Yay!

Making the World a Better Place

I’ve been to a lot of blogging conferences in the past. Some are better than others. At a lot of these gatherings, folks tend to be close-lipped. They’re reluctant to share how they’ve achieved their success because they don’t want others copying them. It’s like they’re guarding trade secrets.

That’s not how people operate at Fincon, and I’m glad. We all seem to be open, supportive, and approachable. We’re willing to talk to anyone, no matter how big or small. We’re willing to share how to get more traffic, how to make more money, how to better connect with readers. We, as a group, have an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset, and this leads to growth and success for everyone instead of a select few. That’s a good thing.

More importantly, this abundance mentality leads to growth and success for our readers and listeners. That’s even better.

As a final note, I want to thank Philip Taylor of PT Money for creating Fincon in the first place. Back in the olden days, when the world was young, we money bloggers rarely (if ever) met. We connected in online forums or by Skype, but it was unusual to have a gathering of more than a few of us. PT started Fincon in 2011 so that we could all get together and share our experience with each other. The conference has grown and improved every year.

PT Money prepping for the conference

Meanwhile, I already miss my Fincon family. I know I’ll see many of my closest colleagues several times throughout the year, but I won’t see most folks for an entire year.

Paula

Paula Pant hamming it up with me while taping an episode of Afford Anything

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There are 119 comments to "What I’ve learned (and taught) at Fincon".

  1. Mike Holman says 03 October 2011 at 04:37

    It was a great conference – kudos to Phil.

    Definitely fun to meet people in person that I’ve known online for several years.

  2. Everyday+Tips says 03 October 2011 at 05:12

    It really was an amazing conference, and I enjoyed your speech. I learned an incredible amount over the weekend, and I was grateful I had a notebook with me! I had no idea so many speeches could be so engaging, I was so impressed.

    Have a great time in Peru!

  3. Erin N. says 03 October 2011 at 05:33

    As a knitter and lover of wool, I’d love to see your wool post =)

    • Paula+@+Afford Anything says 04 October 2011 at 12:27

      I’d love to see the “wool” post just out of pure curiosity!

  4. 20's Finances says 03 October 2011 at 05:48

    That sounds like a great conference. I am sad to have missed it, but I hope to go next year, as long as it happens again.

  5. Chase says 03 October 2011 at 05:54

    As a nerd, Wealth Informatics may become one of my new favorite blogs; thanks for the heads-up!

    Also, I read this post while listening to Marketplace Money…weird coincidence.

  6. Sam says 03 October 2011 at 06:27

    Wool post please!

  7. Katy+@+The+Non-Consumer+Advocate says 03 October 2011 at 06:39

    Man, would I have loved to attend this conference. You need to persuade the powers that be to hold it in Portland next year.

    Have a fantastic trip to Peru, and make sure to allow yourself time to acclimate to the high elevation.

    Katy

  8. Roger Wohlner says 03 October 2011 at 06:51

    It was a great conference, kudos to Phil and all of those who helped organize it. I enjoyed your talk and all of the others. Met many great great people. Many solid ideas and take aways.

  9. naresh says 03 October 2011 at 06:59

    you totally deserved the awards…. will love to see further interesting posts in this blog , including the wool one 😛
    Have a safe trip 🙂

  10. MD says 03 October 2011 at 07:23

    It was cool to finally meet you in person. I was impressed with how outgoing all of us personal finance bloggers can be. Now it’s time to apply a bit of what I learned this weekend from all of you.

  11. Rozann says 03 October 2011 at 07:47

    Please do post about wool clothing! I love natural fabrics, wool for winter, linen for summer, cotton and silk for everything in between. Many people don’t know the benefits of wool or other naturals, so please post away! Love your insights.

  12. Naomi says 03 October 2011 at 08:04

    Congratulations on your awards! Well deserved!!

  13. Jeffrey Trull says 03 October 2011 at 08:05

    Really enjoyed meeting you, JD, as well as all the other pf bloggers out there. I’m still blown away by the amazing work that you and everyone have done yet how humble everyone remains.

    Phil did a fantastic job organizing this, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.

  14. Dan says 03 October 2011 at 08:11

    Are there plans to publish recordings of any of the talks?

  15. Tyler Karaszewski says 03 October 2011 at 08:11

    Wealth informatics sounds like my kind of blog. I often find myself thinking, “but did you actually look it up? Did you ask anyone?” when reading articles that feel like they were thrown together with no research.

    Besides that, I don’t think I’ve ever considered how tall Donna Freedman might be. I probably subconsciously expect most women I’ve never met to be about 5’9″, though — my wife is that tall.

  16. Mary says 03 October 2011 at 08:19

    I just want to join your staff JD!

    Seriously though thanks for the update and links to some great blogs that I didn’t even know about! Donna is hysterical!

  17. Ryan says 03 October 2011 at 08:26

    It was great to meet you at the conference, J.D. Phil and his team did an excellent job with everything and the speakers were top notch. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s conference.

    Have a great time in Peru!

  18. Kevin M says 03 October 2011 at 08:26

    Congrats on the awards JD. I love that you talked about your “WHY” and the importance of stories. Having just read Simon Sinek’s book I can see how defining my WHY really helps drive what I do.

  19. Donna Freedman says 03 October 2011 at 10:39

    I want Phil Taylor to have my children. He is an incredibly hard-working, far-seeing guy who put together an event that I believe was, for some, life-changing.
    Thanks, Phil, for giving me my first shot at speaking at an event like this. I want to do it again.
    And his conference staffers? Giants in the earth, too. Thanks so much to everyone who helped make the event such a robber of sleep. And my apologies to the Saturday front-desk staffers, who had to listen to us bark and blather in the lobby until 4 a.m. We should probably send them a fruit basket.

    • Dr Dean says 03 October 2011 at 14:04

      Congrats Donna. It was great to meet you. My wife and I love your sense of humor.Your writing advice was like pouring alcohol on a cut….a little pain for a lot of gain!

      • Donna Freedman says 03 October 2011 at 14:34

        Wow, that’s a vivid image. Next time I’ll try to make my advice more along the lines of peroxide, or maybe Bactine.

    • Peter says 04 October 2011 at 10:51

      Donna, it was so much fun to meet you after reading your writing at MSN. You were truly a joy, and I loved hearing your stories in the wee hours of the morning with everyone else. So sorry you were robbed on the way to the conference, but it sure made for some good stories – and some good articles down the road -didn’t it?

      • Donna Freedman says 04 October 2011 at 11:00

        Yep. My editor at MSN Money has green-lighted a piece, and when J.D. heard he said, “So when you write about this for Get Rich Slowly…”
        Write what you know, I guess.

    • Philip says 04 October 2011 at 19:54

      Thanks, Donna. You blew people away with your talk. Tons of value for us all. Just like a blog, the conference was only as good as the content. And you certainly helped make it great. Thanks for all the feedback. Can’t wait for 2012 where I might actually be able to sit down and have a conversation with you.

      • Donna Freedman says 04 October 2011 at 22:47

        Thanks for your kind words, Philip. You do realize that this was my first-ever public presentation, right? (Heck, I was so nervous I forgot to introduce myself!) But everyone did his best to help make me feel confident.
        And I intend to hold you to that offer of a sit-down conversation. You can run but you can’t hide. 😉

  20. Crystal Stemberger says 03 October 2011 at 11:02

    That was an amazing conference, wasn’t it?! I had an awesome time and am so glad I was able to meet everyone! Thank you very much for a great business lunch.

    Have a great time in Peru! I am already making a calendar note to get some of the Reader Stories you requested sent to you by the time you make it back. 🙂

    I know you hear it all of the time, but you are an inspiration. Thank you. Plus, who doesn’t love a guy that includes a Klingon in his speech? I look forward to hanging out again next year!

  21. Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey says 03 October 2011 at 11:06

    Enjoy your trip to Peru! Are you going to Macchu Picchu?

  22. CincyCat says 03 October 2011 at 11:23

    I’m so glad that you’re getting to take the trip to Peru! I know things looked a little “iffy” there for a while with your mom’s situation.

    I also lend my vote to seeing the post about wool. 🙂

  23. Preet says 03 October 2011 at 11:33

    Congrats on the Plutus awards and thanks for sharing some of the main messages from the conference. I’m especially disappointed I missed seeing a one man Klingon boarding party.

  24. Kelly says 03 October 2011 at 11:47

    It was an amazing conference, and it was wonderful to get to meet you and talk to you about blogging, cats and everything else.

    As for cat blogging being the wave of the future, I’m happy to send along the pitches I keep getting for cat litter and cat food. 😉

  25. KyleAAA says 03 October 2011 at 12:33

    I’m glad I forced myself to roll out of bed Saturday morning for your presentation. Good stuff.

    And have fun in Peru! Fun place.

  26. Flexo says 03 October 2011 at 12:38

    I’m glad we had the chance to chat at the conference, J.D. Enjoy your trip to Peru — I’m looking forward to the stories and photos!

  27. Jesse says 03 October 2011 at 13:34

    I can’t say enough about how great this conference was, between Phil and all the work he put into it, to all the great bloggers, authors and friends that I was able to meet. I can’t wait till next year.

    Enjoy your trip to Peru!

  28. Briana @ 20 and Engaged says 03 October 2011 at 13:40

    I had such a great time at the conference, and I’m really glad I got to meet you and talk with you JD! Remember, you’re the Godfather of personal finance. Have a fantastic trip!

  29. Mike Piper says 03 October 2011 at 13:40

    Thanks for taking the time to hang out and chat about everything from blogging to gaming. 🙂

    Have fun in Peru!

  30. Dr Dean says 03 October 2011 at 14:06

    Great speech to open the conference. Did you feel a little like a father speaking to the little ones. There was certainly a lot of respect in the room!

  31. Elle says 03 October 2011 at 14:20

    I had an incredible time at the conference- meeting so many bloggers in person was inspiring. I was energized by Donna’s session on writing better. I’ve been a fan of her writing for some time, but she’s even more insightful and funny.

    My challenge this week is to keep in touch with everyone I’ve met to get interviews done.

    Wish I could’ve chatted with you J.D.- if you’re ever in Raleigh,NC please let me know! (That goes for all other pf bloggers 🙂 )

  32. Romeo says 03 October 2011 at 14:26

    It was great to finally meet you, along with all the other PF Bloggers. Keep up the Cross Fit. It’s a good look on you.

  33. Glen Craig says 03 October 2011 at 14:40

    JD, it was awesome meeting with you! When I checked in I glanced around and thought to myself ” is that JD Roth just sitting there?” You were the first PF Blogger I read and the main inspiration for starting a site myself.

    And you are so down to earth! Thanks for answering my questions about Portland.

    I loved your mention of Star Trek II in your talk. I agree it’s by far the best movie of them all.

    You reminded me that I need to put more “me” in my articles.

    Have a great trip to Peru!

  34. J.D. says 03 October 2011 at 14:52

    To all of those wanting to see the post about wool: I changed it to have a bit of a travel theme (because, come on, I can’t justify posting it here) and have scheduled it to appear at my travel blog on October 15th (though that date may change)…

  35. Jessica, The Debt Princess says 03 October 2011 at 16:19

    It was a great conference. I really enjoyed hearing you speak and your topic was so personal for me. The only reason I have ever blogged was to put a face to debt. I wanted and still want, people to see how debt can affect our lives.

    Maybe next year we’ll get the chance to meet, I’ll be the one in the tiara.

  36. HP says 03 October 2011 at 17:47

    Congrats on the awards! Any change that the presentations were filmed and available online? I’m particularly interested in Adam Baker’s piece on launching a product.

  37. Cathy says 03 October 2011 at 18:52

    I agree! The conference was amazing! And you started it out with a bang saying we need to keep the readers first. I think your talk really set the tone for the conference, so thanks!

    Have fun in Peru! My parents own alpacas, which are in the same family as llamas. They got into the alpaca “business” as a tax deduction. Let me know if you ever want to know about investing in alpacas.

  38. imelda says 03 October 2011 at 20:32

    A TOS Klingon? Really? The reimagined Klingons(TNG era onward) were so much cooler!

  39. Kathryn C says 03 October 2011 at 21:55

    I’m so sorry I missed this, I have been waiting for someone to write a wrap up like this, so thank you!
    PS I love Donna, she’s hilarious

  40. Ben says 03 October 2011 at 22:26

    It was nice chatting with you JD, even though it was just for a brief bit before my cab left for the airport.

    I hope my kids never try and use the “Truth” vs the “truth” argument with me, I’ll bust them good. But I agree, in blogging it has a whole different context.

    Have a blast in Peru.

  41. Craig says 04 October 2011 at 07:41

    Did anyone else receive a ‘Personal Financial Calculator For Dummies’ in their swag bag? I tried it and it’s really awesome! Very helpful for personal finance calculations and situations. Any thoughts?

    • Donna Freedman says 04 October 2011 at 09:44

      I was one of the group that stuffed the tote bags. The personal finance calculators did run out toward the end, but most people did get one.
      Since I have a weekly giveaway on my website, my calculator will become a prize. I agree that it’s cool-looking — and here’s hoping whoever wins it from me USES it.

      • Craig says 05 October 2011 at 08:05

        I looked into this product more, and after reading through the manual it can do a lot of calculations. I looked at this website too, http://www.victortech.com/dummies , and there is some more good information. Also, it’s available for sale on the website and on Amazon.com.

  42. Jenna, Community Manager at Adaptu says 04 October 2011 at 09:30

    J.D! It was so great to officially meet you at FINCON! (Funny, I have to travel from PDX to Chicago to make that happen…) Thanks for your great speech and bringing Benny with you! Have safe travels in Peru. Hope we can meet up in PDX for a beer when you return so I can hear all about it!

  43. Tom Drake says 04 October 2011 at 09:38

    It was great meeting you JD. We had some great conversations, it was awesome how approachable you were!

  44. Suba says 04 October 2011 at 10:01

    It was an amazing conference! I always wanted to meet you as you are my inspiration to start a blog and I you motivate me to improve my writing every single day.

    All the talks were awesome too. Now I just have to push myself to actually implement all that I learned instead of just feeling good about learning them 🙂

    Thanks for the mention. I really appreciate it.

  45. Peter says 04 October 2011 at 10:46

    The conference was a ton of fun for me mainly because of the people there at the conference. There were bloggers who I’ve known for 4-5 years and consider friends – who I now have forged an even stronger friendship. There are those who I barely knew, but who I now have a new friendship with. To me the relational aspect of the conference can’t be beat.

    Of course the sessions were great as well – even if Benny the Klingon was a bit startling when he jumped up – I guess that’s the effect you were looking for anyway? For those haven’t seen Benny’s home tour in Klingon- it’s hilarious. @irishpolyglot on twitter if you want to track it down.

    Lastly, it was a pleasure to finally meet you JD. I feel like I know a little bit about you from reading you for so many years, but it’s always a bit different and more fun to meet someone in real life. Fun chatting with you and a host of others on Saturday night – about wool clothing, trips around the world and cat blogging. Look forward to more chats – and reading about your upcoming trip soon..

  46. Paula+@+Afford Anything says 04 October 2011 at 12:30

    I feel so lucky to have met some of my favorite bloggers in Chicago this weekend, and the sessions — including (especially!) yours, Adam Baker’s, Ramits, and many more, were incredibly valuable. Although I must admit, when Benny the Irish Polyglot jumped out of his audience chair halfway through your talk, a part of me wondered: “Is this staged, or is this guy just a nut?”

    I can’t wait to continue relationships with many of the bloggers I’ve met, as we — together — see what the future of the internet holds. Cat blogging, here we come!

  47. Tim @ Faith and Finance says 04 October 2011 at 18:49

    It was cool to watch you speak and hang out with you and so many other great bloggers this weekend! The conference really added a personal side to the PF blogging world. Can’t wait until next year!

  48. Philip says 04 October 2011 at 19:59

    Thanks for a great write up, J.D. Certainly good to hear it from your perspective. And thanks again for your contribution. When people heard you were coming that totally legitimized the whole thing. I’m eternally grateful for you jumping on board with it. Best of luck on your travels.

  49. Barb+Friedberg says 04 October 2011 at 20:49

    I love the pictures!!! Bringing everything back. Wonderfully put, your blog does not belong to you. It adjusts the focus a bit. Thank you for your generous spirit.

  50. Khaleef @ KNS Financial says 08 October 2011 at 10:09

    It was great to get to meet you (even though I didn’t say much), and I am grateful to you and a few others for making much of this possible!

    I think the conference was great and my wife and I learned so much that we plan to apply to our blogs! Hopefully, we will all see some huge improvements to our sites/products by the second conference.

  51. Buck Inspire says 08 October 2011 at 16:06

    Looks like I missed a hell of a conference. Great recap. Been reading a lot of reactions from my fellow bloggers. Your reputation proceeds you. But now that I know you had a Klingon during your speech, you really are a rockstar. Congrats on your well deserved awards, keep inspiring, and enjoy your trip to Peru!

  52. Rob+Bennett says 11 October 2011 at 10:52

    It was super meeting you in person, J.D.

    I have a funny feeling that attendance is going to be even higher at next year’s event!

    Rob

  53. Harrybronson says 08 October 2013 at 04:28

    Great Blog & Thanks for sharing this information……….

  54. PhysicianOnFIRE says 26 September 2016 at 12:30

    Dallas 2017! I’ll be there.

    It’ll be great to put some names to faces, faces to websites, learn a bunch, and share what little I know.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    • Shara G. says 26 September 2016 at 13:13

      But the real question is: Will you have cut the cord by then? Hmm?

      • Physician on FIRE says 28 September 2016 at 10:42

        That’s right in the middle of football season. Doubtful. 🙂

        I did check the schedule, too, and I won’t be missing a B1G Ten home game. Dallas has sports bars, right?

  55. The Wealthy Accountant says 26 September 2016 at 13:29

    I gotta make FinCon a priority, J.D. I toyed with the idea, but hate traveling so I took a pass. You named some awesome bloggers. I agree, Gwen will be the life of the party at Camp Mustache SE. Look forward to seeing you there, too.

    I didn’t realize how many Mrs. bloggers there were behind the scenes. My tendency to nest is starting to show. I am so excited to see you in January. Hope Pete shows up.

  56. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials says 26 September 2016 at 15:23

    Thanks JD! It was great to be able to meet you on person. I will most definitely be willing to be the hype man (hype lady?) for CM SE- but only if you bring your dancing shoes!

  57. Roger Wohlner says 26 September 2016 at 17:16

    Thanks for the mention J.D. Meeting you and spending a few minutes talking with you was one of the highlights of this or any FINCON for me. You are a true rock star and an inspiration to all of us.

  58. MrFireStation says 26 September 2016 at 20:46

    Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes POV on this event. I’ve been interested in hearing more about it, but not sure if attending makes sense. MrFireStation.com has been fun, but I haven’t really promoted it. That said, coming up on 100K views this year. Maybe Dallas 2017!

  59. Millennial Moola says 26 September 2016 at 22:50

    Sounds like the houseboat was where all the real action was. Can’t wait to go to the Dallas conference next year. Way more accessible for us than San Diego

  60. The Green Swan says 27 September 2016 at 04:25

    Thanks for the overview J.D., Sounds like a great conference. I’ll have to think more about Dallas next year! Been blogging about 6 months now and really enjoyed the growth so far.

  61. ESI Money says 27 September 2016 at 06:04

    Looking forward to seeing you in Dallas…think we all can eat BBQ three nights in a row? I know I can!!!

  62. Claudia Pennington says 27 September 2016 at 14:58

    It was great to meet you, J.D.! Since this was my first FinCon, I was a little nervous introducing myself to new people and even those I “Internet knew.” My nervousness was unnecessary–everyone was so welcoming! I’ve made new friends and connected with individuals who are genuinely interested in working together. We’ve already purchased tickets for Dallas. 🙂 Hope to connect with you soon!

  63. Julie @ Millennial Boss says 27 September 2016 at 22:01

    I stayed on the houseboat too and was trying to invite everyone over!! 🙂 This year was my first year at FinCon and I was so impressed by the generosity and spirit of this community. I learned so much in four days my head is spinning! Can’t wait to implement what I’ve learned both in both my finances and my blog. Hope we get a chance to meet next year!

  64. Full Time Finance says 28 September 2016 at 06:04

    Thanks for the perspective. I’ve been reading about the conference for about 2 weeks but being new to the blog scene I found myself wondering what it was all about.

  65. Abandoned Cubicle says 28 September 2016 at 07:16

    Insightful, JD. I made a tongue in cheek comment on MMM recently about cliquish tendencies emerging within the community. I guess it’s human nature to gravitate to your niche and the rock stars you follow. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but fascinating to observe.

  66. Christine says 29 September 2016 at 00:12

    J.D. I just have to say that I have been reading your work since the GRS days and, what I like best about all three of your blogs, is the fact that you the person come across. It is so clear to me that you are not in this just for you. You are in this for people as well.(Abundance mindset, right). And, reading your foldedspace post today, I am reminded of the kind of person I want to be on my blog: a helpful one. Thanks for that.

  67. Jim says 29 September 2016 at 04:36

    It’s always fun to hang out buddy, congrats again on the win!

  68. Donna Freedman says 02 October 2016 at 02:09

    Congratulations on the win.

    Wish I could have hung out more, but it couldn’t be helped. When your kid is sick you don’t really want to be anywhere else — and since she ultimately wound up in the hospital, I stand by my decision to miss almost all of the conference. 🙁

    Here’s hoping Dallas will host a completely cootie-free FinCon.

  69. Philip Taylor says 12 October 2016 at 19:49

    You nailed it, JD. The people are what make it so great. I’m so blessed to be able to bring everyone together and blessed that you contribute to much to the success of it.

  70. Shannon @ The Financial Gym says 25 October 2016 at 07:01

    And I enjoyed hanging out with you my friend, but more than that, I’m thrilled that you remembered hanging out with me. 🙂 So great to see you on the west AND east coast recently!!

  71. ZJ Thorne says 01 November 2016 at 21:47

    I agree with you about networking to actually get to know people and perhaps introduce them to folks they should know. People are fascinating. (I’m also a connector and not a natural saleswoman. I don’t do a hard pitch to potential clients either. I meet people and let them ask questions and state my price. Then we talk about puppies or the new restaurant by my office. If they want to hire me, they’ll let me know.)

  72. Lake Livin' says 19 November 2016 at 20:05

    FinCon is going to be in Dallas next year!?!?! Whoo hoo, as I live in Fort Worth (too bad you & Kim weren’t able to swing by during your RV trip). Can non-bloggers attend? I’d love to meet some of my favorite writers – like you! I was lucky enough to meet Donna Freedman while in Alaska this summer on a family vacation. I’ve been toying with starting a blog in the next couple of years and have purchased Donna’s course. For now, however, I’ve started small with an IG account focused on my two passions – frugality and fitness/lifting weights/macro dieting. My IG name is different than my blog commenting name. I’m hoping to gain enough of a following that if I do start a blog, some of them will hopefully follow me on that as well.

  73. Tom Drake says 01 October 2018 at 09:54

    It was great hanging out with you at FinCon, as always, and I’m looking forward to working with you! I still remember the very first FinCon, we were the last people still there and closed it out by going to dinner with J Money and Martin Dasko!

  74. William Mize says 01 October 2018 at 10:47

    I’m about 20 minutes away in St. Petersburg!

    Enjoy our lovely area and beaches. You just missed the red tide attack, which is good. There may still be some smelly remnants here and there, but for the most part I believe that everything is cleaned up.

    Glad you had a good time, glad you are back in the GRS saddle.

  75. Docupop says 01 October 2018 at 12:29

    How exciting! One of our Docupop team members also attended FinCon this year and had a great experience. What was your biggest take away? Are there any new trends that you are planning to incorporate for your business?

    Perhaps you crossed the path with our bubbly Liz at FinCon?

  76. Piggy says 01 October 2018 at 13:03

    JAYDEEEEEEE! We already miss your Hufflepuffness. Hanging out with you really made our trip. Thanks as always for your advice, patronage, and friendship. Also for listening to our VERY strong opinions on Harry Potter. Catch you next time.

    • J.D. says 01 October 2018 at 13:05

      OMG, Piggy. You have no idea, but I spelled my name “Jay Dee” all throughout high school. You and Kitty are in my brain.

      • Piggy says 01 October 2018 at 19:50

        Excellent. All is going according to plan…

  77. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner says 01 October 2018 at 17:32

    I’m so happy to see my picture here in this post – thank you so much for taking it!

    It was great chatting with you this year and Fincon was amazing this year. I can’t wait until 2019!

  78. Jim @ Route To Retire says 01 October 2018 at 18:07

    It was awesome to finally meet you J.D. and to hear you and Jim speak. You seemed as comfortable in the stage as could be and I really enjoyed the session.

    Hope our paths cross again at some point!

    — Jim

  79. S.G. says 01 October 2018 at 18:28

    I’m posting just so this mutual admiration society meeting doesn’t get weird.

    • J.D. says 01 October 2018 at 22:26

      Hilarious. 🙂

  80. Freedom 40 Plan says 01 October 2018 at 19:34

    J.D. – It was great to see and hear you during all of your presentations. Thanks for sharing so much of your time and experience with the rest of us out there. We didn’t get to meet in person, but perhaps next year in D.C!

  81. Seonwoo says 01 October 2018 at 23:01

    I still don’t get this Ravenclaw rising nonsense

    Fincon was such a blast. Can’t believe I waited this long to go to one.

    • J.D. says 02 October 2018 at 05:15

      Ah, Seonwoo, my friend. See, with only four houses, you only get four possibilities. But if you allow for something like major houses and minor houses, then you’re able to get additional color. Instead of four types of people, we now have three or four times as many (depending on how you play the silly game). And the “rising” part is a reference to astrology. It’s just silliness.

  82. stellamarina says 02 October 2018 at 00:13

    I shall look forward to seeing you show up in the AARP monthly magazine one day. It would be a very good match …….I joined up AARP at 50 just because of their wonderful magazines and bulletins that are so full of info…including personal finance.

  83. Dave @ Accidental FIRE says 02 October 2018 at 03:41

    Great to finally meet you JD. Your session with Jim from WalletHacks was great and informative, keep up the great work and hope to see you next year in my hometown!

  84. Financial Samurai says 02 October 2018 at 07:12

    Sounds like a blast JD! It was fun following the action on Twitter from SF.

    Love the beach pic in the end. Almost my happy place.

    What was the one big difference this year than in previous years?

    Is there a new online trend you noticed?

    Thx

    Sam

  85. Jake Jacob says 02 October 2018 at 08:05

    One day I’ll be courageous enough to join the folks at Fincon and share my ideas on finance. But till then it’s through these posts and the one another I read at Four Pillar Freedom to get me all the buzz about such conferences on money. Thanks, JD.

  86. Jim Wang says 02 October 2018 at 08:42

    I had a lot of fun during our talk. I’m normally super nervous too but it felt like two old friends sharing new ideas. Thanks for agreeing to do it AND come up with so many great ideas we could share with others!

  87. Nick True says 02 October 2018 at 08:49

    Always an absolute pleasure to hang out with you JD. Thanks for everything you’ve done to give back to this community. You’re truly the real deal my man. Maybe I’ll catch before FinCon19 if we can make it up to Portland!

  88. Josh says 02 October 2018 at 08:57

    Had a blast hanging out with you at various different points at FinCon. Can’t wait to get the whole gang back together in DC next September!
    Hufflepuff is the best, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    • J.D. says 02 October 2018 at 13:07

      Preach, fellow Hufflepuff! 🙂

  89. Jason Butler says 07 October 2018 at 07:15

    I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself to you this year. I was all over the place. We have to catch up in DC. I want to hear more about your extended travel and your thoughts about Savannah, GA.

  90. Jake Jones says 09 October 2018 at 20:06

    Sounds like a lot of fun. It is great to be surrounded by like-minded people.

    Hoping to make my way to Fincon next year! Maybe I will see you there!

  91. Dave @ Accidental FIRE says 10 September 2019 at 03:26

    Awesome JD, I’m looking forward to those deep dives as I’m sure everyone else is. Really glad I was able to see you again at FINCON and safe travels – enjoy Portugal!

  92. Kevin says 10 September 2019 at 04:42

    Love your thoughts here. As a newer blogger/freelancer just finishing my first FinCon, it’s refreshing to come across people who are passionate about helping others. It’s good to know it can be all about the money without being all about the money.

  93. Joe says 10 September 2019 at 06:17

    Good luck with the site redesign. I’m having a hard time with that too. It’s a lot of trial and errors. Who has time for that?
    Have fun at chautauqua. I’ll try to go someday…

  94. Randi says 10 September 2019 at 06:21

    Hi J.D., As a long-term reader, I’m surprised you feel your blog lacks a focused point of view. I feel it has a strong theme: money decisions are life decisions, and life is not black and white. Many of the financial blogs are so focused on investing and saving that they miss the point of accumulation. I get tired of being preached to about the latte factor. Your blog has a more nuanced, humanistic voice. You talk about spending and saving decisions, but you also talk about trade-offs. The tone is sympathetic rather than competitive, a voice that is less common in the financial blogosphere. Getting rich slowly is different than getting rich quickly; it’s an accumulation of good decisions but also about learning from mistakes. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I think you’re doing great on the path you’re on. You have a strong voice. Don’t change too much. 🙂

    • J.D. says 10 September 2019 at 06:47

      I love this comment, Randi. Thank you.

      Trust me that my overall voice won’t change much. It probably won’t change at all, actually. What will change is the focus and direction of the financial advice. Whenever I can, I already encourage readers to take responsibility for their own lives. Now that admonition is simply going to be forefront in my mind instead of an afterthought.

      Basically, if you read Money Boss during the two years I ran it, I want Get Rich Slowly to be more like that. It’s still me. It’s still my philosophy and my voice. But things are filtered through the whole “be a money boss” bit. I want new people who come to this site to understand the core philosophy quickly.

      • JKC says 18 September 2019 at 06:51

        Love the site, been a reader for *many* years, but I must say that Money Boss is far and away your best work.

        Keep your voice. Another thing long time readers love is your personal journey and glimpses into your life.

    • Anne says 11 September 2019 at 06:22

      I couldn’t agree more with Randi! JD, what you write is a truthful account of how money decisions effect life and vice versa. The truth is usually messy. I love your vulnerability. And your voice is unique. Any publishing schedule you like is fine by me.

  95. JoDi says 10 September 2019 at 09:42

    I’m all for quality over quantity! Less frequent but more in-depth posts sound great o me too!

  96. Steveark says 10 September 2019 at 10:05

    Sounds to me like something great is going to get even better!

  97. DB says 11 September 2019 at 23:00

    Hey JD!

    I get what you’re saying about content creation and having a point of view. Am sure that whatever direction you take the blog, it will continue to be a compelling and enjoyable read.

    Just wanted to say that for me you are more than a content creator. You are one of the few bloggers I feel like I actually know as a person. Some bloggers sound like they’re always giving a TED talk. With your blog, I feel like I’m getting a cup of coffee with you. You bring humanity and empathy to finance and I feel like that’s something that is so lacking.

    I am technically FI (corpus at 3% withdrawal rate). Since that’s happened I have dropped blogs with too much of a hustle-y vibe. Yours and Tanja’s are the two blogs I keep reading and revisiting.

    FWIW I am a woman, from and living in India. Am sure our lives are pretty different. For you to be able to connect with people with such different life situations is a pretty amazing thing.

    I work in marketing (ironic huh!) and so much of what I do is about brand positioning etc etc. Nowadays I look at content around me, some of which I directed the creation of myself, and so much of it seems so crafted and corporate.

    So little of what we see and do today is authentic. You’re authentic.

  98. Prosperous Jeff says 12 September 2019 at 06:24

    JD Roth – “Hmmm, I have two excellent ideas…” …. “EUREKA! Yup, it REALLY can work!” 🙂

  99. Donna says 16 September 2019 at 08:36

    Humm, I don’t see your comment about a life regret you have in this post at your website but saw it in our email of this post so I will still give you my 2 cents worth.

    Your email said: “It’s one of my deepest regrets in life that I can’t dance. I’m not kidding. I mean, I can dance, but it’s not a pretty sight. I wish I could dance like this. Ah well. Next life.”

    As someone who didn’t learn to dance until I was 30, after graduate school, I don’t think you are too old to learn – if you really want to. My ex and I danced regularly (3-4 times a week) at a little ballroom studio near our house for 5-6 years and it was truly one of the best investments I have ever made. It gave me much better posture, body awareness and was better alternative to running (how we had met) for cardio vascular health; running would have wiped out my knees.

    We ended our marriage after 13 years, I continued my dance journey by going into “salsa-therapy”, participating in San Francisco Carnaval with a Rio style samba group, did belly dance a couple of years and then did a lot of Argentine tango which included 3 trips to Argentina.

    Now at 60, and still dancing and with original knees, I want to say – find a way to do it if you are drawn to it. Dance, especially partner dance, is unlike any other form of physical activity. It not only cardio exercise, it provides social connections, works different parts of the brain to learn physical activity and is so helpful for maintaining balance. (I wrote a short paper on the benefits of dance for older adults as I was completing a personal training certification program in preparation for leaving my corporate gig a couple of years ago). Or as one of my samba drummer friends says: dancers look younger than their years!

    Don’t delay – invest in joy! Dance can be frustrating at first as you are learning and creating muscle memory which takes practicing 2-3 times a week. And of course, watch for dance studios that try to get you into expensive contracts. Decide what music moves you and then find the community college teacher who has a following and go for it! Don’t let not being able to dance be one of your life regrets!

    PS – single guys who can dance will never have trouble meeting a woman. Doesn’t matter if you are old, fat and bald, the ability to dance greatly enhances a man’s value for many women!

  100. Nick True says 18 September 2019 at 21:40

    This is awesome JD. I’m really happy to hear that you’re going to steer GRS into the “money boss” point of view. Ramit’s message had a big impact on me as well and is something I’m still thinking through.

    Really appreciate you sharing this, excited for the future of GRS!

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