I had a blast spending the weekend with other financial nerds like myself at the Financial Bloggers Conference in St. Louis. At the same time, the Financial Planning Association was hosting their National Conference (FPA Experience) in Orlando, Fla., and while I would have learned a ton from the content, it was the people that I met at #FinCon13 that made this experience amazing.
I've been to a lot of financial planning conferences and here is why I heart FinCon:
1. It's all about personality Many of these bloggers built great businesses because they aren't afraid to be themselves. They've shared their ups and downs, their “get out of debt” stories and now they've turned their blogs into businesses, speaking engagements, and books. For a great example of this: check out J. Money.
2. It's not all about blogging Most of the sessions had nothing to do with blogging. They were about building your brand, how to self-publish a book, social media for real people and SEO.
3. Bloggers hate debt Many bloggers started blogging while they were getting out of debt, so it goes without saying that they despise debt. All of it. Once they paid off their debt, many quit their day jobs because they had built successful online businesses. Talk about inspiring.
4. Think outside the box I have never met so many entrepreneurs who made their money online in such creative ways. Whether they monetized their blogs, created courses on online marketing or travel hacked their way around the world, it was quite impressive.
5. Thrifty is hot it's all about getting a good deal and maximizing your money. Bloggers don't like spending money to show off. They show off by getting an amazing deal and then blogging about it. Whether it's a deal on their FinCon ticket, a used car or a rental property, these bloggers know how to spot a good deal a mile away.
6. Life is about experiences They're thrifty, but they're not cheap. They are willing to spend money on travel, a great meal or conference tickets because to them, it's all about the experience (even if it means that they have to pay a pretty penny to be a part of it).
7. We're all nerds I geeked out all weekend — not just over financial topics, but things like musicals, Karaoke, Harry Potter, superheroes and much more
8. It doesn't matter what you wear I wore jeans all weekend. Sometimes I wore hot pink jeans. I loved that no one cared that I wasn't in a suit and heels. However, the best pants award goes to Agatha from www.heyagatha.com who wore camo-inspired leggings. (There's a pic on her Twitter account to prove it!)
9. Dancing is fun I love to dance but I haven't been out to a club in years and the last time I danced was at a friend's wedding. A group of us went out dancing after the closing night party and tore up the rug until the wee hours of the morning. Dancing with nerds is the best because no one cares about your moves. It was a blast.
10. The people make it I had great conversations with people from all over the country (and a few kick-ass Canadians.) Other bloggers bought me drinks all weekend (see, not cheap). Overall, this group knows not only how to throw a good party but also connect with people in a very real way. Not only did I make new friends, but I'm already brainstorming ways to collaborate with other bloggers in the future. It was the way networking should be, but rarely ever is. I can't wait to go back next year.
Check out more on Twitter at #FinCon13
Sophia Bera, CFP, is passionate about bringing financial planning to Gen Y to empower her generation. Check out her blog: Gen Y Planning