My Experience at FinCon16 & Why I'm Going to FinCon17

Spoiler Alert: It ROCKED.

Last week, I had the absolute privilege of attending FinCon, a conference that brings together money and media and unites finance junkies far and wide. I stumbled upon the event in May when personal finance writer and author of Make Money Your Honey, Amanda Abella, whom I "met" on Instagram, posted about it. Upon further inspection, it seemed like the perfect place to connect with other money-minded professionals as I build ReisUP. And when I saw that it was being held in my favorite city, San Diego? As my Jersey Italian husband would say, "Fuhgeddaboutit."

I knew going in that the overwhelming majority of the 1200 attendees focused mainly on personal finance topics like budgeting and debt pay down. I wasn't sure how investing-heavy the content would be, or if I'd meet many other growth gurus there. But I was excited to learn the "secrets" of the presenters who have all successfully built money-minded businesses online. My goals were:

1. Increase brand exposure by telling anyone and everyone about ReisUP's mission. 
2. Connect in person with people I had met on social media.
3. Develop mutually beneficial relationships that I can cultivate, leverage, and monetize down the road.

The conference officially kicked off on Wednesday afternoon. Philip “PT” Taylor, the founder, held an intro session for first timers to talk to us about making the most of the conference. Then he released us into the wild that is FinCon. The next three days were filled to the brim with incredible workshops on fascinating topics like the early retirement movement, becoming an influencer, self-publishing books, and hosting successful webinars.

People like the TODAY Show's Jean Chatzky, Clark Howard, and Kim Garst gave keynote speeches. Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Tiffany Aliche, the Budgetnista, gave inspiring and thought provoking speeches about promotion. Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents and Patrice Washington of Real Money Answers spoke about profiting in the financial blogosphere. TradeKing hosted an outrageous kickoff party at Coasterra, a gorgeous open air restaurant on the San Diego Bay. (I’m still recovering from those free drink tickets, Brandon.) Attendees shared ideas via 5-minute "sparks" at Ignite FinCon in downtown San Diego. And heavy hitter Noah Kagan, founder of AppSumo, gave a refreshingly provocative, real, inspiring keynote speech to round out the event.

Long story short, FinCon DELIVERED and then some. I told anyone that would listen about ReisUP and passed out business cards to those I wanted to stay in contact with. Feedback about my work was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that people were stopping me in the hallway saying they just spoke to so-and-so and were told to find me.

Increase brand exposure? Check.

I bumped into people like Amanda Abella, Eric the Hip Hop Stock Doc, Jason Vitug of Phroogal and author of You Only Live Once, Doug Nordman of The Military Guide, and Robert Farrington of The College Investor.

Meet social media contacts? Check.

I also bought the Pro Pass ticket and was able to pitch my mission to more established brands at the exclusive pro networking event. During this two-hour block on Thursday morning, I met with twelve different companies for 10 minutes each (speed dating for businesses). Many of them are interested in working with me to bring investing literacy to the masses, and I'm very excited to see where those relationships may lead. More on all of that in the near future, but...

Develop mutually beneficial relationships? Check.

My favorite part, though? The Investor Meetup on Friday morning! 

Out of the 1200 attendees, there were maybe 30 of us that were there as investors, specifically. I was already having an incredible time forging new relationships, but these were MY PEOPLE. People who understand that investing is a powerful tool that everyone has in their money toolbox, not just some afterthought or “maybe someday” box to check on the way to retirement. We got together to brainstorm ways to make FinCon more investor friendly in the future. From sprinkling some investing workshops throughout the conference, to creating an investor-specific track, to hosting an entirely separate "InvestCon" simultaneously nearby, ideas were flowing and excitement was high.

Nerd alert? Youbetcha.

Personally, I like the idea of having some separate workshops, especially to talk about the compliance side of online investing content (there's a fine line between education and advice). But I see significantly more value in integrating the personal finance and investing worlds. We are, after all, all on the same team. Each of us wants to help our audiences reach their money goals and successfully climb to higher financial levels. We just happen to do that in different ways and at different stages in people's money journeys. As Eric at BMEX so eloquently put it, the personal finance folks focus on the defensive side of money while we investors focus on the offensive side. We're not competitive; we're complementary.

FinCon17 is going down in Dallas, TX at the end of October next year (I've already registered!), and it's sure to be even more powerful with a wider spread of expertise. I'm very excited to coordinate with my fellow Fin-vestors to slash the stigma about investing. Together, we can show other influencers why one’s money story shouldn’t stop at debt pay down. Budgeting, establishing good credit, and reaching positive net worth are only the beginning. To fund your future, you’ve got to put your money to work. And I’m confident that by the end of FinCon next year, 1000+ people will better understand how to do that.

Until then, make sure YOU are learning how to put YOUR money to work. If you haven’t already, start learning investing basics with video #1 of THE BASICS unit. By the end of the 10-video unit, you’ll have a significantly better understanding of what the stock market is, why it exists, and why it moves up and down.

Don’t have 45 minutes to watch each video in order? Check out the Summary video. It covers all of the concepts in under 6 minutes.

If you have the basics under your belt, but need help with your retirement account, check out my YOUR 401(k) unit. And grab your free DIY guide here!!

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Tara Falcone, Founder of ReisUP | Facebook: ReisUP | Twitter: @reisupllc | Instagram: @reisupllc