My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 MomentsFinCon.  Holy @#$%.  Was not expecting it to be as awesome as it was.

Believe it or not, I consider myself not to be a people person.  I would rather just be at home and hang out with my wife and daughter.

However, once I’m out, I sort of flip that whole tendency upside-down.  I’m usually the guy that starts a conversation with the people in line at the grocery store, the guy next to me at the bar, or the gal next to me on an airplane.

Regardless, I was slightly anxious about my first FinCon.  Sure, I’ve talked to a lot of the other bloggers already through comments and other emails, but it’s not the same.  Now I’d be forced to see all these people and realize that they’re nothing like they are online.  This would be a mess.

Except it wasn’t.

From the minute I got to FinCon until the minute I left, I had one of the greatest times.  Everyone was as great as they were online… in fact, they were even more fun and friendly!

But here’s the thing – everyone’s already done their FinCon recaps on the good and the bad of the sessions, the kickoff party, and all the other fun events.  In fact, here are just some of those great posts (in no particular order):

So it would be silly for me to rehash the same agenda.

Instead, I thought I’d take this down a different path and just tell you about a few of my favorite personal FinCon moments.  Sure, these are smaller moments that revolved around me, but I do love me and who doesn’t love a good story?

So let’s get rolling with ’em…


My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments


My New BFF

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - My New BFF
Steve and Courtney… they look like they’re having a horrible time without me there, don’t they?

Throughout the FinCon event, I met a lot of great people.  But I think the moment Steve from ThinkSaveRetire and I had our bonding moment was one of my favorites.

We already knew each other beforehand, but only from online activity (our sites, Twitter, etc.).

I met Steve and his wife Courtney while there and we got along fine just like everyone else there.  We had some beers with a big group of us and talked… all was good.

But on the second day of the conference, I felt a little off.  I’m not sure if it was just too much going on in the expo or what, but I just wanted to step away for a little bit.

I bumped into Steve in the Grand Hall and even though it was only 11:30 am, I said, “Hey, I know this might be a little weird with it being so early in the day, but do you want to sneak off and grab a beer?”

As I waited for the look of disgust, I got anything but that.  Steve was all smiles and said “Hell yes.”

We grabbed ESI Money and headed to the bar for a couple drinks.  Not only did that quench my thirst (when doesn’t beer do that?!), but it got me back on track for the conference.

And from that moment on, I became the third wheel for him and Courtney for the rest of the days at the expo.  We laughed, we cried, but mostly, we drank a lot of beer.

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - My New BFF

At the end of the conference, I made a joke to Steve about being besties and with a melted heart, he said, “You had me at ‘do you want to grab a beer?’!”

Since the event, I’ve talked about moving into the Airstream with him and Courtney, but they still haven’t given me the address to find them.  I’m starting to wonder if this was all a farce! 😉


The “After-Party”

On the second day of FinCon, I started asking around to find out what people had planned for that night.

The first person I talked to mentioned that they were going to an “after-party” that evening that Gwen from Fiery Millenials was hosting.  Cool – have fun.

Second person… “I got invited to an after-party later tonight.”  Hmm, ok.

Third person… “I got invited to a party later tonight – not sure yet if I’m going.”  Um, ok.

I was with ESI Money and I started hearing pretty much everyone I talked to repeating these same words.  I said, “What – am the only one that didn’t get an invite to this after-party?”

To be honest, I probably couldn’t even hang that late, but it really was funny hearing all these people going to meet up.

ESI loved it.  It became our running joke for the week.  Anytime something was going on, he would make sure that I would overhear a message of, “Shhh, don’t tell Jim.”

So we had some good laughs about it throughout the week, but the funniest part of the conversation actually came later.

ESI was busting my chops on Twitter when Gwen from Fiery Millenials jumped in…

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - The "After-Party"

How funny is that?!

Then Gwen jumped in and tried to stand up for the little guy (that’s me!)

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - The "After-Party"

That’ll show ’em, right?  Not so much…

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - The "After-Party"

This is what I love about FinCon.  I don’t really know Gwen very well.  I don’t really know ESI Money very well.

However, I feel like I’ve known them (and everyone there) for years.  I love the ball busting.  I love the fun.

Seriously… great people, great times!  Love you both, ESI and Gwen (even though you’re a jerk-face, ESI)!!!


Saving a Man’s Life

Ok, a man’s life was probably not saved per se, but it felt good to help someone out.

On one of the nights in Dallas, a group of us was leaving a restaurant and we were on our way to meet up with some other fine FinCon folks.  I don’t know about the rest of the car, but I had a couple beers at the restaurant and was ready to go.

We grabbed an Uber to take us there.  Fritz from The Retirement Manifesto, Pete from Do You Even Blog, and Chris from Keep Thrifty were in the back seat while I was in the passenger seat.

The Uber driver spoke a bit of broken English but asked us what we were doing in Dallas…

Me:  We’re all here for FinCon… it’s a conference for financial bloggers.
Driver:  Financial what?
Me:  Bloggers.  We write about personal finance and reaching early retirement.
Driver:  Now that’s something I’m definitely interested in.

Silence suddenly encompassed the whole car.  Then after about two seconds, everyone in the car jumped all over this as an opportunity.

We were money nerds that found someone open to some guidance.

We all started talking at once to him.  As we handed over our business cards to him, Fritz then took over…

Fritz:  Listen, I will only give you my card if you make me a promise.
Driver:  What’s that?
Fritz:  Tomorrow you need to increase what you save by another 1 percent.
Driver:  Ok.
Fritz:  Promise me!
Driver:  I will… but where should I be saving it?

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - Saving a Man's Life
This looks like a drug deal, but it’s actually Fritz trying to help a man with his finances… legendary!

That’s when we all started talking again and vomited out words like “Vanguard” and “VTSAX.”

Eventually, though, we had a good five-minute or so conversation with him before arriving at our destination.  We all got out and started walking.

But when we glanced around, we realized we had lost Fritz.  We looked back and saw that he had gotten out of the car, but then was talking to the driver at his window.

A few minutes later, Fritz finally joined us and said, “Gentlemen, we may have just saved a man’s life this evening.”

Ok, he might have said “saved” or he may have said “changed”, but we had a great time boasting all night that we “saved” a man’s life.

Hilarious and awesome.  Good job team!

The driver did say he would check out our blogs, so I hope we get an opportunity to hear from him.  Maybe we’ll have a new FinCon attendee next year!


Did This Really Happen??

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - Did This Really Happen??
Brandon from Bigger Pockets… the face of real estate?

When we got back to the hotel from our night out, the lobby was packed with people… FinCon people.  I had already had a few beers and was feeling pretty good and then I spotted someone I feel like I’ve known for years… Brandon Turner from BiggerPockets.

You’ve probably heard me talk about BiggerPockets in the past… here are just a few examples:

I’ve listened to Josh and Brandon’s podcast for a very long time and I’ve attended some of Brandon’s webinars as well.  You can tell he’s a great guy who’s worked hard to build up his real estate portfolio.

And here he was standing in the hotel lobby less than 25 feet away from me.

I walked over to him and stood by him and another gentleman he was having a conversation with.  I didn’t want to be rude so I didn’t interrupt.

I just stood there as Brandon talked and he began to address me as well while he was speaking.  He was talking about a problem he was trying to figure out with one of his properties he sold.

I own a few doors in rental properties (a single family home and a duplex), but I’m not even in the same ballpark as to what Brandon’s doing.  On top of that, he doesn’t even know that I’ve done even a small bit of real estate because I still haven’t even gotten to introduce myself.

He was planning to do a 1031 Exchange and had a decision to make.  What the decision was about is irrelevant here (plus I was a few beers in and don’t remember the specifics!).

The part that is relevant is that at one point Brandon stops talking, looks at me, and says, “What do you think I should do?”


My answer is probably irrelevant as well (again, since I had a few beers and don’t remember exactly what I said).

But how funny and cool is that?  One of the people I look up to in the real estate arena is asking for my opinion on a 1031 Exchange.  Totally surreal and awesome!


Taking Advantage of an Opportunity

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - Taking Advantage of an Opportunity
Too bad the only picture I have with Darren is the one where half my head’s been shaved off!

It’s only been over this past year that I’ve learned who Darren Rowse is.  If you’re unfamiliar with him, he’s a blogger from Australia.

Except he’s not just any blogger – he’s been doing it for over 15 years and he earns a very good living doing it.  The other unique part of this his ProBlogger site exists with the intention to help other bloggers build up and monetize their own blogs.

So, I was excited to hear that he was a keynote speaker for us at FinCon.  It was a great speech and I truly enjoyed it.

However, the best part came on the following day when I was heading down the elevator to the lobby to meet some FinCon friends at the bar.

The elevator reached the first floor and the doors opened.  I took a step out and, to my amazement, Darren Rowse was stepping in.

I then stepped back into the elevator, looked at Darren, and said, “Well, I guess I’m not getting out anymore!”

He smiled (humoring me, I’m sure!) and I rode the elevator all the way back up to his floor talking to him along the way.

I was nice enough to not be any creepier and let him get out of the elevator without following him any further.  However, this was a great opportunity to meet the guy – you can’t blame me for jumping back in the elevator with him, can you?


Rockin’ the Mohawk Like J$

My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments - Rockin' the Mohawk Like J$
Two peas in a pod!

For some weird reason, I decided to dress as J. Money for the costume party on the last night.

Ok, dressing like J$ might not be too weird, but I decided to shave my head into a Mohawk like his as well so that might be the weird part.

I’m not sure what made me go down this path, but it turned out to be a good decision (I think!!).  Some of my newfound friends came up to my room and helped transform me into a pretty good J$ if I do say so myself.

I didn’t anticipate this being as fun as it was for the evening.  I spent a good amount of the night hanging with J$ and trying to keep up with all the energy he has.

It made for some good laughs and gave me an opportunity to meet even more FinCon folks.

If you want to read more about this story, be sure to check out my post My First 24 Hours with the J. Money Mohawk.

So there you have it… my six favorite FinCon moments for 2017.

FinCon was an awesome time that truly exceeded every expectation I had.  Everyone was fantastic and I felt like this was a group of friends I’ve known for years.

I’m already looking forward to FinCon18 in Orlando September 26-29, 2018!  I hope to see you there!

Did you make it to FinCon this year?  Any great moments to share?

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

24 thoughts on “My 6 Favorite FinCon17 Moments”

  1. Aww!

    I remember it like it was yesterday. That question to go grab a beer. It was music to my ears, I tell you. One of the best beers I’ve had, too. Those Dallas Blondes. 🙂

    Got an extra bed in the ‘stream, ya know…just sayin’.

    1. Mmmm, beer!! I’ll be back in Dallas later this month for another conference. I might have to have one of those Dallas Blondes… but I’ll think of you while I’m drinking it! 😉

      — Jim

    1. You definitely are the celeb, Brandon! Maybe I should have asked for your autograph! 😉

      Glad you got it figured out… can’t wait to hear about that purchase on the podcast! You’re the man – it was awesome to meet you!!

      — Jim

  2. Thanks for sharing the story of the life-changing Uber ride (for the driver). I saw the pic previously but didn’t know the backstory. Would have loved to be in that car to hear the pregnant pause before the driver was inundated with money advice. Only at FinCon.

  3. Sounds like you had a fun time Jim! Makes you sound like a total extrovert!

    Glad you had a great time… if I went to an event like this I’d probably end up talking to the wall!

    1. Please… people would be lining up to meet the famous Mr. Tako! I’d be first in line!

      I’ll tell you what, I’ve never been at a place where I felt more comfortable talking with complete strangers. It was very strange, but amazing. Maybe 2018 for you? 😉

      — Jim

  4. Again, this sounds like a fantastic time. I have to put it on my radar screen for conferences. Probably a bit more fun than the academic ones that I present at. Now if FINCON could be in Europe that WOULD BE AWESOME! Anybody arrange that? Cheers!

    1. Haha, talk to PT about setting it up in Europe!

      I know I had a much better time at FinCon than I do at the IT conferences I go to. But I think that’s because I lost my passion for IT. If you still love the academic ones, it’s probably pretty fun as well… of course you wouldn’t have the rest of us cool money nerds there! 🙂

      — Jim

  5. FinCon really was an awesome time for sure! I hadn’t seen the tweets about you now being invited to the super secret parties now, so that made me literally laugh out loud. How are we going to top the Mohawk for next year?!

  6. I couldn’t agree more with you about how inclusive and fun Fincon is.

    On the subject of speaking to people we admire, it felt quite surreal to me walking around and seeing familiar faces of people whose blogs I follow, even though I have never met them in real life. I spent all event trying to pluck up the courage to approach Mrs Frugalwoods, until eventually it was the leaving party and I figured I’d missed my chance. Then (perhaps given a confidence boost by the beer) I saw an opportunity and said Hello. I did feel like a bit of a groupie but she was perfectly lovely and made me realise I should never have worried about approaching her in the first place!

    I love your story about saving the Uber driver’s life…I bet he didn’t expect that! Let’s hope he followed through on the advice…

    1. Surreal is definitely the right word, Corinna! It was like being at the Oscars with a bunch of celebrities walking around! What was cool were those “celebrities” themselves – every single person I talked to there was amazing, friendly, and gracious with their time. Fantastic group of people across the board!

      — Jim

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