FinCon 2017 Recap: What YOU Need to Hear

FinCon 2017 Recap: What YOU Need to Hear

I realize not everyone wants to know how to grow their blog or SEO, etc. (in fact, I didn’t go to most of those sessions either!). The two things I learned at FinCon that are important for everyone are:

1) The Importance of Community

I went to FinCon because that’s my tribe. Are all of them my people? No way! But there were 1700 people there and a subset of that are my friends. We relate. We communicate. We help each other out.

If you’re not clicking in a community, find a different one. I feel like we, as humans, spend too long trying to click with people we don’t actually get along with. We want to be with the cool kids or the popular crowd or the friends of our friends. We are willing to change who we are to get “in” with people that will “look good” as friends. That’s silly. It was silly in high school. It’s even sillier as adults. The other trend I see are trying to connect with people that seem most like us outwardly. We think maybe we’ll automatically relate because of our shared political party, religion, gender etc.  Maybe you do connect, but just because you have a large shared interest doesn’t mean you can totally relate. Find the people you feel most YOU with. The people you don’t have to try. The people with whom you can just jam down and they’ll dive right in with you (okay, so that’s me. If you don’t like “jamming down,” find your thing).

Community is important. It is through community we find our greatest success. I connected in person with so much of my online community at FinCon. It was fantastic. I also met new members of my community. When you have a supportive community, you are so much better together. If you find the right people, you legitimately want each other to succeed! (So many of my friends won Plutus Awards this year, and it was SO EXCITING! – It’s basically like the Academy Awards for bloggers.)

Mr. T and I are anonymous bloggers. And because I geek out about money, I had to find friends that do that too. Though Mr. T does not geek out about money, he’s family, and he wanted to come with me to meet my tribe. I’m happy to say he enjoyed himself as well because my community is more than just people who geek out about money. They’re people like me in more ways than that.

2) The Importance of Stories

You don’t read this blog because I’m the best early retirement blog (my friend, Tanja won that award over at Our Next Life), the best international blog (my Canadian friend, Des, won that award over at Half Banked), the best minimalism blog (that’s my friend Cait over at Cait Flanders). You also don’t come because I’m the funniest, the smartest, or the best. You come because you relate to me or my story.

Along those lines, I’ve realized that my journey is important in the early retirement space. I used to just send people to read better writers if they reached out to me (and I will keep pitching awesome blogs to you), but there isn’t someone taking the slow route to early retirement on 1.3 incomes and 3 kids (correct me if I’m wrong!). Maybe you relate to that. Sure we’re not going to win awards or be on the news for doing it slowly (How This Family Retired in 15 Years in their late 40s – That’s just not an exciting headline!), but there are reasons we’re doing it that way. We need to talk more about that. Sure, I’ll still probably do the occasional toilet paper comedy post (because I can’t help myself), but for the most part, I will be focusing more on our story here at Northern Expenditure. We will talk about things like: why we’re choosing to take it slowly, how we’re making travel meaningful to our children, why we pay for lessons for our children, why we don’t mind that our kids have “stuff,” how being a stay-at-home-mom impacts our plan, etc.

Your story is important, too! Someone said that it’s important to find someone that is on a similar path but just one step ahead. It’s also important to share your story in a way the would help the people on a similar path but just one step behind you. That’s my new goal around here. But you need to tell your story, too. Maybe you don’t need to start a blog (so. much. work.), but tell someone your story. Share it here. Send me an email. Share it with a friend. We can all help with our experiences.

Why We’re Not Going to FinCon 2018:

Ha ha ha. I built it up like I was going to share something dramatic. In all reality, next year’s conference is in Orlando, Florida in September and we just can’t swing that logistically. Our kids would never forgive us if we went to Orlando without taking them. (Even going to Dallas without them, Lui said: “There’s rides in Texas!” and we had to assure him we were not going to go on any rides without him.) And we can’t plan to bring them in September because school and because we already have a 27-day Europe trip planned with them in June! But hopefully we’ll be heading back in 2019 (we’re pitching Anchorage for FinCon 2019. Who’s in?).

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which, at no cost to you, helps support Northern Expenditure and keeps our heat on in the winter. Thanks!

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24 Comments

  1. TheRetirementManifesto

    SOOOO excited to hear that FinCon19 is going to be in Anchorage! You listening, PT? Great post on what matters the most at FinCon, Maggie. The People, The Community, The Friends. Enjoy that European vacation next summer, sounds wonderful!

  2. Thanks for the great reminder that each of our stories is important and will resonate with different readers. I’d love a good excuse to go back to Anchorage 🙂

  3. Now that would be quite the destination for FinCon!

    You make a good point about sharing our stories. It’s easy to get caught up in feeling like we have to post really informative discussions of money topics. However, anyone can do that – only we can tell readers about our family’s unique journey.

    • MaggieBanks

      Exactly! Someone will relate to you and no one else. It’s worth telling our own stories and stop comparing so much!

  4. It would be AWESOME to go out to Alaska for a FinCon!!!

  5. FinCon in Anchorage for early Dec would be interesting!!!

    The community is strong and it was so great to connect with so many people face to face finally.

    Nothing wrong with “slower” early retirement route. We’re on 1 income with 2 kids…so… 😀

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes, it was great connecting with you at FinCon – and I love connecting with people that have kids and not dual incomes. 🙂

  6. Physician on FIRE

    FinConAK — Count me in! Does Club Paris still make the hamburger from filet mignon and top it with avocado? So good.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

  7. I got a similar reminder from FinCon, Tell YOUR story. I found it thru many ways, but it was a good reminder as to why I started the blog and looked for other family FIRE type blogs and why I like reading about people that are also working towards FIRE/FFLC or whatever their version is. Especially when they’re not computer programmers, engineers or others with baller salaries. I definitely steer people towards blogs I think may fit them better when asked. 🙂

    Not saying I don’t think I write decent stuff, but I’m never going to put out stuff like Big ERN, or JD Roth or any of those guys. I just don’t ahve any passion about technical money articles.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh I agree completely. I was drawn to your story because it’s similar to mine (in some ways!). And the community is so great that it’s always great to send people to other awesome blogs that are filling needs I’m not filling.

  8. I think it’s really interesting to see how even among the bloggers I thought were more popular, there are hierarchies of those who are even MORE popular or prodigious or whatever. Luckily, while I’m absolutely open to making money online, I primarily save my competitiveness for my offline life so that I can continue to love my blogging hobby, no matter how high or low traffic is.

    I am so glad as many of us made it this year as we did – Anchorage 2019 yeah! ;D

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh people need to get over the drama and start seeing bloggers like real people. There’s not point sucking up to real people that you don’t relate to. You don’t have to be friends with everyone! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

  9. E.

    I’m also on the slower path to early retirement and I love reading about people doing it that way. It brings up another set of challenges. I find your blog interesting to read how you and your family find balance between saving for early retirement and also choosing to do some experiences now even if that means delaying early retirement a few years. I find it hard to decide for myself on where to find that balance for ourselves so I enjoy reading about it!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks, E. I agree. That’s a tough balance to find and it’s helpful to discuss why we are making the decisions we are in our own attempt to find the right balance.

  10. I’ve read a lot of recaps on FinCon the last week. I like your “take home messages”…community and story telling. They are important as you say. Have a great weekend! Tom

  11. It was so great to meet you and Mr. T! FinCon Alaska sounds great 😉 I have my ticket for Orlando, but I have no idea if I’ll actually get the days off work next year. And I most definitely will NOT be on maternity leave. Haha.

  12. Anchorage FinCon yes yes yes!

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