OurNextLife.com // Creating Your Community // #FinCon16 Recap -- blogger community, personal finance bloggers, women bloggers, women who writecommunity

Creating Your Community // #FinCon16 Recap

I’ve just returned from FinCon16, my first time at the financial bloggers conference, and I’m completely brimming with excitement about it all. My vision for this blog is a lot more clear (so excited to share that with you guys over time!), but most of all, I was continually floored by the warmth, openness and generosity of the entire community there. I was a teensy bit concerned going in that, as a newbie attendee, I might struggle to find folks who’d talk to me, but that worry was completely unfounded. Instead, I had the time of my life, got way too little sleep because there were so many great conversations at all hours, and left with a renewed commitment to fostering more connections across the FIRE community — and not just among bloggers.

So today, a recap of #FinCon16, and a look at other ways we can all create our own communities.

OurNextLife.com // Creating Your Community // #FinCon16 Recap -- blogger community, personal finance bloggers, women bloggers, women who write

Last year, I found out about FinCon only a week or two before it happened, and I was so bummed to miss it that I bought my ticket for 2016 as soon as the 2015 event ended. On the plus side, my registration was only $160ish, while last minute registrants paid something like $400. Yay for our wallets. (Also yay? My free flights, thanks to e-certificates from volunteering to be bumped off oversold flights.) But I had virtually a whole year to build it up in my mind, which can often mean going in with overly high expectations.

The Introduction

Fortunately, nearly everything about the conference exceeded my hopes, except for the crummy weather in San Diego the first day. Once that cleared up, though, it was a spectacular location — that header photo is the view from my hotel room with very little filter. I know. But from the moment I arrived, it was clear that we were not only all in a beautiful place, but that I was going to be among my kind of people. #MoneyNerdsUnite

Though the other thing I realized right away was that this anonymous thing was going to be hard. I tweeted out pics of what I was wearing to try to make it easier to spot me — since, you know, no one knew what I look like.


And right away, I started finding people we’ve connected with online. The first three I met were Pia from Mama Hustle, Claudia from Two Cup House and Liz from Ms. Liz Money Matters, all awesome ladies whom I loved hanging out with, which is also true for Abigail from I Pick Up Pennies and Revanche from A Gai Shan Life. But, that anonymity thing got strange awfully fast, as soon as the first person said, “But what’s your real name?”


And it didn’t get easier.


So I did end up telling some people my name, because we’re all humans and stuff, and I think it will be fine. Though if I told you my name, Mr. ONL would appreciate if you would keep that information to yourself, at least until we’re “out” sometime next year. ;-) Thankfully it was easier to dodge photos than it was to avoid sharing my name.

The Conference

FinCon has a lot to do during the conference, and on paper the breakout sessions and keynotes look like the most important elements. But they aren’t at all. I’d probably call the sessions and keynotes the weak points, actually, with some notable exceptions, and were often aimed at a beginner level (or were too male-centric… more on that later). I found pretty quickly that the other stuff going on was a lot more interesting.


At the Podcast stage: Melanie from Dear Debt, Tonya from Budget and the Beach, Shannon who hosts Martinis and Your Money, Liz from Frugalwoods

In addition to watching some podcasts get recorded, I did a few rounds at the expo hall, where I surprised myself with how much swag I actually wanted to take home. I normally don’t like crappy quality free stuff, but the swag was legit. Good notebooks, great quality t-shirts and all-stainless water bottles — even a beach mat and a quality beach bag from Vanguard that everyone loved. It was no small feat to get it all home without checking a bag.


Speaking of free stuff, I got this lovely gift from the Sheraton to make up for some pre-check-in hassles. I do not turn down free wine and chocolate. (I later contributed this stuff to parties at the houseboat rented by Go Curry Cracker, Millennial Boss and Fiery Millennials. Jeremy and Winnie from GCC are awesome — Jeremy is my favorite new teddy bear, and Winnie is hilarious. And I loved all the time with MB and FM too.)


Though speaking of food, the conference food was definitely on the minimal side (as in, breakfast disappeared before the end of its allotted time each day, and food was hard to come by at a few of the cocktail receptions). And worse than that, it was all so… beige. I was craving green food, beyond the Trader Joe’s veggies I had bought right after landing. After a few days, I convinced fellow health nut Tonya from Budget and the Beach to venture out with me in search of kale and seaweed. (This food was most definitely not free.)


The Best Part: The People

I’ve said it plenty of times, but I feel it even more strongly now: Our community is beyond amazing. From the people who write in other personal finance niches whom I met on the airport shuttle to the hotel, to the big deal bloggers you’ve definitely heard of, I was floored by how genuinely friendly everyone was.

And not just friendly, they were genuinely interested, ready and willing to share what they’ve learned and give advice, and open to making new friends, which surprised me because I assume the folks who’ve been going to FinCon for years would already have full dance cards. But that was rarely true.

Probably the best part of all of it was connecting with some of my favorite PF ladies and learning that, yes, we also click in real life, not just online. My heart is full thinking about the time I spent with Kara and Taylor at multiple times during the conference, and I feel happy being able to drop the “blog” from “blog friends,” and just call each other friends. (Same goes for Gwen, but we’ll get to her later.) ;-)

Then there were my fellow anonymous bloggers. We weren’t planning to take a picture because, you know, anonymous. But then Tawcan and Maggie threw down the gauntlet on Twitter, and a few of us went for it. I’m pretty sure I’m now on a terrorist watchlist. Whoops.

It wasn’t a surprise that I would love all the friends I’ve “met” online before but not in real life. But what was a surprise was how shockingly welcoming the big deal FIRE bloggers were.

I tweeted this photo (thank you, Twitter, for adding the emoji feature to photos), and it’s not just a photo opp. This was most of the conference, bonding with the big names in the FIRE blog space, and making plans to get together outside of FinCon. (Plus, Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache replied to my tweet, so I’m pretty much world famous now. Hahaha.)


Jill and Brandon from Mad Fientist, Joe from Retire By 40, Mr. 1500, Gwen from Fiery Millennials, Liz from Frugalwoods, Tonya from Budget and the Beach, Erin from Journey to Saving, Ms. ONL, Mindy from Bigger Pockets, Travel Miles 101

When it came time for the Plutus Awards, our whole category sat together (along with RBD, who was up for best investing blog) and cheered for each other. When Brandon/Mad Fientist won, we were all happy and may have shocked the rest of the room with how loudly we cheered. Then we cut a rug at the Plutus party. (You guys, Liz/Mrs. Frugalwoods can get down).



Still pinching ourselves to be in that company.

And just like that, FinCon was over. It felt long and short. I had time for real conversations with a lot of different people, but also wanted more time to talk to new people I only briefly met. I got barely any sleep and felt exhausted, but was also energized by all of it and could have kept going. Though I’m not sure when my voice will be fully recovered.


The best last minute surprise was running into Gwen, who writes Fiery Millennials, on the airport shuttle the last day, for a last goodbye to cap off the conference. She is an incredibly brave social butterfly and will talk to anyone. Which means that she knows everyone despite it also having been her first FinCon, and she introduced me to the FIRE crew. (Pro tip: If you’re not an extrovert, attach yourself to one.) And did I mention Gwen’s 25? She would tell you she’s almost 26. ;-) She’s also a hilarious sprite and a beautiful soul, and I’m so glad I know her now.


With that, I got on my planes home, booked tickets for FinCon17 in Dallas in late October 2017 (fingers crossed we will have given notice by then and won’t have to be anonymous!), and then hit the store for an epic produce binge. I missed my green things!


Creating Our Communities

FinCon exists not because someone wanted to create something massive or make a ton of money, but just because the PF bloggers of six years ago wanted a way to gather. It was born out of that desire to build community and help it flourish. FinCon clearly accomplishes that, and it has grown every year because of the infectious spirit it fosters.

But FinCon is not the only way we can all connect, especially the non-bloggers among us who I know would also love to talk FIRE with like-minded people. I did FinCon fairly inexpensively thanks to the early bird ticket and free airfare (though I splurged on a solo hotel room, just because I wasn’t sure whether I would need a sanctuary), but I still spent almost a thousand dollars all in to go. That’s not realistic for everyone, nor is taking three days off work and being away from home for five.

Coming out of FinCon, I want to help support our community to get together more, and we’d love to hear your ideas for making that happen. After we retire, we definitely want to start doing more free meetups around the country for FIRE enthusiasts, but we’d love to do even more than that. We’ll keep thinking, and send us your thoughts!

Space for PF Women

One of the themes that emerged loud and clear for many of us at FinCon was the need for something that better reflects how women want to connect and learn. Pretty quickly, I deemed FinCon “the sausage fest,” because the overall energy was definitely heavy on the testosterone. Most of the keynotes and session leaders were male, women on panels sometimes felt like they were just there because someone thought, “Oops, we need a chick,” and there wasn’t anything focused on how women relate to PF as the primary financial decision-makers in terms of purchasing, but also the ones who are often thought of as second fiddle when it comes to “real” decisions.


I was not the only one to get this vibe, and several women started the #FeministFinCon hashtag to discuss how women specifically can gather to talk about all of this stuff, and what it’s like to write in a male-dominated sector. I definitely encourage women bloggers to follow the hashtag and engage!

Not Just for Bloggers

This is a bit of a call to action to the non-bloggers. We mostly hear in the comments from people who write their own blogs, and much as we love that, we know that we’re missing the perspective of a lot of you guys. So for those of you who don’t blog, do you want to meet up with other people pursuing FI and early retirement? How far would you be willing to travel? Or do you prefer connecting online? Or are you good just doing your own thing without meeting others? We’d love to hear from you guys!

Your Community

We’d love to hear from everyone — bloggers and non-bloggers alike. What is the community you most want to create? What would you most like to be able to discuss with people that you don’t get enough of now? Anyone else go to FinCon and want to fill in gaps in my recap? We’re already at 2100 words, and I left a lot out! ;-)

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182 replies »

  1. Thanks for the recap! I didn’t get to go this year because I only recently found out about it and the $449 price tag just seemed too high a price to pay for where I’m at on my blogging journey. I am planning on going to #FinCon17 though in Dallas! Starting to make my plans now. Sounds like a great place to meet so many people that I read about everyday online! Congrats on making it to the finalists category on your category at the Plutus Awards, that’s amazing!

    • Yeah, I can see not wanting to pay that price for this year! Glad you got in on the flash sale for next year — look forward to meeting you! And thanks for the congrats — it was an honor to be a finalist among those awesome folks! :-)

      • Thanks! I’m having fun starting to network and start to follow other FinCon attendees and look forward to nurturing all the relationships over the next year! I was already budgeting for next year at the full price, so when I saw the flash sale price I almost immediately clicked buy! So glad to have pulled the trigger! It’s going to be so much fun to learn/network/hang with so many amazing people and talent!

      • That’s all awesome! And heads up that the hotel will get cheaper when they announce the group rate, probably in the spring sometime. But next year’s conference is in an area with more hotels around, so it’s worth shopping around or looking at nearby Airbnbs.

      • Thanks! Will definitely see what I can shop around and find! Going to be reading a bunch of guides about other people’s experiences as well to get a good idea of what to expect!

  2. Awesome wrap up! I enjoyed reading yours (and everyone else’s) tweets throughout the conference.

    As an Australian blogger fairly new to the game, I am in the process of “meeting” other Australian bloggers, but there still aren’t many of us. Perhaps one day we will travel to FinCon, but it is a long way away.

    Btw, I also find Winnie hilarious on podcasts, so I’m glad she is just as funny in real life!

  3. FinCon sounds truly amazing. I am one of those people that find it hard to attend due to lack of vacation and leaving my family for that long. I tried to send my sister in my place (Since she lives in San Diego, but she had just returned from months in China and was recovering from a cold.)

    You hit the nail on the head talking about the over abundance of testosterone in many finance related blogs. I think it would be great to have some sort of #FeministFinCon. And as someone who has not found time to blog yet, it would be nice to be a part of the discussions as well.

    • Yeah, it’s a big financial and time commitment to go! I understand that it wasn’t in the cards for you. And overall the conference had a super positive vibe — it’s not like every moment felt like a sausage fest. :-) Just enough key moments did that it was hard to ignore. We’ll definitely spread the word once things are figured out for #FeministFinCon! :-)

  4. It was so inspiring to see all the tweets and all the positivity. It definitely sounds like an incredible event. And hooray for tracking down greens. The one parallel to this and how I spent my day is the food – teachers are often bribed into sitting through meetings (Two days of meetings…it was just like FinCon. Not). with saturated fats and carbs and it gets old pretty quickly. Hooray for fun times! So glad for the recap!

    • Yeah, the positivity was legit! I almost still can’t believe it. People are so happy to share what they know, share their time, and people just went in with major positive vibes. And one lesson learned: if you’re willing to schmooze with the sponsors, you can definitely get some better food. I had some yummy sweet and sour tofu (sadly, still beige-ish) by getting invited to a Charles Schwab happy hour. So maybe I’ll milk more of those next year. :-)

  5. Oh! Fincon is in Dallas in 2017? Maybe I can convince Mr. SSC to drive up there… we are just too cheap to pay to go to a conference. lol

  6. You paint a pretty amazing picture of FinCon. Between this and the other recaps I have read, I definitely need to go next year!

    On a related note, I would be all about other, smaller meetups, as well. I would love to interact with other people with the same interests beyond just blog comments and the occasional twitter back and forth.

    • It definitely wasn’t perfect, but it was fantastic. Totally worth it despite the shortcomings. And great to know that you’d be into smaller meetups! We’re collecting ideas and will report back!

  7. Thanks for this recap. Very helpful for those of us that did not attend.

    I am still relatively new to this and was curious how FinCon would work, expecially for the anonymous blogger. I’ve spent plenty of time attending industry conferences, but it’s usually been much less fun than what you experienced.

    Hopefully I’ll be attending one of these years. I really would like to start putting some faces (if not names) with these great sites.

    Thanks again.

    • FinCon is SO MUCH DIFFERENT from normal conferences that we all attend for work. Almost no one is trying to sell something, and you aren’t having to repeat your elevator pitch over and over. It’s really just about connecting, with some tips sprinkled in through the sessions. And I hope you can make it to one! Would be fun to meet!

  8. Did you happen to go to the diversity meetup? After FinCon 2015, some of us starting talking about a diversity track, which the conference isn’t “ready for.” I saw on the schedule that there was a separate meetup (and would have gone had I attended.) But I agree about the space for women. I mean, so many women attend! I’m super excited for #feministfincon. I’m also glad to hear that you have a clearer vision for you blog. That was something I was hoping to get while I was there, and I’m having trouble thinking it through right now.

    • I went to the first part of the diversity meeting, but sadly, it was fairly small and I don’t know how much that group can push the overall conference. And I heard the “not ready” line from several people, even just about having a panel about blogging from a woman’s perspective. It’s pretty weird, to be honest, to even have to be having this conversation. But, like you, I’m excited for #feministfincon. I told Emma Lincoln, who’s taking the lead, that I’m in for anything. :-)

      • We ended up with around 20 people, which is admittedly small for a group of 1200. But it was really good and they’re starting a fb group to try to figure out ways to get the message out more broadly. Women are a part of diversity, but I think both groups and their purposes are going to be amazing… And much needed. Dual membership all the way.

      • That’s so awesome! I need to get on that Facebook group. Both are much needed, indeed! And just the recognition that not everyone brings the same perspective will be a huge positive.

      • Great recap, sounds like you had a blast as much as Mrs. Even Steven and I did as well! Also, I think it’s obvious what your real name is just based on the blog title, it’s clearly Olga Nexterlife, since I met you I can officially confirm this is true.

        I know the first year I struggled with the costs and decided not to go, I just made it a point of emphasis in our budget. I think we only have stayed in a hotel once in the past year…..FINCON15. We also treated this year more vacation than conference, which was fun. It’s really true though the people are great, so much energy and good vibes.

        Cheers to staying in touch, feel free to say hello, ask questions, tell me about something cool, and/or decide what masks we are taking pictures with next year. My current choice is dead presidents like from the movie point break;)

      • Dude, you’re not supposed to out me on my own blog! Hahaha. And YES, definitely Point Break masks next year. I have major love for that movie. Especially the last line: “He’s not coming back…” Hahahahahaha. I call dibs on Nixon. ;-) You’re tall enough to pull off Reagan.

        I’m super glad you guys were there and that we got to hang out a bit. I bought Mr. ONL a ticket for next year and told him he has to come, so we’ll be in the couples ranks next year! And absolutely on keeping in touch. :-)

  9. When I found out that next year Fincon was in Dallas it was with mixed emotions. Yeah, I can drive! Boo, it’s still in Texas, lol. Regardless, I plan on being there, even though the real financial part of my duo will not.

    I bet it can be “easy” for almost any conference to turn male-centric which is a shame. I am guessing I’m not the only one that would be in a way worse off financial situation if it wasn’t for my wife. I’m the first to point out I’m financially inept, or was prior to Prof. SSC coming along. I can’t be the only one with a stronger financial better half.

    I’d be down for meetups with non-bloggers and outside of Fincon type situations. MMM has similar moustache meetups around his ‘hood, and I don’t see why there can’t be some kind of movement for something similar from other bloggers. Except we probably don’t have the same reach, lol.

    • I’m SOOOOO excited that you’ll join next year! Think you could maybe convince Prof SSC too??? I am trying to talk Mr. ONL into joining for the fun. And I love your sensitivity on the “male oriented” stuff. If you just looked at the attendees, it was 50/50 male female. But apparently the organizers and decisionmakers are mostly dudes, because it just felt very bro-y. And who cares if we don’t have the same reach — let’s still figure out ways to do meetups!

      • Well, conferences are her version of hell with all the crowds and what not, so it would be a hard sell. Plus, we’d have to get her mom to watch the kiddos for the weekend which may be tricky since she’s so busy in retirement. Seriously, her calendar is more tight than ours… Yeah hobbies!

        Ms. Montana’s skype happy hours are a great idea for mini meetups so I may try that route. Although as a “pseudo anonymous” blogger that might not work so well and a mask on skype would just be creepy. Hmmm… Things to ponder

      • I go to a lot of conferences for work, and I can say with total confidence that FinCon is TOTALLY different. It’s more like a big family reunion, except that you actually want to talk to everyone. Hahaha. But it’s not like the salesy/pitchy vibe at normal conferences, not even a little. And if you do a mask on the Skype chat, please send me a screen shot so I can laugh. ;-)

  10. Yes! Yes! Yes! Raises hand in over-eager attempt to get called on… I’m not writing a blog yet, though I’d like to start at some point. But I’d really like to help build community, and also love the idea of a group particularly for women who want to talk money. In terms of travel, I think distance is less of a limitation than frequency. Getting away from my family more than once a year (unless I can call it work) is a lot to ask.

    I love these ideas, and would be happy to connect and be involved. So awesome that you found FINCON to be so inspiring! I’m sure it must be making you even more eager to be done with the W@RK and FIRE already!

    • I think there’s great momentum building for a women’s community, so stay tuned! And yeah, I hear you — frequency makes it hard to gather while working! And you totally called it: FinCon made me want to hurry up and retire now! Talking to guys like Mad Fientist and Go Curry Cracker and Retire By 40 who are already retired just made me all the more impatient. :-)

  11. Great summary of FinCon and a great way to get a bit of a flavor on how it was. I had totally forgot about it until I saw the various posts pop up. We are actually aiming for a much smaller (and shorter) first meetup here in the Netherlands, together with our Belgian friends. Hope we will have as much fun as you did.
    As for male dominance, there has got to be lots of girl power behind all that testosterone at Fincon, right? Might not be directly visible, but I’m pretty sure its there (and in many cases even the driving force). Good for you pointing it out that the female perspective is also very important. Hope for you that this element get’s more attention in 2017.

    • How exciting that you guys are doing some Europe meetups! I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time — it seems like everyone pursuing FI cares less about status than most people, which translates to a lot of friendliness. :-) And yes, there were tons of women at FinCon, but the organizers are male, which seems to influence all of it.

  12. Glad that everyone had such a great time at FinCon! I can only imagine how fun it was to connect with people by meeting face-to-face rather than over Twitter or a blog.

    My wife and I discussed FinCon17, which might be a little tight for us (since we’re spending the summer in the Pacific northwest) but still doable since it’s not until October. We still have no interest in paying money to go to a conference, but we also understand how nice it would be to connect with others in the community. If it’s convenient, we might look into going. Otherwise, we’ll probably continue to skip these.

    But, looking into how to meet up outside of FinCon is definitely something that we’d love to explore. Unfortunately, you’ll always have the travel cost in virtually any kind of meetup. And again, more informal meetups also won’t get near the number of people to attend, either. So, we know that it probably won’t be the same.

    I like the idea of crowd funding an event that really keeps minimal living at the forefront of it all. Rather than big hotels, maybe rent out a cabin or something in the woods and spend days hiking and chatting, and otherwise getting out into nature. Choosing a destination that isn’t a huge metropolis would probably help keep costs down, too. I’m sure a Wyoming cabin can be had, especially if funded in part by those in attendance, pretty cheaply for everyone.

    I think the key is to keep these meetups relatively small. That helps ensure a community feeling. We aren’t drained at the end of the day like we are after a conference. No podcasts. No PowerPoint slide presentations.

    Just…being together with personal finance people, in nature.

    • If you will be in the PNW next year, check out camp mustache. It’s a smaller gathering and everyone is focus on FIRE. It is just like you described. I’m planning to go next year.
      FinCon is really awesome, you need to go at least once. It was exhausting, but it was a blast.

      • I have to check these things out… we don’t consider ourselves especially mustachian (MMM would for sure scoff at our spending on travel!) but I’m pretty hooked on meeting folks from the community.

      • Camp Mustache was super chill and there was a whole spectrum of spending habits present (based on some people who shared in smaller group conversations, you won’t feel obligated to share your own if you don’t want to). It’s not like everyone has to submit their annual budget broken down by category to buy a ticket!

        Everyone seemed to share a common goal of spending below their means with the goal of FI(RE), but we can’t all be as extreme as Pete. I think you’d fit in just fine if you’re able to snag a ticket.

      • Haha — That’s good to know! Because we can’t even get our frugal card revoked… we never had one in the first place. ;-) I just joined the FB page to get info on the one next Memorial Day — would be awesome if it works out!

        Loved meeting you guys and hanging out! Hope you had an easy trip home.

    • I think I suggested it this year, but you guys could just crash the party without buying a pass, and I’m sure it would be totally fine. Or even create a meetup near the conference (maybe show off your Airstream!). Then your only costs would be gas and maybe a little bit in parking. But I totally hear you that this is a pricey privilege to be able to go to FinCon. And I’m totally in favor of small-scale gatherings. Even though I talked to a ton of people, it was a tiny slice of FinCon — don’t need those giant groups! Let’s figure out how to make some camping meetups happen — I totally love that idea!

  13. Great recap! I’m glad you got so much out of it and I’m glad you sent those comments about next year’s Fincon. I’m on hold for any more until I decide if I really want to go! A highlight though this year was hanging out with you and eating non-beige food! Those little pockets (like hot tub and fire pit conversations) were the best parts for me!

  14. Hi, Ms ONL! Non blogger here…just a huge PF blog superfan. I stalk the mess out of FinCon on Twitter every year :)

    As a huge money nerd who is also the breadwinner (my husband stays home with our 1 year old), I would loooove more opportunities to meet others in the FIRE space. My husband would love it too, because then I’d have another outlet and we could talk about something else at dinner once and a while ;)

    • Hooray for women money nerds! :-) LOL — I know how that goes about wanting to talk about something other than money and FIRE! And it was SO awesome to have several days of talking to people without having to explain any of the concepts — everything could be shorthanded. I’ll definitely report back here on meetup plans, but let’s do it!

    • Yes! I think we might be similar in our stalk-y ways! I’d love to meet more money nerd people in real life and would travel to meet others. Where are you, Britt? I’m in Michigan 😄

  15. Thanks for posting this so quickly! I wish I could have attended but, yikes, that’s a lot of money to drop on a conference. I like your idea of doing more local meetups, but I’m not sure how the logistics would work. Would love to hear what other people think.

    The Mad FIentist created a spreadsheet that people can add their info to but I’m not sure how many people have utilized this (I haven’t): http://www.madfientist.com/meetings-in-meatspace/
    Maybe this could be leveraged?

    • You’re welcome! :-) Lots of people did it for cheaper by splitting a room or getting an Airbnb, so it’s possible! I need to check out Mad Fientist’s spreadsheet — he is a rad guy (so is his wife Jill!) so maybe we can collaborate on some meetups.

  16. Thanks for the insight Mrs. ONL. I thought about going to FinCon for a hot second. But then after thinking about it and pricing it out, I realized it just wasn’t a good fit for me right now. I would have loved to meet other internet friends, but I think there are better ways to do that than attending a quite seemingly corporate conference and spending a good amount of money.

    I did a FIRE meetup when I was living in Manhattan and it was extremely easy to get 8 or 10 like minded individuals together for free. It was awesome! But now that I’m in the Midwest 2+ hours away from a major city, it definitely won’t be easy or as cheap. I know it can definitely be done cheaper than FinCon, but obviously for us outside of major cities, travel will definitely be necessary. Interested in seeing what others come up with!

    • The corporate aspects really didn’t dominate it. I worried about that going in, but it didn’t bear out. It really was just a great space to connect with friends. We’ll keep you posted on what we collect here and what we can help organize! :-)

  17. As an introvert, the whole experience sounds incredibly overwhelming, but from the glimpses I was able to experience on Wednesday night, I feel like it’s worth it to be able to take these internet friendships to real life.

    I totally get what you say about attaching yourself to an extrovert, but maybe they don’t want you around them all the time.

    I would definitely be down for smaller more intimate meetups.

    it’s so weird to me to read that it seems to be male-oriented because I feel like most of the blogs I read tend to be written by women. Most of whom I think I found by people leaving comments on this blog and Leigh’s blog.

    A lot of the males I read seem to be more of the big timers. It’s nice to hear that the big timers are so approachable though. :)

    I’m excited to hear about your plans for the blog.

    • The good thing for introverts is that most of the time is spent in one-on-one or small group discussions. But yeah, not gonna lie — it’s a lot! I hit my extrovert limit several times and had to go recharge in my room for a little while. :-) But then once I felt like I knew people and they were friends, it was much easier than on day one when it was all new introductions. And good point about the extroverts not wanting to babysit introverts — I was lucky to find one who was happy to do it. ;-) And you’re right that most money bloggers are women, but the overall conference vibe feels very male, which is a reflection of who runs and organizes it. I think it would be easy to change if a few key people ditched their blinders. ;-)

  18. Love this recap! We recently started http://www.doseofdiscovery.com, but it’s more of a travel/local blog, and we don’t discuss FIRE (although we hope to bring in more trip budgeting in the future).

    I’d love to see more communities develop, especially for women! I live in Chicago and would prefer local meetups. Or online communities could also be a cool way to discuss topics & meet local people. I look forward to hearing about the ideas you and others come up with! :)

  19. Awesome recap. I’m glad it was such a positive experience. The irony of our FIRE plans is that I almost certainly would have attended this year if we were still working … but travel freedom has given us so many appealing alternatives!

    I agree with the other commenters that the main thing we would love to do is hang out with like-minded people and build friendships. We’re not as interested in the conference aspects. Our ideal event would probably be hanging out in the woods and hiking and drinking beers over the campfire — but I recognize that that’s not everyone’s style! It’s hard to change the inertia of a big event like this, so I suspect we’ll end up in Dallas next year.

    • Thanks, Matt! Wish you guys had been there, but your Canada and Montana pictures are pretty spectacular, too… so I have some FOMO on this end as well. Haha. The friendships piece is the entire reason to go. The sessions are beside the point, and often not that helpful if you’ve been blogging for more than five seconds. And we’re for sure going to make some camping meetups happen when we retire, if not sooner. But super stoked you’re seriously considering coming to FinCon17!

  20. I am stoked for you. As an extrovert I do enjoy being charged up by sharing exciting ideas with cool people.

    I like discussing personal finance matters and spending time with intelligent fun people. I like Steve of TSR’s idea of making it low key -free (low cost) camping on federal land with hiking, biking, or backcountry skiing while the sun is up, and potluck meals around a fire when the moon is up. Since I live in Montana, I am all for a northern Rocky Mountain location.

    I am glad to hear that there are efforts to supplement the white male voice. As a white male, I enjoy hearing diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.

    The part I am interesting in further exploring is how to get the basic tenets and concepts of FI incorporated into the broader personal finance arena and into practice among early career individuals of all social-economic levels. I think it is unfortunate that many FI bloggers are choosing NOT to talk with their families, friends, and co-workers about personal finance. A co-worker was the first to introduce me to MMM’s blog, to which I am grateful. The fact that having control of one’s finances is empowering makes me wonder how this power can be taught to lower income individuals and families so they can share in that feeling. I am curious to see if some FI folks spend some of their “retirement” time to mentor and teach FI tenets to others.

    Sorry I wandered off track. To get back on track, as a non blogger, I am interested in bonding and discussing FI.

    Enjoy the greens and sleep.

    • I definitely think we are going to organize group camping outings once we retire, if not sooner — that’s totally speaking our language, too! And once we’re retired, we’ll be traveling all over to do the mountainy stuff, so we can do things in different places. And to your interest, that’s something we talked a lot about at FinCon — spreading the word about FIRE and good financial practices generally with a broader swath of people. I know others don’t talk about their plans much, but we don’t shut up about it, at least to people who won’t leak word back to our employers. ;-) I think it’s important to break down those taboos and get people thinking beyond the conventional wisdom. We will *definitely* be working even harder to spread the word after we’re fully “out.” I’d love for others to do the same.

  21. First of all, big congrats for being part of the awesome group nominated. Such talent all around!!

    With attending and participating in big conference / partnering events my bread and butter, it is not surprising at all when I read about behaviors that detract from the overall meeting value. Pharma industry, where I work, is rife with very bad tales, especially business related meetings – the JP Morgan event this year in SF a classic example of when things go badly wrong.

    Being an strong INTJ according to Myers Briggs classification, conferences are always a place where I get to develop my skills of interaction, communication and assertiveness…..jeez, sounding like a leadership coaching manual….. Saying that, like many others, I enjoy much more a beer to two with a small number of folks who enjoy discussion on themes that we are all passionate about. Small networking gatherings win every time in my book. Even if it is a handful or less. Doing this regionally will help with travel costs and likely accommodation.

    I will likely go to Dallas next year if work commitments comply although will be even more excited to take part in smaller meet ups if the opportunity arises in the NE or when ( if) my business travel aligns with any gathering.

    • Woot — NTJs unite! (I’m ENTJ, though on the line between E and I. I’m more of an ambivert but can function as an E for certain lengths of time.) I will say, because I also go to conferences for work, FinCon is COMPLETELY different. There are sponsors there, of course, but for the most part no one is selling anything or doing their elevator pitch. People are just there to meet other money nerds or meet the friends they’ve made online in real life. Think of it as more like an extended cocktail party with a few optional sessions thrown in. ;-)

  22. It was great to meet you too! This was my favorite FinCon so far because of all the FIRE bloggers I met. You guys are awesome. I only talked to Jeremy for a few minutes, though. I didn’t catch him until late on Saturday.

  23. I’d love to see something focused on the nuts and bolts of managing a fixed income in retirement for those of us tasked with that directive, and I’d love to see some information and input from the female perspective. Since I’ve opted to hold off on collecting social security, the bulk of our income is derived from my spouse’s pensions and social security, and I still find myself a non-person when it comes to financial issues and institutions, even though my husband does literally nothing with our finances by choice. I can’t tell you how tired I am of having to hand the phone over to my spouse so he can give someone permission for someone to speak to me about our money. “You’ve come a long way, baby?” Maybe not so much.

    • It’s interesting — the conference is really not designed to teach financial concepts. They assume that we all know about money stuff or we wouldn’t be writing about it. But I DO think there’s space for talking about things from different perspectives, as you said. And as Ms Liz also wrote, having the perspective of people over 50 would be a good thing (there was one session on it, “Writing for Mature Audiences,” but that was it). And I know how many times someone has asked to speak to my husband, so I can only imagine how many more times you’ve heard that over the years! :-(

  24. I’m definitely in the overwhelmed camp so would welcome more frequent opportunities to meet up with a smaller group. I was impressed with the racial diversity represented at the conference but would like to see more female as well as more middle-agers represented. The younger group is definitely the one that is rocking this PF blogging gig. I need to connect with an extrovert next year. A new way to monetize–develop a hire an extrovert program! Great to meet you–thanks for the mention!

    • It’s funny — they *say* the average age is 36, but it sure felt younger than that! Not that that was bad — I definitely enjoyed stealing some of the energy from all those 20-somethings! But yeah, more perspectives would only make it stronger, especially more perspectives among the speakers, not just the attendees. And I love that hire-an-extrovert idea, but I’m not the right person for that job! ;-) See you next year, if not at a meetup sooner!

  25. What a fantastic week. I am SO GLAD I got to hang out with you and get to know you better. Thanks for all the kind words. I’m blushing. When I get more vacation time, I’m bringing my one pair of skis and we’re going to carve up the snow. Stay in touch!

    -your favorite almost 26 year old :P

  26. We’ll see you in Dallas next year! I’ve heard nothing but good things about the conference from anyone I’ve talked to or has written a recap. Like you, I’ll probably be clouded in some form of semi-anonymity, but I’m slowly learning to let go.

    -Physician on FIRE

    • Great! So glad you’ll be there next year! The anonymity thing is not hard — just duck cameras. ;-) And people understand that some of us can’t use our real names or places, and they completely respect that. So don’t stress about it. :-)

  27. Love the recap. I totally missed out on a great conference. Absolutely love that pic of you three lol. Really considering going to Dallas for FinCon 17 next year. A few things need to iron out first thought (i.e. it falls on Baby T1.0’s birthday, plane ticket cost, hotel cost, etc).

  28. Hey, how does everyone feel about having FinCon in the UK one year?! Honestly, I would love to go. I daren’t mention it to my husband else he will be booking flights, regardless of it not being in budget… especially if he clocked the Texan grand prix taking place a few weeks later! I loved this write up and I’ll be reading again (jealously) next year!

    • It’s a lot of cheap people, so I can’t imagine many would want to spring for a trans-Atlantic flight. ;-) BUT, you’re making me think that there needs to be a FinCon Europe! Hmm… we might need to think about that! :-)

      • It was nice to follow FinCon via tweets this year. IT gives a good idea of what it is. My conclusion: Join one as soon as it is possible.

        After a first meetup in Budapest, I now look forward to a more local meetup. It is true fun to meet likeminded people that you only know from a blog. Turns out they can be fun as well off line.

      • All true! And truly, everyone is even more fun in person, especially the FIRE bloggers specifically. (I’m biased, but I think our segment was the most fun group of all the PF bloggers at FinCon.) ;-) I hope you can meet up with more folks, and maybe even make it to FinCon… although Dallas is maybe not the most fun city overall, so I wouldn’t blame you if you want to wait until 2018. ;-)

      • I really start to consider it when it is north east. New York, chicago things like that. Until then: Twitter and blog posts it is. And some self organized meet ups.
        Maybe I need to pitch Belgium to people that like to travel 😎

      • Cool, a campervan tour… You can park on our driveway.
        Let’s see: great beers, chocolate, nice cities close to each other, ice-cream, chocolate, great dining culture,…

  29. It was so wonderful to meet and hang out with you, Gwen, and Tonya! Even though it was my third FinCon, I still found myself a little overwhelmed and haven’t purchased my ticket for next year. I much prefer smaller gatherings where I’m not trying to shout over music. =) However, the conference made me realize how out of touch I’ve been with the community, so I feel more motivated to return to my blog now and keep the connections going!

    • I agree! And yeah, the shouting was intense! I still sound like a frog. :-) I’m super happy to hear that it motivated you to get back to your blog — I’m looking forward to following along with you! Let me know if you decide to come next year — I’d love to have more time to chat!

  30. So glad you had fun and met other fin. bloggers ‘for real.’ A blogger here, but not a fin. blogger; however, that doesn’t mean I don’t just eat up all this good info and advice. That is one of the greatest things about finances – it applies to everyone.
    Also, in a couple photos, you look a little yellow – jaundice? Heehee. Good job on being anon. even without the Groucho Marx glasses.

    • Oh my goodness — so sorry I missed your comment back when you left it! :-/ Thank goodness the jaundice is just a photo artifact. ;-) And I think it’s worth considering FinCon if you’re looking for a meet-up, even if you don’t blog about PF. It’s just such an open, welcoming community, and I met several non-bloggers there who also had a wonderful time. :-)

  31. Thanks for the recap. I’m trying to finish up my own right now, but it was interesting to get your perspective. It was also very nice to meet you; wish I could have chatted with you for a bit longer. Next year.

    It’s most interested to me to hear your take on the ‘sausage fest’. I had to miss the last day and from what I gathered on Twitter, I missed out on an …. interesting(?) keynote. Some of the ladies were NOT impressed with Noah. Was it indeed a ‘frat party-like feel? If so, not cool. After feeling so welcomed by the FinCon community, it would definitely be disappointing to hear that some of the ladies felt that way.

    • I think your comment got lost in the ether for a bit — sorry to have missed it back when you left it! :-( It was great to meet you and let’s find more time to chat next year! The frat party thing… for sure Noah contributed big time to that (there were even some very sexually aggressive elements of his keynote that most of us females did not appreciate… nor did we appreciate the guys telling us that it was “not a big deal.” Um, hello. You don’t get to decide that!). But it really went beyond that, just feeling like women’s voices weren’t welcome, or if they were, it was in a more gender neutral way, not in a way that celebrates our perspectives. Anyway, I think there has been enough talk about all of that that we’ll see some changes next year… here’s’ hoping, anyway!

  32. I was so looking forward to your recap! Yay! I feel like I lived vicariously through you, lol :) I would love to go to FinCon but just don’t have the money to do so. San Diego would have been cool to go to since I live here in SoCal, but the cost was just…too much. It would be totally awesome to have some sort of meet-up, even if it’s online. I’m down! I feel like there is a lot I could learn from other bloggers and as a fellow introvert, I like the idea of a smaller space to connect :)

    • Glad to let you live vicariously! ;-) And totally understand — the cost was high! The hotel was the biggest expense, which you wouldn’t have escaped even though you live close by. And I’ll keep you posted on meetups — would love to meet you in person or online!

  33. Thanks for rising to the challenge of getting this post up today. I was semi-joking but, as always, amazing!

    So many points here that I agree with. I love when comments come in from the non-blogger readers too, they have great insights to share.

    I’m thrilled that you were one of the people I got to sit and chat with for a bit. You’re just like you sound here, and I look forward to seeing you again. Thanks for the hash browns. ;)

    • I definitely lost some sleep to make it happen, but it makes me happy to have this memory-filled post out in the world. :-) And you totally made my day with the comment that I’m just like I sound here! I often wonder about that, and if meeting me would feel different from reading the blog (or, worse, like a big let down! haha). Loved meeting you — let’s find another time to get together in person! (And shhh! Don’t tell about the hash browns! I bought those, remember?) ;-)

  34. Lots of comments here, but I just wanted to say that FinCon sounds amazing, and it looks like you had a great time. Women are generally left out when it comes to money discussions and empowerment. FIRE meet-ups sound great and it would be nice to meet people with similar goals, especially those of us still on the path to FIRE.

    • It really was amazing, even with some areas that could be improved. We’re definitely stoked for next year! And yeah, it’s easy to leave women out, but we’re working to change that! We’ll keep everyone posted on #FeministFinCon and future meetups!

  35. Community is such an important part of life. While I’m sad I missed out on the FinCon fun, I was able to enjoy great community at a church retreat this weekend. I agree that the PF blogging community has been extremely friendly, helpful, and supportive, in my online experience.

    • Side note: I cheered loudly for you guys when your Plutus category came up! So if you watch the video, that weirdo is me. Haha. Whenever we figure out how to do in-person meetups, we’ll let you guys know — maybe we can meet in person one of these days! :-)

  36. One reason I “tried” to start a blog was specifically to engage and meet with other people in the FIRE community. I’m not sure blogging is going to be for me in the long run, so I’d definitely be up for a meet up of bloggers/non bloggers.

    • Yeah, the blog commitment is no joke! I completely understand that it might not be for everyone, but that you might still want to connect with people. I’ll keep everyone posted on meetup ideas!

  37. I am so jealous. I really wanted to go but unfortunately it didn’t fit into my schedule this year. I definitely want to go next year and geek out while meeting my favorite personal finance writers.

  38. I wish you and the Mad Fientist could both have one! You’re both my favorites! Your blog is my favorite one to read (financial or otherwise). Your posts are always very insightful and down-to-earth. I can’t wait to see how this blog changes when you retire. And hopefully you’ll share some of your other writing then, too! And the Mad Fientist – I do a little dance every time one of his podcasts comes out. :) Glad you had such a fun time!

    One fun side note on connecting to people in new ways: I just recently joined the Letter Writer’s Alliance (www.letterwriters.org) and got myself two good old-fashioned pen pals. I’m totally nerding out on it right now. And I want to buy all the neat rubber stamps and patches and stationary in their shop, but I’ve been able to forebear up to now. Anyway, I think that’s a fun way to connect with some people you’d never meet otherwise, who also share your (my) nerdy tendencies. :)

    • Aww, thanks! That’s a really big compliment on many levels! You made my day. :-D Brandon/Mad Fientist is super down to earth, too, and possibly even a little embarrassed that he won the award! We can’t wait to see how the blog changes post-retirement, too! Haha. But our wheels are definitely turning…

      What a cool thing to have old fashioned pen pals! I’d love to do that after we have a little more time. But then again, we feel like we have some great pen pals here! :-)

  39. It was great to meet in person Ms. ONL!

    I definitely agree that the sessions were minimally important compared to all of the individual and group conversations outside of them. Plus, we can always just watch any online that we missed; I have a couple I still want to check out.

    Camp Mustache was our first experience meeting like-minded internet people in the real world, but still comes with a prohibitive cost for most. I think local meetups will work best for anyone located in or around a big city (there seems to be one in Seattle every month or two at least), but getting a large group from across the country together is going to be tricky no matter what. Hopefully somebody comes up with an awesome solution!

    • I’ll definitely go back and watch some of the sessions I missed, too. Even if the friend time was my favorite part, I still want to soak up all of it!

      I love the idea that several folks suggested here of doing DIY-style camping meet-ups. You know that suits our outdoorsy vibe, and would let people come however they prefer and camp their own way. But we should probably be thinking about some options that don’t exclude the city-only people. ;-)

  40. I love the community building aspect. I’m going to try skype meet and greets and group video chats. It’s so tough when you have kids and home or are traveling for work. But Skype would be an easy, affordable way to stay connected. Maybe we could do a Skype group call for the ladies? I think you can have 10 people on a call. It’s way more doable for me to carve out an hour a month to connect. Mr. Mt is amazing at corralling all 5 kids for an hour or two. 5 days is a bit of a push at this point! =)

  41. Goodness – what a beautiful and well written recap of FinCon! I wish I could have gone, and it’s unfortunate that I’ve had to take a step back to focus more on what it means to integrate locally. I took on a new job that’s more involved with the community, I am working on establishing a dance program further by volunteering at the local Boys & Girls Club, and finding ways to connect & integrate further with the young professional community in Eugene – all while still enjoying my 20’s! :) Reading this account made me feel a sense of ‘homesickness’ for this community because it is incredible! With that being said a resounding YES is in order for any & all events you & Mr. ONL may set in place. Please do keep the community posted & SO happy for your enriching & wonderful experience at FinCon!

    • Oh I’m so happy to read this update! I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to, and all of this sounds wonderful. Of course we miss you in the PF space, and will happily welcome you back whenever you’re ready! I’ll definitely keep you posted on future events!

    • I’m still kicking myself for missing your name badge the first time out. Sorry! But if this post gets on Google, no one will learn your secrets here! Though I felt violently tired last night while writing this and all day today, it was worth it. Loved chatting in the wee hours! Maybe next year we can lobby for an EDM party one night of FinCon. ;-)

  42. how awesome that you went, looks and sounds like such a great time. Maybe I shall make it one year…

    And this “One of the themes that emerged loud and clear for many of us at FinCon was the need for something that better reflects how women want to connect and learn”

    So spot on even just looking at blogs out there….

    • It was truly wonderful. So glad I went! And yeah, the need for #FeministFinCon is real. Not that FinCon itself is bad, but we just need another venue to tackle the other side of things. Fortunately I think it will happen!

  43. I think most average readers would never cough up $100 to fly to a destination location just to meet us as a community of PF bloggers, except those that live in the immediate area. Maybe I’m wrong though. So jealous of the FinCon experience can’t wait for Dallas next year in 2017

    • Hard to know! I’m sure you’re right for plenty of folks. I could foresee, in the future after we are retired, having a series of meetups wherever we are traveling. Lots of ideas to think about…

  44. Absolutely love your recap! FinCon is one of my most favorite events each year. That being said, it was so huge this year that I didn’t get to see everyone that I had hoped to see. I believe you and I only chatted for a very brief moment – I wish we could have talked longer!

  45. What a post! On top of recovery from FinCon itself, I can understand the exhaustion. It was wonderful to meet you (and learn your real name!). The fireside chats and house boat after parties were lots of fun. You are as thoughtful and witty in person as you are in your blog.

    Mr. Elephant Eater and I had a real world hiking meetup during his foray into South Carolina to hike our highest point. It was a blast. So I am all for more outdoor-style meetups. Can’t wait!

    Thanks for doing your own part to create an online community. Just look at all of these responses!

    • Loved meeting you, Chad! Hope you had an uneventful trip home. And let me know if you want to chat blog ideas, because you’re doing awesome stuff and I’m happy to help. :-) And thanks for the nice note — I do wonder if I seem different on the blog vs. real life, try as I might to write as myself. ;-) I’m jealous that you met the EEs, but I suspect we’ll cross paths with them one of these days! And we’ll definitely think through some outdoorsy meetups, especially since it seems like a lot of folks are into that. (And yeah, seriously! Can’t believe all the responses on this! I was positive no one wanted to hear more about FinCon. Ha!)

  46. Oh my goodness, I would love to meet and interact with people to discuss PF! I am not a blogger and I always feel left out when you all talk about FinCon. I would totally travel for a non-blogger FinCon!

  47. Just saw this, the picture of the masked group has links to northernexpenditure.com instead of RBD and of course Even Steven Money:)

    Is this some sort of “mask” for our websites as well?

  48. An awesome recap ONL! I wish we were there, but it’d be so expensive to get there and I’d have to take so many days off work..just to get there lol. Maybe one day there will be an Australian one :) I’m so glad you feel so invigorated and happy from the event!


    • I do hope you guys can get together in Australia sometime soon! It was so wonderful to do it here, but I can’t even imagine trying to get to FinCon from where you are!

  49. Good meeting you, Ms. ONL! I’m glad we had a chance to talk, and everyone wishes that they’d started blogging anonymously just for the thrill of the “grand reveal”.

    I hear you on more women doing more at FinCon. I should point out that the “Money For Mature Audiences” panel had four women– and one guy (added at the last minute) who felt like a newb alongside all of their decades of journalism and editing experience. Maybe your strong women writers are already there, just disguised as Boomers and GenX who 30 years ago had to blaze their own trail through this issue.

    Now that a new crowd has been through their first FinCon, you know that in early-mid 2017 the call will go out for FinCon17 presentation pitches. That’s your chance to step up the #FeministFinCon discussion. The easiest approach is hosting a panel, and the most challenging is snagging a keynote.

    A second tactic is signing up for Digital CoLab. It adds one day to the FinCon lodging expenses (and one more ticket charge) but it’s filled with entrepreneurial women building their businesses. It’s not an expense– it’s an investment with an ROI.

    • Good to meet you, too! I was just listening to a podcast interview you did, and your surfing schedule sounds pretty amazing. :-) And, to be completely honest, I’m pretty excited to get to do the big reveal next year! I wish everyone could get to do it. ;-)

      I for sure know that the strong women are there in every age range, and it’s not about their presence, but rather their voices and the ways in which they’re allowed to speak. I was told by several long-time attendees that they’ve long tried to get sessions from a woman’s perspective through, and they are always rejected. But, as you rightly suggest, that’s no reason not to try for it for next year. I will for sure do that!

  50. Totally agree with it being dude-heavy and it being so much fun! I’m so run down right now, I have a feeling I’m getting a small cold because of it. I got a free ticket but had to pay full price for flights (boo!) I think all in all I spent about $1000 if you count babysitting for my son, who I normally look after while hubby is at day job.

    • Hahaha — Yes, both are true. FinCon was super dude-focused, and also super awesome. :-) Hope you get over that cold fast… or maybe it’s just sleep deprivation combined with throat strain from all the scream-talking! :-)

  51. I’d be so down for #feministFinCon !

    I’m seriously considering going to FinCon2017, though I like the idea of “mini FinCons” – like an East Coast one, Midwest one, etc. That way you also get a chance to meet nearby bloggers and readers that you otherwise may not have crossed paths with, plus travel costs for everyone are way down.

  52. I can’t believe I didn’t get to formally meet you! You were standing near me outside the expo hall and I was talking to Gwen and didn’t get the chance to say hi. So hiiii! haha. You should definitely pitch a session for next year!

    • Aw bummer! :::Virtual hi!::: We’re already registered for next year (both of us!) so I hope we can meet there! And yeah, I’m definitely going to pitch a session!

  53. I am not a blogger either, but I am definitely a FIRE-minded woman and self-described money-nerd. I would love some sort of meet-up of the feminist-variety. Fincon sounds neat, but not being a blogger – I think I would feel out of place.

    We are on track to be fully retired in 4-6 years. My DH is already semi-retired and working for himself doing something very different then his original career (tech). He always made more than I did, but never was very good at managing money – leaving it to advisors who did a poor job of it. (At least they didn’t have a chance to mess with his 401K.) I hate spending hard earned money on high fees from money managers (that essentially gamble with your money) and get paid no matter how badly your investments turn out. I always managed my own investments, and now I manage both of ours. But I don’t find it a burden at all. I love it and I love talking with like minded people about it, and talking to others who may be interested in taking some steps into PF/FIRE. I geek out on the FIRE blogs, although I comment rarely, but it is nice to feel a commonality with a group that is so counter to the high-consumption, high-debt culture that seems to be the ‘norm’ right now.

    I think my biggest concern for early retirement is about health insurance and healthcare costs. Even with what I have researched with AFA, etc – it stills seems like “the big unknown”. That is the one thing that will probably keep us from pulling the plug sooner than later. I am hoping the next couple of years will give us a better idea on what to plan for.

    • As much as I loved FinCon, I do think it’s really a place for bloggers, and while a super social person could still have a great time there, I think it would be hard not to feel a *little* out of place. But you could also *pretend* to have a blog and no one would be the wiser. Hahahaha.

      Your track toward full retirement sounds great! Shout out to the lower-earning ladies. (That’s me too.) ;-) I’m glad that you’re now managing all of your money, and keeping it out of the hands of (mis)managers.

      Definitely agree that the ACA coverage is a BIG unknown, and part of our thinking on timing was always that we wanted to quit AFTER we know who the next president will be. If Hilary gets elected, we assume that the ACA will stick around in some form, and if Trump wins, who knows, he’s only promised something “terrific.” But we’ll know soon enough.

      Thanks for chiming in that you’d like to meet up with other FIRE folks. We’ve got our wheels turning on this one. :-)

  54. I’ve only read a few recaps so far, and 2 of them have been from first-timers. It’s really interesting to see that perspective, and I’m glad so many people came for the first time!

    I find it kind of strange to see the male-centric comments though, since Fincon and personal finance blogging in general have REALLY grown in the number of women. (I’m a 5-time attendee.) I suspect a lot of people didn’t realize just how MANY sessions there actually were, since a lot of them were held in the glassed off sections of the expo hall + all the roundtables.

    I’m about to sound like an ad here, but did you know there were 141 speakers? (I got curious and counted it up: 60 women, 81 men with the keynotes & featured speakers being split almost exactly 50/50.) I have no idea about the attendee breakdown though; all I saw were a bunch of friends to reconnect with and soon-to-be-friends to meet!

    At any rate if there are topics that interest you (or anyone else reading) definitely do speaker & panel submissions, even if you haven’t spoke before. Fincon is super newbie-speaker friendly :)

    • Hi Jackie — Thanks for reading! I think a lot of us felt the male-centric vibe not from sheer numbers (clearly the ladies were representing!), but just from the tone of most of the big sessions and a few of the breakouts. It’s a good reminder to everyone that just having representation isn’t always what’s important, it’s also in the content and how visible it is. But in any case, I still completely loved it and will be back for Dallas in 2017 with Mr. ONL in tow. ;-) And I’m planning to propose sessions, too! That’s definitely something that came through loud and clear, how open they are sessions from folks who are newer to the conference.

  55. I could not swing the time or money this year, but I absolutely want to meet y’all!

    PF as a whole is a very dude-centric space. Even when there are women present. This is partially why I started my blog. I got tired of reading things that do not continuance that there are entirely different assumptions about how life can be lived.

    Not ready??? Such a BS phrase. If people are saying they want it, people are ready for it. Organizers may just not be ready to not have their desires centered.

    I’m very excited for the prospect of FeministFinCon.

    • I want to meet you, too! I think it’s completely the organizers who, though clearly wonderful humans, are trying to hard to appeal to “everyone” and think that the dudes don’t want the chick stuff, or LGBT stuff, people of color stuff, etc. They’re probably right about the white dudes, but that’s not the point. The community as a whole wants it, and the people who don’t want it NEED it. So yeah, let’s definitely make the Feminist FinCon happen!

  56. It was really nice to meet you at FinCon this year. Your recap is awesome… and as a long-time FinCon attendee, I agree with you on all points. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk more… Next year in Dallas!

    • Thanks, Harlan! That’s nice to hear from someone who’s been going for so long. And it was awesome to meet you too! Let’s definitely chat more next year. :-)

  57. A Vanguard beach bag? That sounds like the ultimate PF blogger secret code to recognize each others at the beach haha, I love it!
    Can’t wait to meet you guys next year, it looks like a lot of fun!

    • Oh I’m definitely running up to anyone I ever see with that bag and saying hi! Hahaha. It was tons of fun — counting down the days to next year! :-)

  58. I am a non-blogger, and did not even know the FIRE community existed until AFTER I retired in 2014 (at 45). When I stopped working, I had time to explore and found everyone. It would have been so nice to have gotten involved earlier… I would have made fewer mistakes. I’m definitely interested in meeting like-minded PF geeks. My husband is still working (dream job), so it is definitely an early version of what our retirement will look like, but we do hike, camp, and travel as our first choice, so quieter meetings in nature are more our style.

    • It makes total sense that you wouldn’t have known about the FIRE community — we all think a lot about this stuff, but we’re still an infinitesimally small corner of the internet! ;-) And if you want to meet up with folks, it’s worth getting on the FinCon Facebook group — there are lots of local groups sprouting up. And after we pull the plug, we’re going to try to organize camping meet-ups that are cheaper than the international location Chautauquas!

  59. I wish I found out about this sooner. But I would love to be a part of this. I just started blogging and am still throwing darts at the dartboard so-to-speak but finances spark excitement for me. My husband finds it very boring so I think meeting with like-minded females would be great and camping meet-ups would be in my comfort zone.

    • You can go to FinCon17 if you are interested. It’s late October in Dallas. :-) And there are TONS of women who go. Also great to know you’d be into a camping outing — we hope to make some of those things happen after we quit later this year!