The Financial Force Was with Money Fit

On one hand, FinCon is what it says it is: a Financial Conference. On the other hand, though, FinCon is so much more than a financial conference. Each year for the past dozen years or so, FinCon brings together content creators in the personal finance space, from podcasters to bloggers, from YouTubers to Freelancers, from Authors to Speakers.

Yes, you can learn about personal finance at FinCon, but it mainly targets new and traditional media creators on personal finance platforms.

Plus, FinCon offers one of the best vendor halls I’ve ever experienced, not because of its size but because of the energy you can feel as you walk into and through “FinCon Central.” And that’s where I spent last week, standing at a magenta kiosk connecting with conference goers and other vendors at the World Center Marriott conference center in Orlando, Florida.

What I Did at FinCon22

As the only representative of Money Fit at FinCon Central, I definitely stayed busy. FinCon Central opened up three days in a row for 3-6 hours, although it was pretty common for the conference staff to come through about an hour after the hall’s closing to gently remind both vendors and conference goers alike that FinCon Central was closed and that we were to leave the hall.

Even before the end of the first day, the Money Fit kiosk had become very popular. Because of the conference’s proximity to Disney World and its relatively new “Galaxy’s Edge” area of Hollywood Studios Park, we decided to go with the local theme of Star Wars. Consequently, I quickly became known as the Light Saber guy. Yes, we gave out pink light sabers.

While t-shirts are always popular at FinCon events, I knew we would need to up our game. First, we designed a bring pink (magenta) t-shirt in a Star Wars-esque font to read, “STAY MONEY FIT.” Then, we ordered about 100 light sabers with our kiosk theme on them: Defeat the Dark Side of Debt.

Finally, I put together our own version of the Jedi Code, called it “The Code of the Anti-debt Jedi Order,” and printed it in yellow font against a starry background. I even got approval from my Star War-crazy 15-year-old son who was actually impressed I knew about the Code at all.

Our version read as follows:

WELCOME TO THE ANTI-DEBT JEDI ORDER

MASSIVE CREDIT CARD DEBT PERVADES THE UNIVERSE. NONPROFIT CREDIT COUNSELING AGENCY, MONEY FIT BY DRS, HAS WON BATTLE AFTER BATTLE FOR CONSUMERS EVERYWHERE AND NOW CALLS UPON THE REBELS OF FINCON TO STRIKE AGAINST DEBT BY STANDING WITH MONEY FIT.

YOU WILL LIVE BY THE CODE OF THE ANTI-DEBT JEDI:

THERE IS NO IGNORANCE, THERE IS KNOWLEDGE.
THERE IS NO OVERSPENDING, THERE IS BUDGETING.
THERE IS NO SUBPRIME, THERE IS CREDIT BUILDING.
THERE IS NO DEBT, THERE IS THE FORCE.

It was all a great hit with all the content creators and even most of the vendors at the conference. I was asked to pose in more than one selfie with attendees documenting their experience on their blogs, Instagram accounts, and other social media posts.

Whom I Met at FinCon 22

I met hundreds of amazing content creators in the personal finance industry, from energetic first-timers who had just recorded their first podcast to passionate long-timers who have tens of thousands and even millions of followers on their social media accounts.

I also had many conversations with fellow vendors to learn about trends in the industry, including the fintech arena and the traditional banking and investment sectors.

I really enjoyed finally meeting in person three guests from the Money Fit Show Podcast: Jack Allweil, Tanya Taylor (episode recorded and publishing late 2022 or early 2023), and Rachel Murphy, who just happened to be located directly across the aisle from me while she sat at the FinCon Bookstore where she was selling her great parenting book, I Am Not Your ATM.

What I Learned at FinCon22

Although I spent the vast majority of my time in FinCon Central while in Orlando, I was able to attend a breakout session, a couple of “big idea” main stage sessions, and the Plutus Foundation’s awards show. Combined with my conversations with other content creators, here are my big takeaways from FinCon2022:

  • Instagram is where it’s at among these content creators. Several times each day, a content creator would ask if they could connect with me and with Money Fit, then would immediately ask me for my Instagram handle.

  • TikTok continues to grow in popularity even for personal finance channels. I met several influencers whose websites would barely register a domain authority number but whose followers and subscriber bases number in the hundreds of thousands and even the millions.

  • Many of the Plutus Award finalists and winners this year included content creators who used only video or photo-based platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.

What Excites Me Most from My Experience at FinCon22

Asking me to list what I’m most excited about coming out of the FinCon22 event is like asking me which of my four children is my favorite. It’s not just unfair, but it’s an impossible question to answer. I found numerous vendors and content creators whose products and services seem so worthy of describing if I had more time and you had four hours to read an epic post.

Although I will include several items, I could easily spend another four hours writing about other products and services I learned more about in Orlando.

FinCon is all about content creators. Everyone there is a content creator extraordinaire or aspires to be so. Here are a few I met and can’t wait to partner with in the future on some mind-blowing project or program:

  • Justin Taylor of the FI Show Podcast: Currently approaching 200 episodes, this podcast has an amazing 200+ 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts. The show addresses a variety of topics not always found in traditional or even social media (e.g., changes in the tipped industries) and hosts well-known and not-so-well-known guests that share stories of persistence, grit, and inspiration around financial and life topics.

  • Tom Drake of MapleMoney, is a fantastic blog, and podcast. Like virtually all content creators at FinCon, Tom was down-to-earth, unassuming, and enjoyable to talk to.

Among the vendors, I was excited to learn more about the following:

  • AFCPE: How lucky could I be to have a kiosk right next to the AFCPE’s kiosk? Of course, I’m a big fan, since I hold my AFC certification through the AFCPE and even served a three-year term on the AFCPE Board of Directors in the mid-2010s.

  • Qube Money: Since nearly the time I started as a financial educator back in 2004, I have dreamed of a program that would not only track my spending but also force me to categorize each purchase based on a pre-set budget. The envelope system forces the purchase categorization, but it also requires you to use paper envelopes and carry a lot of cash. Qube provides a debit card that forces you to categorize each purchase but, even cooler, allows you to set limits in your categories and even for subscription services and monthly bills. Worried about your streaming music service double charging you? Not anymore. Your Qube card will simply deny any transaction above the set amount if you want to activate that setting.

  • PodFest: What FinCon is for general content creators, PodFest is for podcasters. With more than 2,000 podcasters in attendance, this sounds like a great opportunity to connect with potential guests, potential hosts, and potential services to kick The Money Fit Show to the next level.

Where Will FinCon23 Be Held?

FinCon23 will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana October 18-21, 2023. I’m definitely not going to complain. September in the South tends to be a bit too sweltering for my tastes, keeping me indoors pretty much the whole time. #FinCon23

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