What I learned from FINCON12

For the past 3 days, I roamed the Grand Hyatt in Denver Colorado as a participant and speaker at the 2012 Financial Bloggers Conference.

To be honest, I was not sure what to expect but my friend and colleague Tom Drake assured me it would be worthwhile. I can tell you that the conference exceeded my expectations and I learned a lot of great things from a lot of terrific presenters. Here’s a quick synopsis of some of the things I took away from the conference and some of the things I am thinking about for Retire Happy:

Know the why and how and what becomes easier.

Adam Baker of Man vs Debt gave a heartfelt keynote reminding us to remember why we blog. For me, writing has always done two things for me. The first is selfish. I write because it forces me to learn and keep sharp. More importantly, writing also allows me to share my thoughts with others and hopefully make a difference in helping people to make better decisions with money.

Different people learn differently.

I was really impressed with Laura Adams who has a very popular financial podcast called Money Girl. I was floored when she said her podcasts had been downloaded 45 million times. I want to explore this medium a little more. Would you like to see some of the Retire Happy posts come out in an audio version?

YouTube is the second largest search engine.

A large reason for the traffic coming to Retire Happy is the ranking of some of the posts on Google searches but I have not really done too much with YouTube. One of the better know bloggers Jeff Rose has embraced videos and talked about how he is having so much fun with videos. I would like to do a better job to harness videos. Would you like to see more videos on Retire Happy?

Visitors to a website will give you about 8 seconds before they move on.

Do you agree? Gregory Go and Ashley Jacobs of Wisebread shared this statistic along with many others in their State of the Financial Blogosphere address. They also suggested that the Small Screen is back and all websites need to make sure their sites are mobile-friendly. That’s now big on our priority list for Retire Happy.

We need more GOOD information on the web.

One of the biggest bloggers in the US Liz Weston talked about all the bad information on the web and the importance of making sure you use credible data, studies, and sources. I really appreciated her talk because the quality of information has always been a priority over quantity.

You can create a cult following on the web.

By far the most surprising talk came from the fast-rising superstar Mr. Money Moustache. I could not do what he does with his blog and I don’t agree with everything he says but he certainly has personality and conviction. I can now see why he has such a big following . . . he’s interesting and has a way of making you go hmmm!

It takes passion, commitment, and hard work

Probably my favorite part of the conference was listening to 5 of the biggest and best bloggers share their story of success in open and candid interview sessions. Ramit Sethi, Jim Wang, Flexo, JD Roth, and Will Chen were inspiring, honest and thought-provoking. How do you become successful like these blogging icons? You need brains, charisma, passion and a lot of hard work! It’s just a simple formula.


Like all conferences, the goal is to get a few light bulb moments and put them to work. I definitely got some ideas to improve Retire Happy and have added them to the to-do-list.

I’d like to thank Phil (PT Money) for putting on such a great conference and also including me as one of the speakers.

I’d also like to thank those that came out to my presentation Sunday morning even after the late-night partying from Saturday night. Hopefully, Phil will have me back next year to speak but won’t put me first thing in the morning after the big party evening.


  1. Tom Drake

    It was great hanging out with you in Denver Jim. I know we wanted to walk away with our top 3 priorities each, but my list looks more like a top 10! 😉

  2. Miranda

    I enjoyed meeting you, and I enjoyed your presentation. Hope to see you at FinCon13!

  3. The Dividend Ninja

    Jim, it was great to meet you at FinCon12! 🙂

    You forgot to mention one of the best speakers at FinCon12 – that was you! 🙂 IMO your presentation was one of the best.


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