Share Your Favorite FinCon Moments and Win $100!

Photo: PT Money

Editor's Note: The contest has ended. Congrats to Kay Lynn of Bucksome Boomer for winning this giveaway!

We just came back from the amazing Financial Blogger’s Conference hosted by Philip of PT Money. We had the pleasure of meeting over 270 bloggers, authors, and financial professionals. You can download our presentations and bonus action plans here:

Check out the Flickr photo pool and more coverage from other bloggers.

How to Win $100

Leave a comment below sharing your favorite memory or lesson learned from the conference before 11:59 pm on October 24th. A random winner will be announced on October 25th.

You can leave as many comments as you like, but only your first comment will be counted in the drawing.

My Favorite Memories

  • Meeting Tess Vigeland of Marketplace—one of my public radio heroes—and finding out that she thinks our chart of top personal finance bloggers is a really great list.
  • Giving Donna Freedman the biggest hug in the world for all the homemade jam she’s been sending me all these years. (That’s right Karen, you missed your hug!)
  • I felt pretty nifty picking up two Plutus Awards from Flexo—for Best Design Blog and Best Deals Blog—but was humbled when Budgets are Sexy walked by with his four trophies.
  • Partying it up with Yes, I’m Cheap—we love her and have dubbed her an honorary Wise Bread member.
  • Observing the clockwork precision of PT's crack team (Jessica, Justin, and more) at work. Everything was on time, reasonably priced, and convenient! Maybe he should stop wasting his time blogging and just run for president. (That's PT in the title photo loading up for the conference.)
  • Meeting the faces behind the Twitter accounts of MoneyCrashers and LifeTuner—two of our favorite Tweetchat buddies.
  • Confirming that Jeff Rose does indeed look and sound like The Rock. I knew it!
  • Getting dating advice from Jim and Stacy of Money Talk News. I think I'm their new pet project.
  • Overhearing Linsey and Lynn chat about cute guys. I coughed several times but they didn’t bring up my name. They were probably using a code word to refer to me, so i don't get embarrassed.
  • 20 and Engaged started this ugly rumor that I did my presentation without my pants on. This is only partially true.

My airline screwed up my flight so I didn't get any sleep the night before the conference. I'm still recovering from everything so I apologize if this list is not as complete as I'd like it to be.

Coverage of FinCon11 from other bloggers

If you wrote a roundup please share them in the comments and I’ll post them up here!

Thanks to Peter of Bible Money Matters (pictured top left) for sharing these photos with us. Check out his photoset or the entire Fincon11 Flickr pool. If you have set of photos not included in the Flickr pool, please let me know and I'll link to them here.

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Flexo's picture

Will, I have a summary from my perspective here:

Also, I have so many favorite moments from this past weekend it's hard to say. Maybe chatting about cat blogs. Perhaps most surprising overall was the fact that this was the tightest conference I've attended with the best, most relevant content.

Will Chen's picture


See you at the Dr. Who Convention 2012.

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

"...this was the tightest conference I've attended with the best, most relevant content."


The intimacy of the conference was awesome. Also, huge props to PT's team. Jessica, Justin, et al made it all happen.

Meg Favreau's picture

Ahem. Dr. Who convention, Will? When? Where?

Guest's picture

Biggest takeaway? Be yourself and tell your story. And make the story BIG!

Loved the WiseBread sessions too.

Will Chen's picture

Thank you Glen! You're right. The individual stories of why people started blogging were definitely the best part of the conference.

Guest's picture

A few of my favorite fincon moments:

Getting to meet Kylie Ofiu at the Love Drop volunteer event. It took me a good bit to understand what she was saying with her accent, plus I didn't expect her to be that tall.

Finding out the driver to the hotel shuttle scored us gals restaurant reservations Saturday night, through his (previous) mob connections. -No joke

Meeting Jake from Debt Sucks Blog and finding out we are both normally introverted, unsocial people, and finding a sharpie to mark our name badges with the word INTROVERT. I got so many funny comments about it.

Seeing the words "Pat Flynn is now following you" on Twitter after I (obsessively) live tweeted his session with pictures. I wonder if he thinks I'm a super fan girl stalker?! Oh wells...

Will Chen's picture

Lynn is a huge fan of Pat's as well. Maybe a fan club lunch for 2012?

Lynn Truong's picture

My fav memory was handing Pat Flynn the mic when he had a question for the panel.

Guest's picture

I already own fan girl status for Pat Flynn. I hijacked the "Ask the expert" session and stalked him to give a business card. Now I got a Twitter follow back! I will frame that e-mail. And honestly, one of my best FINCON11 memories is reaching higher with the entire room after Pat had already told us to reach as high as we could.

And of course I am also a fangirl of Wisebread, and If I could bottle up the Wisebread goodness and give it out in small doses I would. You guys provide excellent value for nothing! Not that I'm saying you should charge or anything.

Guest's picture

Here is my recap of #fincon11:

There were so many favorite moments and things I learned, I can't even begin to list them all. Most of all I'm just thankful for this experience.

Hope to get to meet you next year in person Will!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen


I really hope PT and his staff reads this. After all the hard work his team put into the conference, I'm sure they would be extremely touched by the idea that they helped save your blog. =)

Guest's picture

I loved the sessions, but I especially enjoyed meeting everyone. My husband once told me, while I talked about other PF bloggers like they were people that he should know, "You realize they're not 'real' don't you?" Now, I have incontrovertible proof that they are real. Plus, I got to shake J.D. Roth's hand, and I stayed up until 4 a.m. chatting it up with some truly awesome people.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

You shook JD's hand, but do you have one of his special edition cards with his cat on the back? You have to collect them all!

The long chats are definitely the best parts. I don't know how you guys were able to party it up, talk until 4, and still wake up for sessions. Gosh I feel old.

Fiscally Chic's picture

I just finished writing my recap:

Hmmm, where to start? I think the biggest takeaways are remembering to keep your readers first, tell a story, engage your audience, and be EPIC! Even in one day since the conference I've been trying to figure out ways to make my blog more epic. How can I make it better for my readers?

Thanks again to PT Money and the entire FINCON11 team! I can't wait to hear about next year's conference!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Added! Love your swag coverage. Wish I had won some chocolate covered cookie sandwiches from Australia. So jealous.

Guest's picture

I don't have a favourite moment, but I will say that all three of you had excellent presentations.

As for Lynn - since you (sort of) asked for advice about babies... :)

Best advice I ever received was to just ignore any advice you get (except this one of course). It's all misinformation, old wives' tales etc - just ignore everything you hear and do the best you can do and everything will turn out fine.

Lynn Truong's picture

Thanks Mike. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Or I'll just ignore it. =)

Ben Edwards's picture

This will sound a bit cheesy but my favorite moment was probably when I first walked through the front doors of the Marriott Friday morning and saw J. Money, JD, Phil, Glen, Tom, Kyle, Will (you) and a bunch of others just hanging out in the lobby.

I knew right away it was going to be an awesome weekend and that I likely wouldn't sleep much. My wife is still giving me a hard time about it, I was going non-stop and only called her 2 times, oops.

It was great meeting you and the Wisebread team, too bad Meg and Ashley weren't there as well.

I got some good stuff from your presentation, I love the tips on templates and the "reverse pitch" - no wonder you're the chief marketing officer for WB :)

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

"My wife is still giving me a hard time about it, I was going non-stop and only called her 2 times, oops."

Dear Mrs. Edwards, there was actually a ton of downtime. I don't know what he's talking about.

OK, in all seriousness the conference was indeed a whirlwind. We had the perfect size of attendees--you can actually get to meet almost everyone. It was very tempting to not sleep at all.

Thank you for your kind words. We loved your tips as well.

Enemy of Debt's picture

Where do I begin? Seriously, this is one of the best things I have ever done -- not counting having my kids and meeting my wife of course. ;)

From the very beginning I got to hear Jackie Walters have the guts to ask what everyone else was thinking when she called out the guy from AceCash. That was priceless.

I freaking loved the comment from Will about blogging in his underwear, and if it wouldn't give your readers nightmares I would admit to it too. LOL

Ramit knocked it out of the park with his presentation and I just loved hearing him speak. Could have sat there all day long, and admittedly sort of stalked him at the after party just to introduce myself.

I partied with my bank (Perkstreet Financial), had breakfast with fellow contributors from Perkstreet, hung out with my most favorite people from Team EOD, wore an I HATE DEBT shirt, and didn't go to bed before 5am on Friday or Saturday. EPIC is the only word that adequately describes fincon11!

Let me also add that I actually got to meet Lynn, whom I love btw, and with that said I should be a shoe-in for the $100 right? LOL

I LOVED every single moment especially the empty AceCash table after the first panel ended. Getting to meet everyone was unbelievable and I cannot wait until fincon12. I didn't write a fincon summary because I wanted to get to work on implementing everything I learned. Main takeaway was focus on my readers more than anything else! DONE! :)

I learned so much!

Lynn Truong's picture

Don't worry, Brad. I got you. *wink wink*

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen


Jeff Rose's picture
Jeff Rose

Wow, there were so many moments.

First, I am so proud of Phil for throwing a kick a$$ party and getting all the cool kids to show up. The event surpassed every expectation I had after Ramit's speech on Saturday and everything else was pure icing on the cake.

Baker rocked his first presentation and I loved seeing his contagious passion in person. Pat Flynn might have been the last to be picked for kick ball but we definitely saved the best for last letting him close the show.

And Will, I'm sorry but you are a little confused. The Rock looks and sounds like Jeff Rose. Get it straight or I might have to put the smack down ;-)

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Good point. While both of you are capable of crushing coconuts in the palm of your hand, only one of you is a certified financial planner.

Guest's picture

My favorite funny moment was when Lynn cracked the joke about her baby. Best joke of the weekend. Like Ben, I enjoyed the surreal-ness of seeing all of my online friends in one place. John Barleycorn at midnight wasn't bad either. A huge thanks to the Wise Bread crew for representing so well.

Lynn Truong's picture

Best joke of the weekend? Wow! I am flattered! I was trying to top Will. Everyone kept saying how "hilarious" he was. Pffft.

Guest's picture

There were so many fun moments it's hard to pick just one. I know for me the best part of the conference was just meeting everyone that I've chatted with, linked to, looked up to and become friends with online - in a real life setting. I had a feeling that this was going to be a great group of people and I wasn't let down.

Some of my favorite moments include late night chats with other bloggers including JD Roth, Matt Jabs, Jeff and Mandy Rose, Kevin Mulligan, Ben Edwards, Jeremy Vohwinkle, Ryan Guina, Glen Craig, Miranda Marquit, Donna Freedman, Tim Fraticelli, Bob Lotich, Khaleef Crumbley, Jason Price, Joe Taxpayer, Pat Flynn and about a thousand others..

So yeah, for me the highlight was meeting everyone and forging some new friendships.

My favorite session moment - when Lynn said, "yes, I am pregnant - not fat. And no the baby isn't Will or Greg's".

Can't wait til next year!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Peter wins the award for "Best use of Swag":

Thanks for giving me permission to showcase your photos. They're great!

Guest's picture

Hah.. I love that i win best use of swag by my wife using the giant foam finger to smack the dog!

Guest's picture

My favorite part of the conference was simply meeting and getting to know all the personal finance bloggers I've "known" for anywhere from six years to a few months -- as well as meeting new ones I've never heard of. It was like a good class reunion where none of us had actually ever gone to class.

The people from Wise Bread were AMAZING. I've always liked their blog and knew they were cool from having been associated with them "back in the day", but to meet them and find out just how cool they were was a special highlight for me.

And I found out something "secret" about each of them:

*Greg is a card shark.

*Will is a top Digg contributor.

*Lynn is very funny (I too enjoyed the crack about her child's father not being Will or Greg.)

Overall, it was a great, great time.

And in addition to the fun, I took about 20 pages of notes. I estimate the conference will help me earn an extra $10k to $20k this next year. Not bad, huh?

Can't wait to see everyone again next year!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

"conference will help me earn an extra $10k to $20k this next year"

PT should put that in his brochure for next year's conference.

FMF is the chillest guy in the world. In a conference filled with unbridled excitement and non-stop networking, you were an oasis of calm. =)

Guest's picture
Kay Lynn

Will, thanks so much for mentioning me. I enjoyed meeting the faces behind Wise Bread. You are all three fun and gave great presentations!

One of my favorite moments was having Adam Baker tell me he thinks I'm on the edge of something big. I needed that affirmation!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

You have great content and a wonderful brand/design for your blog. The recent GRS guest post might just be your tipping point!

It was great meeting you finally. You've always been so generous with your insights and recommendations for the Top 100 (now Wise 1000). We really appreciate your contribution.

Guest's picture

Participating in Friday's Love Drop!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

My favorite Adaptu moment was walking by the booth 3 times, each time stopping to compliment you guys on the great t-shirt design, and then forgetting to actually pick up a t-shirt.

It was nice to meet you in person!

Guest's picture

My favorite part was blowing off the after-after party in favor of a Yakezie pizza party and getting kicked out of the lobby for it.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

My favorite hotel moment:

Me: "My room key card doesn't work anymore, can you give me a new one?"

Staff: "Oh yeah no problem. It's a known issue. Apparently if you keep the card next to the phone it frequently scrambles the card rendering it useless."

Me: "I see. Good thing people don't usually put their key cards and phones together in their pockets."

Staff: "Yes. No. Wait. What?"

Me: "Ummmm... nevermind. Thank you."

Donna Freedman's picture

My favorite part was...all of it. But here are some highlights:
1. That until-4-a.m.-chat that Miranda mentioned. Proud to say that I was one of the last men standing (well, sitting) at 4 in the morning even though I am at least 20 years older than the rest of you ducklings. Remember: Youth and vigor will always be overcome by age and treachery.
2. Meeting Will and being able to apologize in advance for this year's jam gift package -- I've been traveling almost nonstop and thus unable to glean much fruit. Two flavors only this year, instead of three or four or five. Life goes on. (And thanks for the template idea -- I made three of them last night.)
3. A long dinner chat with the lovely and talented Gregory Po, during which he made me feel better about my lack of SEO dexterity. He told me that a strong voice makes for a unique brand, and that if I spoke at a few more conferences I would develop a bigger following.
4. The fact that I was able to hear Gregory use the word "brand" without flinching. A couple of years ago I thought it sounded silly to refer to one's brand. Now I've accepted it, even though it makes me think of cattle ranching ("the Old Lazy D").
5. Meeting so many people whom I've read. I thought all of you would be taller. I also had this mental picture of Gia from The Digerati Life as a 30-something blond. (Note: She isn't.)
6. Being able to hector folks about comma splicing and starting blog posts with dictionary definitions. Don't do that, please.
7. Having Dr. Dean refer to that speech as "like pouring alcohol on a cut -- a little pain for a lot of gain." Next time I'll try to be the speechifying equivalent of Bactine.
8. The Plutus Award that I won. They like me! They really like me! Even though I called them splicers of commas!
9. Hanging out with J. Money again. He and my daughter and I were drinking at the BlogHer 2011 party. (I was the one wearing earplugs and sipping Diet Coke.)
10. Taking a phone call in the middle of the conference and having it be one of the pastors of my church, who wants me to give a sermon with him about immigration. I'm going to give you a moment to develop that mental picture: Trashmouth in the pulpit.
Least favorite part: Getting mugged in downtown Seattle on the way to the airport, and having to cancel cards/freeze accounts on the fly, as it were. But I can't tell you how many people came up to me and said, "I heard what happened to you. I'm so sorry! Do you need any cash?" Their kindness to a total stranger was greatly appreciated. And damn, I should have said "yes." ;-)

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

"I can't tell you how many people came up to me and said, 'I heard what happened to you. I'm so sorry! Do you need any cash?'"

Are you sure those weren't the Payday loans people? :p
I had so much fun hanging out with you Donna. You were just a whirlwind of awesomeness. It is amazing that you didn't let the mugging ruin your weekend. I'm always awed by your resiliency and positive energy.

Guest's picture

I had so much fun just being around so many like minded bloggers. I got to meet so many wonderful bloggers including Ramit who autographed his book for me! I also thought Lynn was funny when she said she was pregnant and it wasn't just a big gut that she had LOL!!! PT did an amazing job and I'm looking forward to next year.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

I didn't get Ramit's autograph but his wonderful staff did hook me up with a couple of sweet notebooks. Good luck with your CPA exams and see you in Fincon2012!

Guest's picture

I loved all the sessions I attended, loved the vibe of FINCON11 but most of all, enjoyed meeting everyone. Will, it was a treat to see you on stage with lots of energy - your presentation was very witty and engaging. Then I got to meet you in person just after which was lovely! It was absolutely fabulous to meet Farnoosh, Kelly Whalen and Amanda Steinberg in person and many, many thanks to PTMoney and team for putting this together so well! Ciao and be well!

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Thank you for your kind words! It was lovely meeting you as well. I think while the two of us were talking PT's team was looking frantically for me because I still had the microphone on and they needed it for the next session. ha ha good times.

Guest's picture
Lazy Man

I was talking to Ryan at Cash Money Life and he shared that he uses Scrivener as a writing tool. It's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux (the Windows and Linux is new), and it seems awesome.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Ryan is a gold mine of information. He gave us a 5 minute preview of his presentation during lunch and I picked up lots of great ideas from him.

Guest's picture

Ryan is definitely one of the smartest guys that I met at the conference - gave me some ideas of things to try - one of them being Scrivener for writing ebooks..

Ryan Guina's picture

Aww, you guys are too nice. Scrivener is a wicked good tool for writing ebooks and other large projects. I think I was their biggest advocate at the conference and recommended it to about 20 people.

Guest's picture

Favorite moments:
* Meeting all the people whom I've read, and seeing them in real life. Specifically: Seeing J. Money's mohawk. Seeing Adam Baker in person, after seeing his homepage pic with Milli for so long. Meeting Kevin from Thousandaire. Meeting the legendary JD Roth -- yeah, I was a little star-struck. Discovering Ramit is taller than I thought he would be. Discovering (as Donna said) that Gia from the Digerati Life isn't blond (I also thought she would be). Seeing JoeTaxpayer's startling resemblance to SuperMario. Discovering that Donna is hilarious in person. And how could I ever -- EVER -- forget Lynn's joke? Best joke of the weekend.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Ha ha why do you guys think Gia is blonde? Her avatar has black hair. :p

Thank you so much for helping me out with my session by asking me a question beforehand. I included a slide in my presentation thanking everyone who contributed and you were right on the top.

Guest's picture

Jeff Rose looks and sounds like The Rock? OMG! But seriously, folks, see you all next year. I am so looking forward to it. And I want to get my hug from Will.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

No worries Karen. I'd pick Vegas over me as well.

Guest's picture

My lesson learned was to tell stories. In real life I am a story teller, but had slowly fallen away from it online into more dry dronings on. No more. I've rekindled the storytelling fire.

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

I really enjoyed reading the "Open Mic" feature on your blog. Your readers have such wonderful stories!

Guest's picture

I think Ramit's video was the most hilarious moment of the conference. I will forever watch this when I need a good laugh!

The conference was great. As a relatively unknown blogger, it was great to meet and learn from so many of the great PF Bloggers.

Debt Sucks's picture

I don't know if it's really my favorite memory, but perhaps the most bizarre:

Walking in to the hotel lobby damn near a zombie from lack of sleep on the train, picking up my badge and swag, overloaded with my heavy ass bags, still wearing my grubby-ass hoodie that must be at least 10 years old by now and probably shouldn't see the light of day, and being asked for an interview. Uhh... whut?

Bargain Babe's picture

My favorite moment was when Will admitted he blogs in his underwear. A great ice breaker and so true! I'm working in my husband's "sleeping pants" today. Wouldn't trade that perk for IRL colleagues any day. And now that I met so many of the bloggers I've been emailing and Tweeting with for years at FinCon11, I actually know what my colleagues look like!

Guest's picture

My favorite moments were when people described their blogging situations on how casual they are and can freely express themselves online. I love reading blogs that really captivate the authors personality and that is what I try to do in mine as well.

Ryan Guina's picture

The entire week was amazing! My favorite memory was a combination of meeting everyone I have known and worked with for the last few years, but hadn't met in person. So I don't think there was a single moment above everything (even though helping Phil's Friends was a very cool part of the conference).

My favorite takeaways were the ones which showed me I'm not doing enough outside of the traditional writing - I need to do more with FaceBook, Twitter, e-mail marketing, and other forms of media/engagement. It's a process, but a necessary one for today's audience.

Guest's picture

My favorite memory was at the end of Pat Flynn's presentation when we all put our hands up and he told us to reach higher. I thought that was really clever, yet not too tacky, and it was a great message.

I also enjoyed the "Extreme Frugality" video from Ramit. I had never seen it before, and I thought it was hilarious!

Linsey Knerl's picture

My favorite memory was getting the gang from Wise Bread back together again -- that and seeing that J.D. has a lot of hair. I don't know why I always assumed that he didn't (maybe the hats in all the photos?) Len Penzo also gave me a much-needed pep talk before my session that helped me get through (it was much appreciated.)

Oh, and Lynn and I talking about "cute guys?" You know we've grown up when we don't call them "boys" anymore ;)

I have a video recap, if you'd like to share:

Guest's picture

I loved, LOVED your speech, Will! I was cracking up.

I didn't get to meet half the people I wanted to meet -- next year, for sure!

My favorite memory has to be (in addition to meeting all my blogging buddies) was when Krystal (Give Me Back My Five Bucks) and Cathy (Fiscally Chic) and I were sitting in the main conference room and they started streaming live tweets on the screen. We wanted to get up there so badly, so Krystal sent out a tweet about us and it was the next one up on the screen. We all fist pumped and screamed excitedly. We received a few weird looks, but that's okay. :) Can't wait for next year!!

Guest's picture

My favorite moment was chatting with you and Lynn of course :) it was great to meet you and was very cool to get a little behind-the-scenes info about WiseBread.

Guest's picture

A bit late, but here is my conference recap (I put it on my blogging blog):