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Publisher – Philip Taylor Editor – Jessica Bufkin FinCon Connection is the official magazine of FinCon. PT Money Conferences LLC 8992 Preston Road, Suite 110-214 Frisco, TX 75034






Contributing Writers - Barbara O’Neill, Bill Dwight, Blaine Lyerla, Brian Mikes, Carla LaFleur, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Mike Delgado, Rachel Hernandez, Stefanie O’Connell, Victoria Araj, and Zina Kumok Magazine Design – Libby Gifford (

Articles in the FinCon Connection magazine are the opinions of the individual authors and may not be the opinion of the magazine or its owners. Interested in advertising? Email for pricing. Copyright 2015 PT Money Conferences LLC and individual authors.


Whether you’re a blogger, author, or financial educator, our basic raison d’être is to improve people’s lives by motivating them to practice positive financial behaviors such as saving money and reducing debt. In my three decades of teaching personal finance, I’ve found stories to be the single most powerful educational and motivational tool.

Never tell others to do something you would not do yourself. Reality test your recommendations first: to appreciate how hard behavior change really is and to have a success story to tell. Don’t be afraid to describe your failures, either. They make story-tellers human and more relatable.

Facts and statistics alone generally don’t change behavior. In fact, they can actually be obstacles to behavior change. Numbers are numbing and people tune out. If you have information you want people to remember and act upon, put it in a story. Think of it this way: Nobody ever marched on Washington because of information contained in a pie chart. They take action due to deep emotional connections to people, events, or issues.

Structure your story carefully. Don’t give away the ending too soon. Describe Point A and Point B and all the obstacles in between. Just reaching a goal is not that interesting. People want to know how others overcame the same barriers they have (lack of time, money, etc.) so they feel empowered to change.

To tell powerful personal finance stories, consider these strategies: Collect motivational anecdotes to illustrate key points. For example, if you’re writing about the 52-Week Money Challenge as a strategy for saving money, do the Challenge yourself and provide updates about your savings progress.

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Replace journalistic storytelling with narrative storytelling. In journalistic style, writers put facts first (who, what, etc.) because readers have limited time and publications have little space. In narrative style, you begin with a motivational story and hook people in with an emotional response. Make positive financial behavior changes seem “normal” with peer comparisons.

Powerful cue words include “you” (for personalization) and “free.” Make people feel that they can be successful. Recently, several high profile personal finance researchers have shared powerful stories about their personal retirement planning money mistakes as a cautionary tale for younger generations. • Alicia Munnell, Director of Boston College Center for Retirement Research, cashed out of a defined benefit pension, a 401(k), and the federal government Thrift Savings Plan with its razor thin expense ratio. She also kept a large cash asset allocation and only started serious retirement planning in her 50s. • Annamaria Lusardi, an internationally known financial literacy scholar at the George Washington School of Business, got a late start saving for financial goals because she lacked plans with specific targets and delayed using tax-deferred retirement savings plans.

• Then there’s my story. Always a saver and even studying for the CFP®, I too, lacked future focus. Instead of joining the Rutgers 403(b) plan at age 25, I waited until I was 34. I now have $1 million saved but could have $2 million. Nine years of forgone savings early in my career cost me $1 million (simple Rule of 72 calculation). Want to change financial behavior? Tell a powerful story!

Dr. Barbara O’Neill, CFP® holds the rank of Distin-

guished Professor at Rutgers University and is Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Specialist in Financial Resource Management. She has written over 1,700 consumer newspaper articles and over 150 articles for academic journals and conference proceedings. She served as President of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) in 2003 and has received over three dozen awards for program excellence and over $985,000 in funding to support her financial education programs and research.

OUR OUR BASIC BASIC RAISON RAISON D’ÊTRE D’ÊTRE IS IS TO TO improve improve people’s people’s lives lives BY BY MOTIVATING MOTIVATING THEM THEM TO TO PRACTICE PRACTICE positive positive financial financial behaviors behaviors SUCH SUCH AS AS saving saving money money AND AND REDUCING REDUCING DEBT. DEBT. I’VE I’VE FOUND FOUND stories TO TO BE BE THE THE SINGLE SINGLE


September 2015 I 5


You’re standing in the middle of Penn Station whispering, “Who wants to talk personal finance?” as a bajillion New Yorkers bustle by during rush hour. Conjures up a lonely, invisible feeling, doesn’t it? Welcome to Twitter. Unless you’re a personal finance rock star (I’m not), that’s how the Twitter experience feels 99% of the time. You’ve got an important, valuable message. Yet, nobody hears. Nobody cares. Your tweets might as well be inaudible whispers in Penn Station. How do you make the Twittersphere take notice? Enter the Twitter chat. At its best, it’s like a carefully orchestrated flash mob in Penn Station, a gathering

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amidst the hubbub that demands attention from passers­by. Yes, Twitter chats are a great way to corral some attention, expand your audience, and establish your authority. Experian’s weekly #CreditChat is a good example. The problem is: You aren’t Experian. Your brand is unknown. Your audience is small. Your support team is, well, you. Heck, you don’t even really have time to take on yet another social media ritual. What’s my solution? Here are my 8 favorite Twitter chat tips: 1. PARTNER UP. Why go it alone? Team up with a partner and co­host. Don’t take top billing; share the credit. With the two of you promoting, you’ll double your exposure right off the bat. Where can you find a good partner? Participate in some established chats. Look

for contributors adding real value to the conversation (like you, right?!). There’s your prospect list. 2. DITCH THE ROUTINE. Is a weekly schedule really necessary? It’s a ton of work, and, frankly, that same­time, same­hashtag, same­audience chat gets stale. Break up the rhythm. Rotate partners. Be opportunistic. Choose more compelling topics delivered less predictably. Make each one a can’t­miss event instead of an optional standing appointment. Create FOMO. 3. SET UP CAMP TOGETHER. Use a cloud­based project management tool to coordinate chat preparations with your partner in one place. I like Basecamp. Develop a template you can reuse with successive partners. 4. CO­BRAND YOUR LOOK. Design a consistent co­branded template for your promotional tweets and posts. An image size of 1120 by 584 pixels displays well across Facebook and Twitter. 5. MAINTAIN RADIO CONTACT. Use a tool like Skype or GotoMeeting to communicate with your partner during the chat. It’s hard for one person to catch everything amidst the chaos—tweets to amplify, ad hoc questions to answer, lulls to fill, and trolls to whack. Voice is the best way to coordinate all of those things.

6. MAKE YOUR QUESTIONS POP. Few things are more frustrating for active participants than picking through the tweet stream to locate the questions. Make them really pop with a co­branded visual. They’ll make your curated collection (see #8) look nice too. 7. ALTERNATE Q&A. While one partner preps and tweets the upcoming question at the planned time, the other partner amplifies the discussion on the previous question by retweeting and favoriting thoughtful responses, tossing in some pre­baked answers, and generally keeping things hopping. Switch roles for the next question. 8. COLLECT THE HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter collections (google “Tweetdeck pro tips”) are a great way to curate, share, and embed your chat highlights. Now go grab a partner and get yourself heard in the Twittersphere. P.S. I’m available. @FamZoo.

A father of 5, Bill Dwight blogs about family finance and teaching kids good money habits at Bill is the CEO and founder of, an online/mobile budgeting and banking service designed for parents and kids of all ages from preschool through college.

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It sometimes seems there’s a new announcement every week. No, not someone declaring his or her Presidential candidacy—the revelation of another major data breach. Recent headlines have chronicled an ever-expanding list of victims. In just one prominent example, last year’s Anthem Blue Cross breach was a risk analyst’s nightmare, compromising the personal and medical data of thousands of patients, including children. IT’S HARD NOT TO WORRY WHEN ONE DISCOVERS PERSONAL INFORMATION IS IN ANOTHER’S HANDS. “Data breach victim” is a label that almost everyone wears these days and breach victims come in all types, mindsets and ages. They have many questions, and few trusted places to seek answers.

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WHERE CAN THEY TURN? Many sources don’t have current or quality information: the “expert” friend; the company website that isn’t updated; news programs that provide some guidance, but not all of it practical. This presents a unique opportunity for bloggers, who have a more intimate and interactive relationship with their readers. Bloggers can communicate in ways that better reflect the regret, anger, fear, and frustration felt by readers—and help mitigate those reactions. Bloggers provide a voice of reason that readers seek out; they become touchstones of relevant information in turbulent times and unexpected situations— like the immediate aftermath of a data breach. When victims learn of their new status, a helpful word from you can put them on the fast track to normal.

WHAT SHOULD NEWLY-MINTED VICTIMS DO? • Contact a credit bureau and ask for a fraud alert to be added to their file (whichever bureau they contact will reach out to the other two). • Get copies of their credit reports to review. • Fill out an identity theft report on ftc. gov/complaint. • File a police report with local authorities, and start monitoring their credit accounts. That’s all there is to getting initial protections in place. WHEN YOU HAVE THE EARS (AND EYES) OF A DEDICATED READER BASE, THEY CAN LOOK TO YOU WITH A SPECIAL REGARD FOR YOUR OPINION. Being an authoritative voice gives you the power to share knowledge that will help your readers as they navigate what to do

after a data breach. Maybe you’ve been the victim? Sharing your story—be it good, bad, or ugly— and some salient links to helpful resources can throw a lifeline to readers when they may need it most. As data breaches continue to proliferate, there’s more opportunity for your blog to be a source of reassurance, guiding readers how best to take smart action and prepare for the road to recovery ahead.

As Managing Editor of Consumer Education at Experian, Blaine Lyerla writes about common credit questions and helps others build their financial know-how in order to live credit confident. A California native, Blaine studied Political Science and Public Relations at Chapman University, and holds a Masters degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. Join his conversation @blaine_harrison.


touchstones of relevant information IN TURBULENT TIMES AND

unexpected situations. September 2015 I 9


Are you a blogger, podcaster, or website owner struggling to get top dollar for your ad placements? If so, then listen up. I’ve got 5 simple things you can do to put more money in your pocket!

If your ad buyer’s demographics match yours, the ad space instantly becomes more valuable. Don’t know your demographics? You can get that info for free from Google Analytics or

I speak from experience. I’ve been buying and selling ad space in e-letters, on websites, blogs, and podcasts for over 7 years now. Buying and selling ads is now a multi-million dollar part of my business.

2. KNOW YOUR PERFORMANCE METRICS. When I’m looking to buy an ad spot, my next question is about performance.

So, whether you’re selling ad space in a podcast, selling a banner ad, text ads, dedicated emails, native ads, or any other type of ad spot, these tips are for you: 1. KNOW YOUR DEMOGRAPHICS.This is critical for anyone selling ad space. I know who buys my products. I know their demographic make-up. So when I run ads, I’m looking for other groups with a similar make-up. Makes sense right? 10 I FinCon Connection

Every ad unit has a different metric. For banners, I look at average click rates. For dedicated emails, I’m focused on open rates. For text ads, it’s click rates. This data shows your audience engagement. The better your results the more valuable your ad space. Anyone buying advertising will ask for these details. By having it at your fingertips, it shows you know what you’re doing. 3. UNDERSTAND YOUR ADVERTISER’S GOAL. It’s critical to know your ad buyer’s goals. Want to know what their goals are? Just ask them.

I’m always up front about needing newsletter signups. Some advertisers are looking for visibility, others are looking for social media engagement, still others are looking for sales.

I’ve charged super premium prices for new ad units with great performance; I’ve also used cut-price deals to get new ad buyers in the door.

Once you understand your advertiser’s goal, direct them to the ads you think will work the best.

5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO IT YOURSELF. List brokers and third party advertisers frequently approach many bloggers. I don’t have room to discuss the pros and cons of working with these groups.

4. KNOW YOUR COMPETITION’S PRICING. The biggest question I get asked is, “What should I charge for my ads?” It’s a great question. So let me ask you a question: What do your competitors charge? As an advertiser, I’m leery of ad prices out of a normal range. Cheap ad runs are often garbage, and expensive ads are a waste of money. So do a little snooping. Contact your competitors and ask for a media kit and rate card. On many websites you can simply download the information. Here’s a bonus tip: Pricing is 100% negotiable.

Let’s just say if you spend 10 minutes a day and send 10 simple emails, you’ll develop an amazing number of relationships on your own. Try it before handing 50% of your ad revenue to someone else.

Brian Mikes runs Hyperion Financial Group in

beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. You can reach him at The Hyperion team sends free financial e-letters to over 1 million subscribers. Brian’s always looking for people to partner with, so if you have an idea or question or want to buy or sell advertising, shoot him an email.




Just ask them. September 2015 I 11


With my English degree hot off the presses, I was pretty much willing to take any editing job that paid. Somehow I found myself— someone who could barely calculate the tip at restaurants—editing investment newsletters. Could I calculate a total return? Did I know the difference between a money market and “the” market? Had I ever invested a single dollar of my own money? Nope, nope, and nope. But as I read, fact-checked, and edited, I found myself fascinated by the interconnected world of news, the economy, and stocks—though as I was exposed to different investment strategies, I saw the toll that high commissions, stock picking and market timing could take. So why not use my writing skills to get the message out for a group whose financial 12 I FinCon Connection

philosophy lined up with mine: fee-only independent advisers? I peddled my skills to the unsuspecting people of Halpern Financial and found they had a variety of needs a writer could fulfill: COMPETING WITH THE ROBOS: As robo-advisors gain market share, the value of a traditional financial advisor is in the personal relationship. Still, advisors need to have an efficient communications plan. Templates for deliverables are critical, but the final message must be customized to each individual client’s situation. Writers can add that personal touch. CLIENT ACQUISITION/PUBLIC RELATIONS: Traditional advisors must also have consistent public-facing messaging and a unique value proposition to be competitive. A resident (or freelance) writer can help to create and execute a plan to get the firm message out there via website, blogging, and

social media efforts. CLIENT RETENTION: Newsletters and market updates show that the advisor is staying on top of market events and can increase client loyalty. An experienced writer can contextualize the news in and focus on takeaways for clients. Another way to improve client retention is to develop financial planning deliverables like retirement projections and college savings plans in a way that is consistent with a firm’s individual brand. RESEARCH: Considering a new fund family for your client portfolios? Or maybe you want to scope out a new prospect’s potential needs, or keep an eye on what the competition is doing. Writers are excellent at stalking—uh, I mean “researching.” TIME EFFICIENCY: Why agonize for hours over a blog post if you find it difficult to put your thoughts to paper? My strategy is to

interview, take notes, and then quickly write up copy when my colleagues receive press requests or have other writing tasks that would take them more time than it takes me. Allow the portfolio manager to manage the portfolio, the advisor to advise clients, and the writer to tell the firm’s story. When each person focuses on what they do best, the firm becomes more efficient on the back end, giving the capacity to bring on more clients or even partner with a new advisor.

Carla LaFleur is the Communications and PR Coordinator at Halpern Financial, a NAPFA-registered independent fee-only RIA based in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC (www. A lifelong equestrian, she spends her free time trail riding and volunteering with Pony Club.


what they do best


more clients.

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At PolicyGenius, we tell stories every day. When we guide a customer through our quoting engine, we tell a story. When we share expert tips on our blog, we share them through stories. And when we analyze customer data for insights, we shape the results into stories that help us see the bigger picture. Here are some of our tips to make your next story unforgettable.

watch you do research in real time.

KEEP IT SHORT. If you can’t tell it in 4 minutes or less, and you’re not the narrator of The Princess Bride, then you’re telling too much story. Find the narrative arc—the setup, the conflict, and the resolution—and jettison the rest.

NEVER ANTICIPATE A REACTION. If you have a story that’s particularly strong or that has killed in the past, you’ll be tempted to pause at the important parts and wait for a response. Don’t. Listeners can tell when you’re anticipating their reactions, and they’ll become self-conscious and freeze up.

DON’T GET HUNG UP ON DETAILS. A common storytelling stumble is the dreaded “forgotten detail”-the name you can’t quite recall, or the exact phrasing of some dialogue. If you come across gaps, ignore them and move on. Your audience is not there to 14 I FinCon Connection

TELL ONE STORY AT A TIME. We are not trapped in the movie Inception, but time will pass just as slowly if you start nesting stories within stories. If you ever hear yourself saying, “Oh, that reminds me,” stop talking. The only thing it should remind you of is that you are a bad storyteller.

MAKE SURE YOUR STORY HAS A GOOD ENDING. Unprepared storytellers sometimes start to tell a story without already knowing how

it ends, which can lead to resentment all around. Remember to follow the classic pattern--setup, conflict, and resolution--and let it guide you. MAINTAIN VELOCITY. Good storytelling is a sort of verbal bobsledding. That doesn’t mean it has to be told at a breakneck pace, but it should move briskly and have a lot of energy behind it, and maybe feel a bit reckless at certain points. STICK WITH COMEDY. In most areas of life, comedy is harder to pull off than drama. But when it comes to storytelling, you’ll find that people want to laugh and will try their damnedest to have a good time with you. DON’T KANYE YOUR STORY. Never make yourself the hero of the story. First of all, it’s probably untrue, and second of all, nobody likes to hear all about someone else’s happiness. Here are some endings that are proven winners:

• A comeuppance – You learn your lesson the hard way • A twist – Nobody expected this ending! • A lesson learned – You have a profound realization that will impress the listener A final note: If you’re speaking to a business audience, you can reframe both the comeuppance and the lesson learned as “customer insights,” and you will be praised for your innovative synergy of the quarterly monetization.

Jennifer Fitzgerald is the CEO and Co‐Founder of PolicyGenius, an independent digital insurance company for consumers. Previously, she was a junior partner at McKinsey & Company where she advised Fortune 100 financial services companies on marketing and strategy. Jennifer regularly shares her insights on personal finance and insurance tech and serves as an expert on the insurance and tech industries. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Florida State University.

. September 2015 I 15


FinCon is my favorite conference because it’s a time to hang out with friends, meet new ones, brainstorm with colleagues, and learn from awesome people.

or panelist if you could interview them briefly for a live video. Prepare a handful of questions ahead of time and invite questions from those watching live.

One way to share this awesome experience with those who can’t attend is by streaming live video via Periscope, Meerkat and/or Google+Hangouts on air. Here are some fun ways:

STREAM WHAT’S HAPPENING AT FINCON NETWORKING EVENTS Another reason to love FinCon is because of all the networking opportunities. Consider streaming what’s happening at meet-ups (e.g. FinCon Ignite, meals, drinks, events).

STREAM A LIVE VIDEO FROM A FAVORITE FINCON SESSION A great way to show what’s happening at FinCon is simply by streaming video from a panel discussion or session. To capture the best video and audio quality, consider sitting near the front.

TAKE VIEWERS THROUGH THE FINCON EXPO HALL Talk with companies exhibiting in the FinCon Expo Hall and stream from their booths. You can also stream what’s happening on the Solutions Center stage, Innovation Center stage, or Podcasting stage.



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session or panel, stream what’s happening as you get ready. Have fun documenting the experience for your followers as you grab coffee, walk down the conference halls, get into the session room, etc. HOST A LIVE Q&A VIDEO ON YOUR FAVORITE TOPIC Periscope and Meerkat are interactive video platforms—and a great place to ask your followers questions as well as answer questions. What topics do you specialize in? You could host an “Ask me and about [topic]” video. There are countless other opportunities for you to stream live video. Just make sure to respect those around you. Don’t stream video if someone asks you not to. HERE ARE SOME TECHNICAL TIPS: • CREATE A CATCHY HEADLINE. You know how important headlines are for blogs, the same is true for video streams. You can add emojis for extra flair. • SCHEDULE YOUR STREAM. If you’re on Meerkat or hangouts on air, you can schedule your event ahead of time to get extra viewers. • PREPARE YOUR THOUGHTS. It can be intimidating launching a live video, so plan out what you want to talk about.

your web streaming experience. • AUTO-SAVE THE MEERKAT OR PERISCOPE VIDEO. You can use an app like katch. me to auto-save your videos so others can replay them. Just understand the terms and conditions. • TALK WITH YOUR VIEWERS. Live video is not meant to be a passive experience for viewers. Engage with them by asking and answering questions. • KEEP YOUR PHONE CHARGED. Battery power can drain quickly with video streaming, so make sure to power up. • HAVE FUN. Have fun with your live video and don’t take yourself too seriously if mistakes happen. Just go with it. Lastly, you’re only at FinCon once a year, so don’t waste it stuck behind a screen. Spend more time socializing, not streaming.

Mike Delgado manages social media for

Experian, North America and hosts the weekly @ Experian_US #CreditChat on Twitter, YouTube, Meerkat and Periscope. He is also tweeting @ MikeDelgado.

• USE THE FREE CONFERENCE WI-FI TO AVOID USING DATA. It’s a good idea to use wi-fi to save on money on data and improve September 2015 I 17


As a blogger who is going on eight years, I’ve always wanted to write a book. When I finally did, I thought that was the end. But, it was just the beginning.

blog post and writing a book. With blogs, there’s really no end point. You write post after post. Each week the challenge becomes what to write about.

It took me years to write my first book. I’ll admit; I dragged my feet. The process was grueling and not enjoyable…at all. You see, I thought writing the book would be the ultimate dream. I’d sell a million copies. Make it big. You know the rest. Then reality set in.

With books, there’s closure. What I enjoy about writing books is the overall message you convey from beginning to end. Sure, you’ve got to fill the book with material. But when you do, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Writing more books forces you to become organized with your thoughts. With enough practice, eventually you become a better writer.

In order to improve as an author, I needed to write…a lot. And, that meant writing more books. So I took it upon myself to learn the craft of book writing. And, it’s changed my life. WRITING BOOKS MAKES YOU A BETTER WRITER. There’s a difference between writing a

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WRITING BOOKS MAKES YOU A FASTER WRITER. By writing more books, you’ll learn to speed up the writing process. Brainstorming and outlining will take days, not weeks. Writing rough drafts will take weeks, not months. The editing process shortens.

We’ve all heard it before: Most books get written in the last few months to the deadline. I’ll attest to this statement from experience. By committing to write more books, you’ll learn a systematic way of piecing material together resulting in faster results. WRITING BOOKS POSITIONS YOU AS AN AUTHORITY. Only a small percentage of people who say they want to write a book actually do. By taking the time to be an author, you’ll set yourself apart from the rest and position yourself as an authority. After I wrote my first book, my status rose from blogger to author. In the public eye, I had accomplished something others had not. And, it resulted in more respect and prestige. WRITING BOOKS OPENS UP MORE OPPORTUNITIES.

Many of my requests are accepted due to my book writing experience. As a result, getting my foot through the door is less of an effort on my part making opportunities plentiful. If you are a blogger, you may want to look into the possibility of writing books. With all the positives book writing can bring, you’ll grow as a writer. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but you’ll also learn along the way. Believe me when I say, writing books can change your life. It certainly did for me.

Rachel Hernandez is the author of Adventures in Mobile Homes: How I Got Started in Mobile Home Investing and How You Can Too! and the Real Estate Investing Sucks series of books. Find her at:

As an author, I find it easier to pitch editors for potential guest articles and blog posts.

learn the craft OF BOOK WRITING. And, it’s changed my life.


September 2015 I 19


I attended my first FinCon last year, riding the momentum of a surging freelance workload and a Plutus nomination for best freelance contributor. At $1k-$2k per month though, I was barely making enough to cover my basic living expenses. Inspired by a weekend in the presence of personal finance “blog-lebrities,” I decided it was time to step up my game. I took a long, hard look at my freelance roster before making the big move asking for more money—a lot more money. I had been averaging around $30 for a 500-word post, with the occasional $50 or $100 project popping up here and there. I decided to recalibrate and use the $100 mark as my new minimum. It was scary. Asking for triple what I’d been charging? Surely I’d lose all my 20 I FinCon Connection

clients and wind up with a whole lot of nothing. But a funny thing happened as I started to price myself out of my old clientele: New, higher paying clients rushed in to fill the void. Suddenly $100 didn’t seem like such a big ask. In fact, $100 quickly became too low, even for my minimum. In January, I secured a client that shifted my price perspective entirely. They offered me $2,000 per post. Granted, the posts were epic and incredibly research heavy, but the offer still blew my mind. I had been operating in the freelance world for so long without any context for understanding the true earning potential. With this new client, I learned that I could not only survive as a freelance writer, but thrive—if I challenged myself to find the right clients.

So I started targeting bigger prospects, with bigger budgets and bigger asks. Just as the momentum was beginning build, I hit a major setback. My main client cut costs, bringing all writing in house, including my projects. Determined not to fall backwards into the $2,000 void, I doubled my efforts— sending out pitches and securing new clients to more than make up for the loss. By July, I had my first-ever five-figure income month and a new average ask of $0.50 to $1.00 per word. Even with the temporary set back of losing my big, perspective-shifting client, my freelance income in 2015 has averaged out to around $5,000 per month, a formidable increase from what it was at FinCon 2014 and a significant step toward

my six-figure dream. So what’s the secret? Nothing I haven’t already revealed, a simple shift in perspective and confidence mostly. Target bigger clients, ask for what you want and know that it’s out there and available to you if you’re willing to charge forward until you find the right fit.

Stefanie O’Connell is a millennial finance

writer, author, and founder of Her work has been featured on Forbes, USA Today, The Huffington Post, Yahoo! Finance, and Business Insider. Stefanie has also appeared on various podcasts, radio shows and television programs including “Good Day Street Talk” and The Dr. Oz Show.”


not only survive AS A FREELANCE WRITER

but thrive


find the right clients. September 2015 I 21


How many times in life have you been asked what you do for a living? How many times have you answered, “I’m a writer,”“I’m a blogger,”“I’m a freelancer,” or “I’m an author?” Nothing about these roles is simple, yet what most people associate with them are words. They think you simply write words. They don’t see the reality of 2 a.m. brilliance sessions, pouring over your laptop with a cup of coffee trying to hit deadline and cropping images in Canva so your story doesn’t have a creepy stock photo of an overjoyed worker on a plain white backdrop. In fact, those with no clue about what you really do might even romanticize it, conjuring images of you earning a living while sketching notes on a sailboat or some other inspiring place where thoughts just free flow. That’s about as realistic as penning your

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latest work with a feather quill by candlelight. Content creators are more than words, and it’s time to acknowledge the many hats we wear to fuel success. Whether you manage your own site, or write for others, there are several steps in creating just one piece of content. First, there’s an editorial calendar because subject matter and frequency are key to keeping the train running, even if writing a book at your own pace. Part of that includes content strategy—knowing your audience, voice, tone, segment data, persona traits and more to help you craft something that reaches the right audience at the right time. Have a story? Great! It’s time to research, conduct interviews, obtain quotes, and outline how you’ll present the information. Write the story. Edit the story. Revise. Optimize your

keywords and links using SEO tools. Create complementary formats like photos, graphs, video, infographics or Slideshare. If your article is time-sensitive, the pressure is really on. Once you are pleased with your finished product, your technical knowledge of content management systems will be required to publish your story. After that, your inner marketer must emerge, as you will have to promote your work via social media. You’ll post it to Facebook, and work the backend dashboard to boost it so people can actually see it. You’ll tweet it to your followers using proper link shorteners and hashtags. You’ll pin the most aesthetically pleasing vertical image on Pinterest to broaden your audience and you’ll share it in your circles on Google+. You’ll upload your video to YouTube, Wistia or another preferred host, taking the time to transcribe it and add closed captioning. You’ll upload your podcast to SoundCloud, Stitcher, and other popular listening locations. Once that’s done, you’ll monitor the success of your work through analytics platforms,

tracking stats like page views, bounce rate, referral traffic, subscriptions and more. Writing a book? Couple this process with multiple consultations with publishers, illustrators and editors and you soon become the jack-of-alltrades. Did you notice that the actual “words” part was just one step in the process? As a content creator, there is so much to be proud of, and it’s important not to sell yourself short. So the next time someone asks what you do for a living, you can begin by saying, “I do it all.”

Victoria Araj leads the Quicken Loans Zing Blog

and has held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 10 years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan. She can be reached at Visit for more information.




September 2015 I 23


Last year’s FinCon was my first. Before that, my blog was a hobby, a way for me to share my debt journey and practice my writing skills. I wrote three to four times a week consistently, updating my readers on how close I was to paying off my student loans. The closer I got to FinCon, the more things changed. My laptop died and it was hard trying to blog on the main computer in the kitchen, while my then-fiancé and roommate cooked and chatted. My blogging schedule struggled. I felt so guilty for not updating as often as I had. At FinCon Camp, the topic of how often people blog came up. Some people said every week or every two weeks; others said every day. I still felt guilty for letting my own blog suffer when there were lots of busy people handling theirs without a 24 I FinCon Connection

problem. After FinCon, I transferred my blog to WordPress and worked on building a freelance writing career. I continued to blog sporadically and feel bad about it. It wasn’t until I talked to my freelance writing coach that I found a solution. I’d been feeling stressed trying to manage a day job, building a new business and trying to spend time with my new husband. She told me to cut the blog down to once a week. It’s consistent enough that your readers won’t forget you, she said, but not so overwhelming that you’ll put off getting it done. Having permission to lower my standards changed my blog. I started getting more comments and higher page views.

My posts became longer and more substantial. I had time to think of the best topics to write about and feel proud of the content I was publishing. Too often we compare ourselves to others. But what works for someone else might not work for you, and if you try to emulate them, you’ll end up feeling worse about yourself. You need to decide what fits your schedule and your goals. I don’t make money from my blog the same way I do from my freelance writing, so it made sense to make it less of a priority. For others who rely on advertising and affiliate links to pay the bills, cutting down on a podcast that you do for fun makes more sense.

and to do it well. And you really don’t want to try until you get burnt out. The more you work relentlessly, the more likely you’ll feel less inspired, creative and motivated. All are essential ingredients for maintaining a blog consistently. Take time to go through your schedule like it’s a garden full of weeds. Prune what doesn’t fit your goals, keep what you want to work on and simplify what you grow. The result will be a carefully tended yard, full of something you can be proud of.

Zina Kumok writes about paying off $28,000 worth of student loans in three years at Debt Free After Three. She has been featured in DailyWorth, LifeHacker and Time.

You can’t be expected to do everything


might not work for you


September 2015 I 25

WHERE DO I GO IF I HAVE A QUESTION OR IF I LOSE SOMETHING? There will always be a conference staff member (look for the FinCon staff t-shirts) at the check-in table in the Grand Promenade. If you need help or lose something, just head to the check-in table and talk to a staff member. You can also Tweet a message to @FinCon. HOW DO I CONNECT TO THE INTERNET? In-room Internet service is included in your room rate at the Charlotte Westin. See the hotel information booklet or website for details about connecting. There is also free Wi-Fi available throughout the conference meeting area starting on Friday morning. The Wi-Fi network is “FINCON15” and the password is “xyplanning”. HOW DO I FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON? Be sure to add the schedule to your phone by downloading Topi from the iPhone or Android app from the store. Enter the code FinCon15, and you’ll be able to see the live schedule. It can also be found at www.

26 I FinCon Connection

Follow Twitter activity using the hashtag #FinCon15. I’M HUNGRY. WHERE CAN I EAT? The following will be provided: • Thursday – Food Truck Lunch • Friday – Continental breakfast, juices, and coffee • Saturday – Continental breakfast, juices, and coffee • Sunday – Coffee break The Red Hot Spot, presented by Experian— also known as the #FinCon15 Lounge—will have snacks during the conference. On Friday and Saturday, the hotel will set up kiosks in the promenade offering reasonably-priced grab and go lunches for those who don’t have time to leave the hotel. The conference hotel has room service, as well as 3 restaurants: Ember Grille & Terrace, Bar 10, and the Lobby Bar. In addition to the hotel options, there are Starbucks, Panera, Dunkin’ Donuts, Einstein

Bros Bagels, and other restaurants within a 2-3 block radius of the hotel. DO I NEED TO WEAR MY BADGE? Yes! Please wear your badge throughout the conference, even the evening events. Anyone without a badge will not be allowed in the sessions, meals, parties, etc. The badges look pretty cool anyway. You’ll want to wear it. SHOULD I BRING MY LAPTOP? Laptops and tablets are encouraged. The Expo Hall and breakout rooms will have some tables, charging stations, and Wi-Fi that you can use throughout the weekend. WHAT IS ONE-ON-ONE MENTORING? Blog Mentoring is a bonus provided to all FinCon Pass holders (except PR/Industry Passes). The free, one-off mentoring session at FinCon is a chance to work one-on-one with a fellow attendee on a specific topic. Mentees are paired up with Mentors for a one and a half hour session on Saturday afternoon. WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT? T. Rowe Price is partnering with the United Way to donate backpacks to the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte. Stop by Grand Ballroom B on Saturday between 10-noon or 2-4pm to help fill backpacks with school supplies and financial education materials. Filling one backpack should only take about 10 minutes of your time.

WHAT IS IGNITE FINCON AND HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE? Ignite FinCon is an engaging social/speaking event held at FinCon on Thursday night and run by Eric Rosenberg. Find out more at WHAT ARE THE PLUTUS AWARDS AND HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE? The Plutus Awards is an independent awards program run by Luke Landes and is designed to celebrate the best in the world of personal finance. Voting takes place before FinCon and winners are announced at a live awards ceremony Saturday night. For more information, go to




September 2015 I 27

FinCon for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Successful Conference EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom 2:15-2:45 pm Innovation and the $4 Trillion Wave INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom The Tools You Need to Look Like a Pro Blogger Right Away SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom What Successful Staff Writers Don’t Want You to Know About Landing Writing Jobs EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom

8:00-12 noon Exhibitor Setup Grand Ballroom 11:00am-6:00pm Check-In Grand Promenade 11:30am-1:00pm Lunch with Charlotte Food Trucks The Westin Charlotte Circle Drive 1:00-4:00pm Expo Hall & the Red Hot Spot, presented by Experian Grand Ballroom 1:30-2:00 pm The Innovative Intersection of Health and Wealth INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom Convert Referrals with a Strong Personal Brand SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom

28 I FinCon Connection

3:00-3:30 pm The Next Big Thing You Need to Know About Student Loans INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom Give Google What They Want: Beat Panda and Penguin (Plus, Protect Yourself in the Future) SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom Landing Page Optimization EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom 4:00-6:00 pm Pro Networking [PRO PASS ONLY] Providence Ballroom 4:00-4:45 pm How to Rock at Social Media, Blogging, and More to Build Your Brand as a Financial Planner! [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade How to Produce Killer Videos with Minimal Skills PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence

The Story of Better Money Habits - Driving Financial Know-How through Innovative Content and Partnerships SUCCESS STORIES Tryon Build Your Business and Brand with a Mastermind Group DISCUSSION PANELS Harris 4:45-5:00 pm Break 5:00-5:45 pm Building Trust: Using Video to Differentiate Your Brand [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade How to Reach a New Audience by Repurposing Content with an AudioBlog (i.e. Podcasting 101) PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence

7:00 am–6:00 pm Check-In Grand Promenade

Make it Happen: How to Thrive as a Beginning Blogger SUCCESS STORIES Tryon

7:00-8:00 am Breakfast Sponsored by the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council Grand Promenade

How to Build Relationships with Influencers in the Personal Finance Industry DISCUSSION PANELS Harris

8:00-9:00 am KEYNOTE: CARL RICHARDS Providence Ballroom

6:00–7:00 pm Speaker/Pro Mixer [PRO PASS ONLY] Providence Ballroom

9:00-10:00 am FinTech Startup Competition Sponsored by Chase Providence Ballroom

7:00–10:00 pm KICK-OFF PARTY Sponsored by TradeKing The Unknown Brewing Co. (1327 South Mint Street)

10:00-4:00 pm Expo Hall & the Red Hot Spot, presented by Experian Grand Ballroom 10:30-11:00 am Why Mobile Payments? Simplicity Sells! INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom September 2015 I 29

Ally thanks today’s most influential financial bloggers for educating consumers on making smart money decisions – a truly vital service. At #FinCon15, we’re excited to host the #AllyHunt, a Charlotte scavenger hunt. For a chance to win a $250 gift card, snap selfies at specific local attractions using #AllyHunt and #sweepstakes. For official rules and more info, visit our booth or follow us on Twitter @AllyBank. At Ally, we do things differently. That means we provide our banking and automotive finance customers with expertise and tools to help them make intelligent and informed decisions – without all the hidden this and the fine-print that.




Straight Talk Blog


Liability, Libel, and the Legal Issues for Bloggers SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom How to Outsource Tasks You Don’t Want to Do EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom 11:15-11:45 am Counter-Intuitive Wisdom for the Real World INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom Navigating Blogger/Brand Partnerships SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom Make Money with Video Blogs: Ask Me Anything EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom 12:00-12:30 pm Alternative Investments Unveiled: What Does the Future of FinTech and Online Investing Look Like? INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom 10 Tips to Improve Your Website Security SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom Ask a Lawyer EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom

1:30-3:00 pm Freelancer Marketplace Sponsored by MyLendingTree Providence Ballroom 1:30-2:00 pm What You Think You Know About Credit INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom How to Get Your First 1,000 Users in Under 6 Months SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom Podcasting: Ask Me Anything EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom 2:15-2:45 pm Understanding Your Financial Personality: The Science Behind Your Relationship with Money INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom

12:45-1:15 pm Winning with Wearables INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom

Let’s Syndicate! How to Get New Readers for Free and Stop Fearing Google SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand BallroomBreak Into

You’re Doing it Wrong: The 13 Mistakes Wordpress Users Make SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom

Broadcast & Boost Your Brand EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom

Packing Your Money Genius Into an Online Course That Sells While You Sleep EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom

3:00-3:30 pm FinTech’s Newest Obsession: Insurance Tech INNOVATION CENTER Grand Ballroom September 2015 I 31


5 Advanced Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success: FinCon Community Survey Results SOLUTIONS CENTER Grand Ballroom How to Run Your Business Like a Business Taxes, Tools, and Professional Communication EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand Ballroom 3:00-3:45 pm Women and Minorities in Finance DISCUSSION PANELS Harris

5:00-5:45 pm Content Marketing Compliance [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade

4:00-5:00 pm Exhibitor Teardown Grand Ballroom

A Look Behind the Lens - How to Build an Audience and Make Money on YouTube PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence

4:00-4:45 pm One Advisor Blogger’s Journey From A Fax Machine To 1,000,000 Pageviews/Month [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade

How I Tripled My Traffic by Deleting a 3rd of My Content SUCCESS STORIES Tryon

Podcasters: Triple Your Email List in 90 Days PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence How to Become an Expert (Without Official Expertise) SUCCESS STORIES Tryon Documentary Screening: Broke, Busted, and Disgusted DISCUSSION PANELS Harris How to Get Booked on Podcast Interviews: Grow Your Network, Increase Your Influence & Gain Visibility for Your Products and Services INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Providence 4:45-5:00 pm Break

The Best Kept Secrets of Self-Publishing a Book DISCUSSION PANELS Harris How to Exponentially Grow Your E-mail List INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Providence 5:00-7:00 pm SoFi #FinCon15 Bowling Happy Hour Strike City Bowling Alley (210 East Trade Street) 5:45-7:45 pm FinCon Beer Tour Sponsored by Payoff The Westin Charlotte Lobby 8:00-10:00 pm IGNITE FINCON Sponsored by Payoff Mint Museum Uptown (500 South Tryon Street) September 2015 I 33

T. Rowe Price Grand B 10:00-10:30 am Jim Wang: Ask Me Anything EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand C 10:00-10:45 am How to Create Your First Online Product [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade Become a Webinar Ninja: Plan and Launch a Successful Webinar PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence 7:30 am Check-In, Grand Promenade Expo Hall & the Red Hot Spot, presented by Experian Grand Ballroom 7:30-8:30 am Breakfast Sponsored by Upromise GoalSaver Grand Promenade 8:30-9:00 am KEYNOTE: TESS VIGELAND Providence Ballroom 9:00-9:45 am KEYNOTE: KABIR SEHGAL Providence Ballroom 9:45-10:00 am Break 10:00-12:00 noon Community Service Project Sponsored by

34 I FinCon Connection

How I Grew My Blog to 1 Million Visits a Month SUCCESS STORIES Tryon To Err is Human: Increase Your Audience and Strengthen Your Brand by Admitting Your Mistakes DISCUSSION PANELS Harris How I Tripled My Email Subscribers in a Year INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Grand A 10:45-11:00 am Break 11:00-11:30 am How to Build Your Personal Brand Online EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand C 11:00-11:45 am Building Your Gen X/Y Client Base Through Podcasting [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade Advanced Podcasting Techniques with Chase Reeves PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence

How I Built My Awesome Community in One Year: 15,000 Women, 50 States, & 38 Countries SUCCESS STORIES Tryon How to Effectively Monetize Through Affiliate Marketing - The Experts Tell All DISCUSSION PANELS Harris The Five Proven Steps to Getting Media Attention for Your Blog or Business! INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Grand A 1:30-2:45 pm One-On-One Mentoring Sponsored by Chase Providence Ballroom 2:00-4:00 pm Community Service Project Sponsored by T. Rowe Price Grand B 2:45-3:00 pm Break 3:00-3:30 pm What You Need to Know About Getting (And Keeping) High-Paying Gigs EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand C 3:00-3:45 pm Advisor Blog Tracking & Metrics – What I Track To Measure “Success” [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade Making Video Content that People Want to Watch PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence How to Create, Launch, and Promote a Best Selling Financial Book SUCCESS STORIES Tryon

How to Monetize Your Podcast: Panelists Share Their the Podcast Monetization Successes and Failures DISCUSSION PANELS Harris You Deserve More: How to Charge What You’re Worth as a Freelancer INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Grand A

#FINCON15 TRACKS Advisor Symposium

sponsored by XY Planning Network Success Stories Track

sponsored by Bank of America Discussion Panels

sponsored by Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions Individual Sessions

sponsored by The Dough Roller Innovation Center

sponsored by PolicyGenius Solutions Center

sponsored by CJ Affiliate by Conversant Podcasting Stage

sponsored by TradeKing September 2015 I 35



Get to know VISIT BOOTH #302

Offered through TradeKing Advisors, Inc.

Socially Generated

Trade Ideas


Trading Platform


All investments involve risk, losses may exceed the principal invested, and the past performance of a security, industry, sector, market, or ďŹ nancial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Š 2015 TradeKing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Securities offered through TradeKing Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC.


3:45-4:00 pm Break 4:00-4:30 pm Screw Content: Are You Addressing Your Readers Pain? EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand C 4:00-4:45 pm Honing Your Public Speaking and Media Presence to Grow Your Audience [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade Periscope: What Is it? Why It’s Important? And How to Best Integrate Mobile Live Streaming Into Your Brand PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence Why We Hired a Bitcoin Writer and How You Can Reimagine an Established Brand SUCCESS STORIES Tryon YOU Are the Brand: How to Market Yourself to Editors As an Expert Freelancer DISCUSSION PANELS Harris How to Position Yourself to Earn Thousands with Native Advertising, INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Grand A

5:00-5:45 pm How Being a Nerd Led to a $40 Million Podcast [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade Leveling Up YouTube: How to Create UltraCompelling Videos and Grow Your Channel PODCASTING & VIDEO Independence The Art of Work: Discovering What You Were Meant To Do SUCCESS STORIES Tryon Twitter for Business: Effective Strategies to Grow Your Brand, Community, and Website Traffic DISCUSSION PANELS Harris How to Make $30K This Year as a Consultant INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Grand A

4:45-5:00 pm Break

7:30-9:00 pm THE 6TH ANNUAL PLUTUS AWARDS Sponsored by Fidelity Providence Ballroom

5:00-5:30 pm How to Build a Smart Phone App When You Don’t Know How to Program EXPERT ROUNDTABLE Grand C

9:30-11:30 pm After Party Sponsored by Republic Wireless Rooftop 210 at EpiCentre (210 East Trade Street, Suite B320) September 2015 I 37

9:45-10:00 am Break 10:00-10:45 am Answering HOW For Advisors Ready to Take Action on Great Content Management and Marketing Ideas [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade The One-Year Plan to Turn Blogging Part-Time Into Your Full-Time Income SUCCESS STORIES Tryon How to Build Your Brand Through Content, Community, and Conversation DISCUSSION PANELS Harris 8:00 am-12:00 noon Check-In Providence Promenade

Media Training for Bloggers, Writers, and Authors INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Trade

8:00-9:00 am Coffee Break Providence Promenade

10:45-11:00 am Break

9:00-9:45 am How I Built a Thriving Practice and a Blog with 8 Million Visitors Simultaneously [ADVISOR SYMPOSIUM ONLY] Trade

11:00-11:45 am KEYNOTE: GRANT BALDWIN Providence Ballroom

The Power of Community: How FinCon Made My Book an Amazon Bestseller and Doubled My Business SUCCESS STORIES Tryon Monetization Workshop: Real-Time Recommendations for Earning More With Your Blog DISCUSSION PANELS Harris How to Replace 20% of the Income You Lose Each Year INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS Trade 38 I FinCon Connection

Join us for the first annual FinTech Competition sponsored by Chase. It’s the first ever early-stage business competition dedicated to technology products and solutions in the consumer-facing personal finance and investing verticals. It will be held at 9 am in the Providence Ballroom, immediately following Carl Richards’ keynote.





James Ray

Chase Merchant Services

Dan Roselli QC FinTech

Rachel Schneider Center for Financial Services Innovation

J. Money

Budgets Are Sexy

September 2015 I 39

40 I FinCon Connection

GRANT BALDWIN Grant Baldwin is a nationally known keynote speaker and expert at helping people find and do work they love. His podcast “How Did You Get Into That?” has over 30,000 listeners every month and has been ranked the #1 ranked Careers show in iTunes. As a speaker, Grant has given hundreds of presentations and has spoken to over 350,000 people in 45 different states through leadership conferences, conventions, and other events. His book and curriculum for students, “Reality Check,” is taught in 400 high schools around the country. While Grant does love speaking and inspiring others, his favorite roles are being a husband and father. He is married to his high school sweetheart and together they have a Barbie dream filled with three daughters. They live in Nashville, Tennessee. For more info, check out

CARL RICHARDS Carl Richards is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and the director of investor education for the BAM ALLIANCE, a community of over 130 independent wealth management firms throughout the United States. He is the creator of the weekly Sketch Guy column in the The New York Times, and is a columnist for Morningstar Advisor. Carl has also been featured on Marketplace Money, The Leonard Lopate Show, and In addition, Carl has become a frequent keynote speaker at financial planning conferences and visual learning events around the world. Through his simple sketches, Carl makes complex financial concepts easy to understand. His second book, The One-Page Financial Plan: A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money(March 2015, Portfolio), uses these sketches to cut through the complexity people associate with financial decisions. It’s a practical how-to based on many of the principles in his first book, The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money (Portfolio/Penguin).

September 2015 I 41


42 I FinCon Connection

KABIR SEHGAL Kabir Sehgal is the author of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best seller Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us, a journey to discover a greater understanding of the relationship between money and mankind. Sehgal’s background includes a wide variety of roles: He was a vice president in emerging market equities at J. P. Morgan in New York. He serves as an officer in the United States Navy Reserve, served as a speechwriter on a presidential campaign, and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the bestselling author of books including Coined, Walk in My Shoes (with Andrew Young), A Bucket of Blessings, and Jazzocracy. And, he’s even won a Grammy for his music production.

TESS VIGELAND Tess Vigeland is a veteran journalist, and a well-known voice to millions of American radio listeners. Until November 2012, Tess was the host of Marketplace Money, a nationally-broadcast, weekly personal finance show. She is the CEO of Tess Vigeland Productions, a Los Angeles-based multi-media company. When she’s not locked away writing, Tess can be heard as a backup anchor for NPR’s All Things Considered, as well as KCRW’s To The Point and KPCC’s Take Two. She has also written for The New York Times and The Guardian, among numerous other publications. Her first book, Leap Without A Net: Leaving A Job With No Plan B, was released in August.

September 2015 I 43

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AMANDA ABELLA @amandaabella

COLLEEN ARONS @bofa_news

CATHERINE ALFORD @budgetblonde

DAVID AUTEN @debtfreeguys Debt Free Guys

TIFFANY ALICHE @thebudgetnista

BRIAN BAIN @faminvestor


GRANT BALDWIN @grantbaldwin

ANDREA AMIR @smartmoneychick Smart Money Chicks




TONI ANDERSON @tonihanderson

JACKIE BECK @thedebtmyth

VICTORIA ARAJ @victoriaaraj23 Quicken Loans Zing Blog

GRAYSON BELL @debtroundup Debt Roundup

The Debt Myth / Pay Off Debt App

September 2015 I 45

SOPHIA BERA @sophiabera

ERIN CHASE @5dollardinners $5 Dinners

CASEY BOND @go_casey GOBanking Rates

STEVE CHOU @mywifequit



REY BROWN @iamReyBrown

GINGER DEAN @Gingerlatte

DR. J. GALEN BUCKWALTER @jgbuckwalter

MIKE DELGADO @mikedelgado Experian


TOM DRAKE @CanadianFinance

BRITTNEY CASTRO @brittneycastro

JARED EASLEY @jaredeasley



46 I FinCon Connection

JOSH ELLEDGE @joshelledge


JESSI FEARON @thebudgetmama The Budget Mama


JENNIFER FITZGERALD @policygenius PolicyGenius

CLIFF GOLDSTEIN @cliffnerdwallet Nerd Wallet


ROSEMARIE GRONER @busybudgeter The Busy Budgeter

GARY FOREMAN @gary_foreman

MARK GREUTMAN @markandlaureng


LAUREN GREUTMAN @markandlaureng


ROD GRIFFIN @Rod_Griffin

KIM FRASER @marsuptxn

EMILY GUY BIRKEN @emilyguybirken

DONNA FREEDMAN @dlfreedman


The Five Years Before You Retire

September 2015 I 47

48 I FinCon Connection


ASHLEY JACOBS @wisebread Wise Bread


HEATHER JARVIS @Heather_Jarvis

KALI HAWLK @kalihawlk

EMMA JOHNSON @johnsonemma WealthySingleMommy

DEACON HAYES @deaconhayes

MIKE JONES @aboutmoney

DAVID HERMAN @studentdave Payoff

NOAH KAGAN @noahkagan

CAMERON HUDDLESTON @chlebedinsky GOBanking Rates

KAREN KERLEY @tradeking TradeKing

TONI HUSBANDS @debtfreedivas Debt Free Divas

LINDSEY KERR @cjnetwork CJ Affiliate by Conversant

LEAH INGRAM @suddenlyfrugal


PAUL IVANOVSKY @iheartthemart


Setting the Standard for personal finance Membership • • •

Annual research and training symposium Research publications and resources Influencing public policy

Certification Nationally recognized designations Rigorous training and professional development • Setting professional standards • •

LUKE LANDES @luke_landes The Plutus Awards

50 I FinCon Connection



JANA LYNCH @saysjana Jana Says

BOBBY LEE @2minutefinance 2 Minute Finance

JOSHUA MACFARLANE @joshmacfarlane

SANG H. LEE @SangIsHere


ANNIE LOGUE @annielogue

ELLE MARTINEZ @elle_cm Couple Money Podcast

NICK LOPER @nloper

SHANNON MCLAY @blonde_finance

BOB LOTICH @christianpf

J. MONEY @budgetsaresexy Budgets Are Sexy

HAL LUBLIN @swagbucks

WES MOSS @WesMoss365

MARK LY @investopedia

LAUREN MOYER @mikeandlauren

MIKE MOYER @mikeandlauren

CHASE REEVES @chase_reeves


JANET REUSCH @bankratejanet Bankrate

MURRAY NEWLANDS @murraynewlands


ERIC NISALL @AccountLancer


STEFANIE O’CONNELL @brokeandbeau

CARL RICHARDS @behaviorgap Behavior Gap


VALERIE RIND @valerierind

BRIAN PRESTON @MoneyGuyPodcast


JOHN RAMPTON @johnrampton Due

DR. JON ROBERTS @jproberts00

JAMES RAY @chase Chase


Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads

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52 I FinCon Connection


MATT SCHULZ @matthewschulz

DAN ROSELLI @danielroselli Packard Place / QueenCity FinTech

KABIR SEHGAL @hikabir Coined / First Data

J.D. ROTH @jdroth Faraway Places

JOSHUA SHEATS @joshuasheats Radical Personal Finance


WILLIAM SISK @fakeWillSisk

JOE SAUL-SEHY @AverageJoeMoney


JOHN SCHMOLL @frugalrules Frugal Rules

JASON ST PETER @jasonstpeter


JASON STEELE @steelestreet

JOHN R. SCHNEIDER III @debtfreeguys Debt Free Guys

DAVID STEIN @jdstein Money for the Rest of Us


DAVID WELIVER @moneyunder30 Money Under 30


LIZ WESTON @lizweston Reuters / Bankrate

KYLE TAYLOR @thepennyhoarder The Penny Hoarder

BILL WINTERBERG @billwinterberg

PHILIP TAYLOR @ptmoney PT Money

JESSICA WOODBURY @jessicaesquire


MANDI WOODRUFF @mandiwoodruff Yahoo! Finance

TODD TRESIDDER @financialmentor


TESS VIGELAND @tessvigeland


JIM WANG @wangarific

OMAR ZENHOM @bizrepublic


September 2015 I 53


54 I FinCon Connection


Ally / 305, 307, 404, 406 Bank of America / 211 CJ Affiliate by Conversant / 107, 206 ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions / 103 Common Bond / T8 Country Financial / 308 Credit Karma / 105 ETNA Trader / T6 Experian / 502 FA Bean Counters / 505 Fidelity / 204 FinMason / 601 GOBanking Rates / 508 Good Call / T4 Impact Tech / 604 Indexed Annuity Leadership Council / 209 Lending Club / 504 Lending Tree / 602 Money Tips / 100 Motif Investing / T9 NEFE / 106 Payoff / 409, 411 PenFed / 603 Personal Capital / 605 PolicyGenius / 510 Power Wallet / T7 Republic Wireless / 104 Retirement Investor / 205 Simple / 507, 606 Smart Asset / 304 SoFi / 607 Stock Trend Spotter / T5 Swagbucks / 202 T. Rowe Price / 306 The Penny Hoarder / 403, 405, 407 TradeKing / 203, 302 Upromise Goal Saver / T10 Vanguard / 207 Wealthbase / 506 WealthMinder / T3 Wela / 310 XY Planning / 503


Brand Yourself / 1 DRAFT / 17 Due / 3 Dyme / 11 FamZoo / 19 Hip Money / 13 Right Capital / 21 Simply Wall St / 14

Smart Podcast Player / 4 Sweep / 12 Sucuri / 2 TickerTags / 18 Wherewithal / 20



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Innovation Center


FinCon Connection Vol 4  

The official magazine for #FinCon15. For more information, visit

FinCon Connection Vol 4  

The official magazine for #FinCon15. For more information, visit