FinCon is the place to be if you’re involved in personal finance. Many bloggers descend on this conference once a year to share ideas on how they can leave a bigger impact. Or so I’ve been told. Despite all these great things, I’ve decided not to attend FinCon2016 and I’ll share why.

Before I started Distilled Dollar earlier this year, I had a naive approach to blogging. I didn’t realize how much work was involved until I sat awake at 2 AM, editing a last minute article, only to discovering the image doesn’t integrate correctly in my WordPress theme.

Last minute technical difficulties in blogging turned into a rite of passage for me. The same can be said for basically any profession these days.

You might consider this overly optimistic for starting something new or what’s known as the planning fallacy. Either way, it led to a lot of headaches the next day.

When I first heard about FinCon 2016 being hosted in San Diego, my immediate thought was that I needed to be there. After all, if I am serious about building my blog and I know there are a hundred different realms I can improve upon, then why not go and learn from the best?

So, I came up reasons why I shouldn’t go and I weighed them against the reasons I should go.

Here’s my recap on why I’m not going to FinCon 2016:

 

1. Common Values


The first step is always understanding our shared values. In my relationship, my girlfriend and I always make sure we’re on the same page.

This year, we’ve put a focus on doubling our savings rate. Attending FinCon would be such a large exception to our plan that it would lead to us failing on that goal.

I find that once we make one exception, the next one becomes a little easier. Slowly and piece by piece, the entire plan starts to fall apart.

Thanks to being held publicly accountable this year on my blog , I’ve had a clearer decision making process. This has led us to staying on track for our goal and we’re accelerating ourselves towards financial freedom faster than ever.

I also learned here that I need to make my goals more flexible next year. The point of pursuing financial freedom is to have some F-You money in place so I can jump on exciting opportunities like FinCon.

While I love optimizing my budget, I’ve made a point to slightly expand my F-You fund in 2017 to allow for more impromptu opportunities.

2. The Work Left Undone


For me, I know there is still a lot of work I need to do on the site. There are pages I need to build, design tweaks I should make, and useful tools my readers would find helpful. I’ve had several requests to share the excel file I use to track my net worth, but I haven’t gotten around to making it publicly available.

Part of the reason is because I’m starting to enjoy the benefits Personal Capital has to offer in terms of keeping track of my net worth for me. But, the biggest reason is because I’m having a hard enough time maintaining my three posts a week schedule.

To solve this, I’ve set a goal of creating a large pipeline of posts so that I’m not up at 2 AM writing. My mental psyche would much prefer to have everything set to go days ahead of time.

To accomplish this, I’ve started to organize my schedule by having alternating weekends between work and R&R. My end goal is to have a pipeline of at least 4 weeks of posts by October.

By creating enough space in my schedule, I’ll develop the space to take on new opportunities.

3. We’re Still at the Mercy of our Employers


Another big reason has been the lack of PTO days available.

I have close friends and relatives spread across the country that I’ve already made plans to visit this year and early next year. By going to FinCon 2016, I would need to reschedule a visit.

So with all that said, here’s my final say:

The surface layer truth is that this blog is about my pursuit of financial independence. The more nuanced layer truth is that I want this blog to serve ANYONE on THEIR path to financial freedom.


With these truths in mind, I’m committing now to attending FinCon in 2017.

While I wish I could attend FinCon in 2016, I know the reasons against it are too strong to ignore. It would be irresponsible at this stage of my life.

If I treat my blog as a business, then the majority of my earnings should be reinvested back into the business. From this standpoint, spending a couple thousand dollars between the conference tickets, flights, hotel/AirBnb, etc. will be a wise investment of my resources in 2017.

With personal finance changing so much in the last few decades due to the reshaping of the global economy, I know many of the writers today will be seen the same way we view the first cars or airplanes.

There will naturally be many more developments in personal finance that will serve to better help people. I’m excited to be a small piece in such a larger movement.

For those attending in 2016, I wish you the best as you learn and share your knowledge. I look forward to joining you in 2017!

Will you be attending FinCon in 2016? Are you planning on not going this year but considering attending next year? Do you find conventions helpful in your career or profession?

-Matt
Master Distiller

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