What We Learned at FINCON

For the last few years, I’ve attended a conference called FINCON.

And each year when asked what conference I attended, I’ll hear a quip related to Comic-Con. But it does peak the person’s interest, prompting them to ask what the conference is about.

Rightfully so. This is a unique offering in the financial lineup of annual conferences. Fully leaning in to the personal finance fanaticism, most repeat attendees use a tagline, “Where Money Nerds Unite” to describe the event.

In reality, this group of money nerds is a well-run, energized gathering of personal finance writers, bloggers, video creators and financial advisors. Being in this mix, helps us keep our finger on the pulse of the latest on communicating our message through digital marketing in the financial industry.

This year the gathering took place in, Washington, D.C. and had roughly 2,500 attendees. Here were a few of my top takeaways from this year’s conference…

Podcasting is Still in Infancy Stage

Podcasting has a long runway. A quarter of Americans are now listening to podcasts weekly. It’s a powerful way to communicate your message to current clients and build trust with future clients. We’ve found this to be true, as it was at the first FINCON conference we attended in 2015, that we decided to begin experimenting and start our podcast. We’re now 96 episodes in, and going strong. It’s been a great way to centralize frequently asked questions, as that seeds many of our show topics and feedback from clients has been overwhelmingly positive. I think fellow advisor Ben Brandt, host of Retirement Starts Today Radio, summed it up best in his talk with one of the funniest and easily most memorable lines at the conference, “Podcasting is the second most intimate thing you can do inside someone’s ear.”

Rise of Video

Video is still an underutilized platform for many financial advisors. We just started dipping our toe in this year with creating short videos of podcast summaries and events around the office. One consistent theme throughout, was that video continues to provide the best way for people to know, like and trust you. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world. There was a wealth of info from some people outside our industry as well as a few financial advisors that are having success using video. So we came back with a bolstered motivation to continue experimenting with how best to create engaging content through the video medium.

What Do You LOVE Spending Money On?

One of the keynote talks left an impression I’ve continued thinking about after leaving Washington. Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, shared a concept he created around your money dials. Each of us have them, but most struggle to challenge our everyday beliefs of how we could adjust them. He used audience interaction and personal examples around his philosophies of maxing spending on the things you love and cutting mercilessly on everything else. It reminded me of conversations we have with clients on the things that bring them the most joy. Framing those conversations around the dial concept might help you answer how you could 10X your spending on the things you really love. Getting really specific in how you answer can be a fun exercise.

Accountability Matters

I used to wonder why people would attend the same conference each year. I questioned, “wouldn’t you want to attend different types of events, to learn new skills?” But the second year I attended, I was fortunate to find a group of like-minded advisors, who wanted more accountability in implementing what we learned. This has been one of the biggest benefits along our journey. I look forward to going back each year to strengthen the evolving relationships I have with this group. This makes it easier to challenge and be challenged given we already know many of the details of our initiatives. Accountability becomes more natural. Resulting in a higher percentage of implementation and improvements in our offerings to you.

Abundance Mindset of Advice at FINCON

FINCON has become a breeding ground for new ideas. I’ve come to believe this comes from the diversity in professions that meet there. Often it’s non-advisors that we learn how to better position certain initiatives we are trying digitally. Some of the strongest advice from presenters, which seems obvious, but can be tough to implement, is to allow your authenticity to shine through in your content. For us, that means honing in on stories that resonate with our current and future clients. Capturing how people will feel after a certain strategy is implemented. Helping clients better answer how they can make decisions today to get them closer to their goals.

So many of the content creators we meet at FINCON have a unique way of sharing these messages through stories and examples. Whether it’s writing, video or podcasting, they find a point of view that gets people excited to accomplish something new or to stay motivated making progress in their financial lives. That will only benefit all of us.

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