10 lessons about life and money after attending FinCon

For those of you that aren’t personal finance nerds, the name FinCon means nothing.  But if you are a blogger, in the financial planning industry or work in media that is connected to the financial industry, you should take a moment to learn more about this annual event.

For us, it was an opportunity to better understand the landscape, mingle with like-minded people and learn from others who have done what we are aiming to do; achieve financial independence.  We could’ve easily listed fifty, but we whittled it down to ten.  Enjoy!

1. The journey is always more important than the destination

We monitor our finances religiously and we celebrate milestones when we achieve them. But as we look back at prior celebrations and splurges, oftentimes they are pretty…meh. What we really remember is the value that comes from overcoming mistakes, picking ourselves back up and looking back on the days when we didn’t know what we know now.  Those are the stories worth telling. These are the memories that matter.

2. Having more money doesn’t make you happier; it enables your pursuit of more happiness.

When you pursue money, it comes to you and if you can fight the urge to spend it all and invest wisely it will grow like a weed. But the commas and zeroes aren’t what makes you happier.  The freedom it brings does. Having the energy to pursue passions fully and helping people is what bring us a deeper sense of fulfillment.

3. Time is the single most valuable resource we all have.

There is a reason why compounding interest is called the 8th wonder of the world. The $hit works wonders in our account 24/7/365.  It never needs a break, doesn’t have feelings and speaks a universal language. Above all, it will always work harder than we ever can.

4. There is immeasurable value in having a community.

Until FinCon we would’ve never felt really free to crack a joke in public that was interwoven with frugal principles and investing jargon. Furthermore, where else would we be able to sit around a fire pit with millionaires who openly disclose their net worth, the inner workings of their businesses and what their motivations are.  Being able to talk about money while surrounded by people who don’t consider it taboo was refreshing.  Meeting the people behind our fave podcasts and blogs was pretty cool too.

5. Sometimes you gotta stop doing what you’ve always done

The human brain wants nothing more than to minimize the energy you burn by finding patterns and putting itself in auto-pilot. That means it will go out of its way to steer you away from trying new things, confronting fears and stress-inducing activities. It’s your job to stop listening to yourself and to actively pursue things that are different from what you normally do. Otherwise, you’re destined to repeat yourself which for many means, walking in place.

6. Feedback is truly a gift. 

For years, if we went to a restaurant and had a crappy experience, I [Julien] would simply brush it off and make excuses for the team. As someone who knows just how hard people in the service industry work, the last thing I wanted to do was kick someone while they were down.  We’ve since learned that it robs these restaurants of opportunities to be their best and is a waste of money to continue patronizing and endorsing mediocrity. If you value money like we do, it’s your duty to provide constructive respectful feedback to those you give your hard-earned money to. Otherwise you will continue to normalize crappy experiences in every aspect of your life.

7. Making money is easy.  Making it last is hard and boring AF.

We’re blessed to say that If we were fired tomorrow, we would be fine for a considerable amount of time. Our money makes money so we don’t have to.  Furthermore, we could come up with countless ways to earn money that don’t involve us compromising our values or giving our lives away. The hard part is fighting the urge to speculate and squeeze more juice out of the fruits of our labor.  Despite knowing that the best thing you can do is leave it alone, ego and pride have an uncanny ability to lurk and tempt you to take action unnecessarily.

8. Make giving a priority.  Build it into everything you do and make it matter.

For years, I [Julien] participated in Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Since it ended on a bit of a sour note, I admit it left my desire to serve others on the sidelines for years. Recently, after giving time, money, counsel and expertise my spark for giving has been re-ignited. There are so many problems in this world that money can easily solve and we intend on doing just that so we leave this world in better condition than we found it in.

9. Employment is risky.

As expected, since launching rich & REGULAR we’ve had some people raise their eyebrows at us with regard to our plan.  Meanwhile, they give 70%+ of their lives at a negotiated discounted rate to corporations who are motivated to keeping their labor costs low. I fundamentally believe that NOT pursuing financial independence is risky; not the other way around.

10. Human beings suck at selling.

People sell themselves short for salary and paid weeks of vacation. They sell their products and services at discounts for irrational reasons. Theyvsell their ambitions short by talking ourselves off cliffs just short of amazing opportunities. Even when sales pitches go well,  people tend to overdo it to prove themselves worthy of the ask.  We were guilty of this too…until now.

Attending FinCon has lit a fire within us and we look forward to shining with you.

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