Welcome to my FinCon 2017 experience in Dallas, TX. Just like my first experience at FinCon in San Diego last year, it was another incredible learning and networking opportunity. So my family was able to understand what I was doing, they came with me. After discussing our children’s fragile ears, we decided to drive down from Alton, IL. I was able to learn and network with awesome people. We ate delicious food, drank great drinks, and stayed in the huge, wonderful Sheraton in Dallas. I gained more from the experience than I am able to put into words. But, I will do my best.
The Drive Down to FinCon Alton IL to Allen TX
We left at night around 6 p.m. and drove through Missouri and Oklahoma with only brief stops to get to Texas. The Missouri drive wasn’t bad and the first half was very familiar to me. The night drive through Oklahoma seemed to take forever, but we did cross the state at nearly its widest point. The highway down felt as if I was driving the trail of tears. Our two-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, could not sleep and freaked out, crying a few times in places that felt creepy to us adults, as well. Not sure how to describe it fully, but it was very odd for sure.
Oklahoma Journey to FinCon
We generally liked our tour of the highways of Oklahoma. Although driving through at night did feel creepy. The people were kind but the highway was mostly void of exits and towns, adding to the creepy factor at night. Next exit, in how many miles?! Sure glad we rented a nice reliable 2017 SUV from Enterprise, so we had little worry of breaking down. There were also several annoying areas where the interstate turned into local through town highway and slowed us. We stopped on the way back through at several neat gift shops. The girls got some jelly and shirts. I got a nice Oklahoma fishing hat.
Experience of Allen, TX
To save money and because we reserved our hotel room too late for the first two days, we stayed just outside Dallas in Allen, TX. We really enjoyed the town of Allen. I loved how the highways flowed into perfect 55 mph off-ramps with no stop signs. I could easily drive around Allen and it felt extra homey. We ate at some great places such as Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and Whataburger. They were all amazing and the service at Chick-fil-A blew us away. A team of people came to assist us with getting high chairs, delivering our drinks and food, etc.
Welcome to Dallas!
Finally, I made it to Dallas, Texas, for day one of the FinCon experience! I was so happy and yet so lost! It’s always hard the first day of a conference to find your way, anywhere! The Sheraton in Dallas is a very large hotel. Epic large. It’s not just one but several skyscrapers! I was able to get checked in and was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy during my stay. If you haven’t tried the Sheraton Club Lounge access yet, I highly recommend it. It’s well worth the upgrade cost. Drinks and snacks as needed, light breakfast and dinner, and meeting areas are well worth it.
FinCon Dallas Opening
It was really neat to get to see the early expo hall. It’s always a treat to see a large, open room transform into a wonderful networking opportunity for the brands, the sponsors, and the affiliates. I was able to check in easily after being directed to the location by the amazing Kylie Travers. Her kind smiles really stuck with me and brightened my entire experience. Have you ever met someone who radiates love, heart, kindness, and awesomeness to the point it rubs off? That’s Kylie! I knew she was awesome before, but she is another big reason I love Australia. Check out her blog linked here called The Thrifty Issue.
Random Elevator Awesomeness
So at FinCon, there are always several ways the elevator conversation goes. Most are great. My least desired is that awkward, uncomfortable silence. I met some great people in the many elevator trips I took. However, I have to say meeting the Aussie crew was the most memorable. As the elevator doors opened, a small team of five awesome Aussie people entered in cowboy hats, bolo ties, cowboy boots, etc. They really went all out in the exact way I wanted. They were having a great time. Their comments cracked me up. I am still laughing and kicking myself for not tagging along for some drinks, laughs, and love.
Memorable Elevator Quotes
The most memorable quotes from the elevator experiences were the comments from the Australian crew’s leader. “We’re locals” and “We’re from Texas,” said with a straight face in a thick Aussie accent may have been one of the single funniest things I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I said, “I’m not buying it” and we all laughed. I truly regret not being able to connect more deeply with them. They all seemed like awesome people and I did at least get to tell them that before we parted ways. Someone, please re-connect me with these people!
The Breathtaking Views
The views in Dallas were amazing. You could see for many miles from our hotel room, 27th-floor club level, club lounge access, and executive suite. Huge windows, large TV, and epic skyscrapers. It all seemed very fitting for Dallas and the skyline was much better looking than is able to be recorded by any device. Wandering the hotel, I found an amazing view on the fourth floor. There was a rooftop access with a stunning view of several towers. Another was much larger but very windy and somehow wasn’t as scenic. This area of the hotel was not advertised and I only happened to find it by chance. Sorry, we all look terrible in this video. I had 6 hours of sleep in 4 days at this point! My family had no idea what to expect of the trip and were completely exhausted.
Meeting PR Expert Josh Elledge
I had the great privilege to meet Josh Elledge and attended his max capacity standing/sitting room only speech at FinCon. I happily sat on the floor to learn more from him. With his help, I have been quoted many places. Thanks to him, I was even quoted in Reader’s Digest! He is an awesome person; kind, down to earth, helpful, highly intelligent, funny, huge heart, etc. I’m truly honored to call him a friend.
The Great Debate: Universal Basic Income
I had the pleasure of attending an informative discussion panel on UBI. I knew I was in for a good debate. Wonderful cases were presented on both sides for and against. It was truly a great experience. I couldn’t help but feel like I was in an early congress or senate discussion on the matter. The debate went back and forth the entire time. However, by the end, it was clear that UBI is a good idea. It is nearly impossible for many to break out of poverty without such assistance. The difficulty is only in implementing it, correctly. One argument against it was it would cause a 15% tax on the wealthiest which I found absurd. As another panelist said loosely quoted, “All we have to do is not build three ships. Three big warships we didn’t need, that’s the entire budget.”
UBI Abuses in the System and Final Thoughts
Another point against UBI was there would be abuses of the system. However, to the contrary, abuse rates of existing programs are exceptionally low (despite overhype). So when you give a low-income person more money, they generally spend it in the right places. Yes, some are failures and fail no matter how much we help. That doesn’t mean we don’t help the 99% who try. Everyone agreed assistance must taper off. However, were unable to agree on an income to begin due to cost of living variables. I believe a boost in the low-income population leads to a prosperous economy. Give people money who need it. This is a simple, “yes.” Investing in our citizens is truly investing in America. I cannot stand for help up from the bottom for our citizens enough. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions for or against UBI.
Before FinCon, I was shown a music video of a rapper named Dee-1. I was asked if he should perform at FinCon. My answer was a huge “yes!” He is famous for his song “No Car Note,” where he advocates for not taking on a car loan. He is proud of his 1998 Honda daily driver. A wonderful example of how intelligent, rich people often drive older model vehicles to save money. I had the pleasure to speak with him and hear stories from his childhood that taught him to save and to drive older vehicles. He’s a very smart man who is highly talented. It is hard to make rap sound great live, but he does it by being genuine and a quality over studio type of rapper. Seriously, even if you’re not a fan of rap, check out his video for “No Car Note.” It is great.
Dinner via CreditRepair.com
I got an invitation to a dinner during FinCon and I was greeted by many wonderful people. I met great new friends like Stefanie O’Connell and the dinner at the Dallas Chop House was downright amazing. It was a nice location that was a short walk from the hotel. Lucky for me, they started dinner late. I did not get complete directions to the event until I realized it wasn’t in the hotel! In a panic, I called and texted the awesome lady who invited me and I am grateful she dropped what she was doing. She wasn’t even at work! Yet she still made time to give me the address and even directions. CreditRepair.com is a great site I’ve been reading for a while now. It has many helpful articles. Check it out today!
A Dinner Party Experience for the Books
The dinner was truly a first-class event. I was happy I dressed well for the occasion. The wine was tasty and the steak was delicious. It was clearly prepared by a top-notch, high-end chef. I’ve been an assistant executive chef and I completely approved of the entire meal, even the creme brulee. Any high-quality chef knows it’s almost impossible to make it correctly. Yet, the Chop House aced it and prepared a wonderful all around meal too. This was truly an event I will remember for life.
More Great Food at The Press Box
Next, on our excellent foodie journey through Dallas was The Press Box. The place was exceptionally busy. After ordering, we soon found out why. The drinks and food were downright amazing! I don’t drink often but I love a good beer. My favorite part was the amazing beer made by Lakewood Brewing Company. “The Temptress,” at 9.1%, is no laughing matter. I’ve been searching for it and trying to get local vendors to stock Lakewood products ever since. Check them out for sure they need to get much bigger and fast!
More Awesome FinCon People
I was able to meet up with the amazing Crystal Stemberger of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. It’s always wonderful to talk and chat with her. Can’t speak highly enough of her. She’s been my go-to person and quickly a bestie type of friend. I also got to meet one, if not the most, awesome anonymous bloggers in existence. After some digging, I was even able to get a link to her blog. Have a look, it’s called A Gai Shan Life. I was greatly impressed and think you will be, too. I had a great time with debt expert, Jackie Beck, who you should check out too.
Other Memorable People at FinCon
While the founder of FinCon, Phillip Taylor, or PT Money was too busy to interview or even say “hi,” he did go out of his way to wave hi and smile back at me. I was hoping he had a free minute. He did not, but still made a moment for a wave and smile. I met with another awesome friend Assaf Katzir the co-founder of Credit Pilgrim. A meeting with finance experts on cryptocurrencies in the Sheraton Club Lounge was great and very productive. I was blessed to meet Gary Leland of Crypto Cousins, Solay, and Blanca just to name a few.
One-on-One FinCon Mentoring Session
I managed to make the one-on-one mentoring this year, an event I regretted missing the prior year. Luckily, some amazing people were helping last-minute mentees like myself. I put questions on a post-it note on a large board. After, I grabbed two of the only seats left so my mentor and I could sit at a table to work. I waited patiently for a mentor to help answer my questions. I am still shocked and humbled by the mentor that chose me!
Meeting Grayson Bell
Some people are just larger than life. Grayson Bell is one of those people. He has helped many people in the FinCon community and is a go-to guy for many people’s problems. I talked to him briefly a few times on social media. However, meeting him in person and learning directly was truly priceless. He is highly intelligent, very helpful, down to earth, and a great all-around person. No wonder everyone loves him! So, when you see Rebuild Repair Credit continue to climb, know I thank the great Grayson Bell! I am so grateful for his assistance. There are no words.
Meeting FinCon Organizer Jessica Bufkin
Another highlight of my FinCon experience was being able to say “hi” briefly to Jessica Bufkin, the event organizer for FinCon. I brought my family down and was able to introduce them. She has the daunting task of keeping such a massive conference organized. With so many events going on in so many locations without any major hitches, I’d say she did another great job. Clearly, Phillip Taylor made a great choice because, again, she truly gave her all. Exhausted is putting it mildly, yet she still made a moment to say “hi” and gave us some big smiles. We’re very grateful for her.
FinCon Dallas 2017 Closing Party by Cinch Financial
The FinCon closing party was a great time as always. Cinch Financial gave a brief presentation on their awesome service. It is a service that you will wonder how you ever did without after using it. They showed some new updates including a feature to double check your car insurance rates. If they find a lower rate they help you make the switch easily. While I am generally proud of everyone at FinCon when Sean Collins the CEO of Cinch Financial was speaking some very rude people kept talking. I strongly feel manners, respect, and courtesy should be better expressed when you’re at a party. Especially one the person speaking is paying for. Regardless, Cinch Financial is awesome and you can check out my review here. I can’t speak highly enough about them.
Leaving FinCon and Dallas
It’s always both a relief and sadness when FinCon is over. We had planned to stay in Dallas and/or the Texas area in general for a couple days of leisure. However, the family badly wanted to get home or at least close to home, as soon as possible. So we left and headed closer to home. The drive back took a long time, but it did not feel nearly as bad as the trip down. We decided to stop at one of our favorite vacation spots on the way back home. I’ve kept its name and location top secret until now. So if you go take great care of my park, this place is sacred.
Welcome to Montauk State Park
One of the most refreshing, relaxing, and beautiful places I know of is Montauk State Park in Missouri. So when we wanted a refreshing post-FinCon retreat, it was our first choice. We stayed in a very nice, updated cabin. The next morning, I woke up in a panic. The neighbor set off the fire alarm with their lack of cooking skills. While normally it would be no problem we were on the 27th floor of a skyscraper the night before! I awoke to a fire alarm and briefly panicked thinking I had to grab my children and run down 27 flights of stairs! I put my heart back into my chest when I realized all was well. Overall the Montauk cabins are wonderful. The only thing ours was missing was a fire pit. (See video clip: Montauk mini Springs sand bubbling.)
Fishing at Montauk State Park
One of the top features of Montauk State Park is trout fishing. You aren’t fishing in an area with no fish to catch, they stock daily. The water is so clear, you can see many of the fish. This works to your advantage, as well as disadvantage. Trout can see exceptionally well since they live in clear water and they can often see your fishing line. I was able to catch a few in our two days there, including a decent 2-pound ‘keeper’ fish. Everything else I threw back as I generally like to be a catch and release fisherman. You can thank people like me for more and bigger fish!
Finally Back Home from FinCon
We finally made it back home from our long FinCon experience. Although we all missed our home life and were homesick, the following few days getting back into our normal routine was challenging. I had to catch up on many tasks, immediately. We thoroughly cleaned our home before we left. So, we did not have to immediately clean upon our exhausted return. Unpacking and getting settled took many days. But after a goody bag inspection, I won’t need any T-shirts this year!
FinCon 2017 Dallas Conclusion
After attending FinCon for the second time, what are my thoughts? Well, I will say it was well worth it, once again. The networking and learning were priceless. Meeting new friends and business connections are priceless. FinCon 2017 proved to be more than worthwhile. Sure, there was a lot of hassle, lack of sleep, and hard work. Would I do it all again? Absolutely. In fact, you will find me in Orlando at FinCon 2018. I have full faith and confidence it is another great decision. FinCon and I are great investments. So, I bought my ticket for next year early once again.