When you hear the word conference, what comes to mind?
Boring lectures, painful networking, and unnecessary time away from your family?
Many conferences put you in a room with people you aren’t that interested in, or they teach you things you don’t care that much about.
What if you could go to a conference for YOU? Not because your boss wanted you to go but because YOU wanted to go?
A conference can be an efficient way to:
- learn new things
- meet interesting people
- get inspired
If it’s the right subject and group of people, two or three focused days in a fresh environment can create a nice reset for your life or business.
So, what personal finance conferences can you attend to both learn how to improve your money situation and be inspired by success stories from interesting people?
In the personal finance world, there are quite a few events you can attend, each with its pros and cons.
Let’s review the list of the best personal finance conferences and discover the event(s) you should attend this year.
The Best Personal Finance Conferences
Financial Freedom Summit
2020 marks the first annual Financial Freedom Summit in St. Louis, Missouri. The conference takes place in March and is designed to help people take the next steps towards financial freedom, whatever that means to you.
Over 2+ days, you’ll hear from industry experts how to take charge of your money and achieve the life you dream about living. You’ll also learn how to create an action plan to get you where you want to go financially.
Hear from experts on topics like debt, budgeting, family finances, frugality, real estate, and entrepreneurship. The Financial Freedom Summit is presented in partnership with FinCon.
- Learn more about the Financial Freedom Summit.
- 2020 event: May 1-3 in St. Louis, MO
If you want a more intimate setting for learning how to achieve financial freedom, check out CampFi. It’s an all-inclusive weekend retreat, typically in an outdoor setting. Participants are kept to 60 or so to keep it more close-knit.
CampFi has grown from a single event to more than a handful of events at various locales across the U.S.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned veteran to the FIRE movement or just starting out. Everyone is welcome at CampFI. It’s an inclusive event designed to help you learn and grow along with others on a similar journey.
- Learn more about Camp FI.
- 2020 events: September 4-7 in St. Croix, MN; October 9-12 in LaGrange, TX; November 6-9 in Joshua Tree, CA
Camp Mustache is a 4-day retreat for fans of the Mr. Money Mustache blog. It’s designed for people interested in early retirement and financial independence. The number of Camp Mustache retreat locations seems to increase every year as more people take ownership of their financial journey.
Camp Mustache is a non-profit event, so your money goes directly towards costs involved with the event itself. It’s typically held in a natural setting if that appeals to you more than being stuck in a hotel or convention center all week.
- Learn more about Camp Mustache.
- 2020 event: May 22-24 in Seattle, WA; October 2-4 in Toronto
Another new financial conference kicking off in 2020 is EconoMe. This one-day event was created by Diania Merriam as a labor of love. At one point, Diania was $30k in debt. She was able to break her spending cycle and pay off her debt in just 11 months. Now, she’s created EconoMe, which has ties to the FIRE movement.
Taking place in the Queen City, Cincinnati, Ohio, EconoMe explores the new American Dream. Through keynote speakers and various workshops by financial experts, you’ll learn more about how to pursue and achieve financial independence.
Also included in the conference is a screening of the documentary, Playing With Fire, and a rockin’ after-party.
- Learn more about the EconoMe.
- 2020 event: March 7 in Cincinnati, OH
Dave Ramsey Events
Dave Ramsey is one of America’s foremost experts on money. Beyond his books, money-management systems, and nationally syndicated radio show, Dave Ramsey also hosts several personal finance conferences throughout the year. Here are three to check out in 2020:
SMART Conference: This one-day event features best-selling authors, speakers, and other leading relationship, money, career, and leadership experts. You’ll get valuable tips and tools to get you from where you are to where you want to be in your everyday life.
2020 event: April 4 in Orlando, FL
Financial Peace Live: Financial Peace University is one of Dave Ramsey’s most popular financial tools for learning how to pay off debt, save, and build wealth. Financial Peace Live packages those principles into an exciting one-night event. There are a few locations and dates for this event to choose from.
2020 event: February 11 in Gaithersburg, Maryland; April 30 in Dallas, TX; May 4 in Anaheim, CA; May 6 in Indianapolis, IN
Money & Marriage: The number one cause of arguments in marriage is money. Money & Marriage is a one-day event designed to help couples learn strategies for communicating more effectively about money with each other.
You’ll learn how to set goals together and have a renewed vision for your marriage. If you can’t attend the event, you can also sign up for live stream access online.
- 2020 event: February 14 in Nashville, TN
- Learn more about Dave Ramsey Events.
Started in 2017, the Lola Retreat is a personal finance conference specifically for women. Its goal is to empower women to take charge of their finances.
The weekend event is filled with impactful workshops and discussions on topics such as finances, relationships, investing, paying off debt, and mental health.
There is no full Lola Retreat scheduled in 2020. Instead, there will be a series of brunches and dinners across the country throughout the year.
- Learn more about Lola Retreat.
- 2020 event: TBD
Another powerful retreat geared specifically to women is Cents Positive. Women pursuing financial independence can come and join in the discussion, learn, and grow no matter where you’re at in your FI journey.
This weekend retreat is a social event designed to promote connection and discussion with women of all ages and backgrounds.
It features a few programmed events as well but is purposely constructed to not overwhelm attendees with non-stop sessions and activities. Childcare is available as well if needed.
- Learn more about Cents Positive.
- 2020 event: TBD
Morningstar Investment Conference
This three-day event is geared towards investing professionals. It’s a peek at where investing has been and where it’s heading in the future. You’ll hear from industry leaders and investing experts as they discuss the latest developments and share new perspectives on the market.
Investing professionals who attend will leave with ideas and tips to better serve investors. Don’t miss the exhibition Hall, where you can network with people from 100+ organizations, including Morningstar experts.
- Learn more about Morningstar Investment Conference.
- 2020 event: June 3-5 in Chicago, IL
BetterInvesting National Convention
If you’re looking for a conference for investors, BetterInvesting hosts a great national conference annually. Besides keynote talks from financial experts, you’ll also be able to attend dozens of investment classes and presentations throughout the event.
Topics at the BetterInvesting National Convention include beginner investing, retirement planning, taking control of your finances, advanced investing, selecting stocks, and more.
- Learn more about the BetterInvesting National Convention.
- 2020 event: May 14-17 in Dallas, TX
Of course, we can’t forget to mention FinCon. Technically, it’s not really a personal finance conference. It’s more of a marketing conference for financial influencers, bloggers, podcasters, journalists, YouTubers, writers, brands, and other entrepreneurs.
There are still many personal finance elements that are part of FinCon honestly. This past year featured talks on debt, student loans, side hustles, retirement, the FIRE movement, investing, real estate, and much more.
There are even community passes available for people who aren’t financial media but want to join in on the most exciting conference around.
- Learn more about FinCon.
- 2020 event: September 30-October 3 in Long Beach, CA
Why Should You Go to a Personal Finance Conference?
I think you understand that attending conferences can help when you want to learn something new or deeper. It’s also great for meeting friends and new people.
However, these days it’s easy to learn anything you want and even connect with interesting communities online. There are plenty of online summits, forums, and Facebook groups for you to find your tribe.
Our FinCon Facebook Group is extremely active and a great source for advice, information, and encouragement for thousands of people.
Why attend an in-person personal finance conference?
Well, I’m a bit biased, but I think there’s something special that happens when you show up in-person. We’re still human, after all. We have an innate need to connect, in real life, with other humans.
In his TEDx talk, Neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman shares how humans’ need to connect with other people is more fundamental than the need for food or shelter.
This kind of human connection is very hard to replicate online.
A good conference will also create surprising moments and a little serendipity. Take it from someone who attends easily 5 or 6 events each year. Just by showing up, positive things happen.
J.D. Roth said it best when he described new experiences and connections as like getting free lottery tickets. You never know what could happen. Just show up.
What Makes For a Good Conference?
After nine years of running a conference, I’ve learned a thing or two about bringing people together and building an experience that delights attendees. Here’s what I know to be true:
- A good conference will have interesting, relevant, and timely information taught by inspiring people.
- A good conference will have plenty of structured and unstructured time to connect (yes, “network”) with relevant people.
- A good conference will be in a comfortable setting allowing for unique and serendipitous experiences.
- A good conference will provide opportunities to ask questions and get answers without judgement.
- A good conference will allow you to take a break from your everyday life to focus on a specific area of interest.
- A good conference will give you action steps to achieve your goals.
I’ve attended dozens of events of the years. Some of them have been amazing, while others left me less than satisfied. Find a conference that will provide an experience as described above. It can make all the difference.
How to Make the Most of Your Conference Experience
If you’re planning on attending a personal finance conference this year, here are some tips to make your time more enjoyable and enriching.
Plan ahead: This is true of most things in life, but spending time planning before a conference can be the difference between having a great experience and being overwhelmed. What do you want to get out of the conference?
What questions do you want to get answered? Are there other people attending or speakers that you would like to meet? Make lists, contact people ahead of time, and come to the event prepared. Follow the conference’s social media accounts and join its Facebook group if it has one. Many conferences create event-specific mobile apps you can download. Advance planning can make your conference experience a rewarding time.
Become a smart packer: Know what to pack for your conference. It seems simple, but tons of people show up unprepared and wish they had packed better. Determine what kind of weather you’ll likely see while in town. If the event is in a convention center or hotel, meeting rooms often will have the air conditioning cranked up. Wearing layers can help you stay comfortable.
People tend to talk more at conferences because of networking opportunities. Pack cough drops/throat lozenges and have a water bottle with you when possible.
Pack comfortable shoes for the event. You’d be surprised how much walking you end up doing.
Food can be expensive at conferences. Pack some of your favorite snacks if you have room in your luggage.
If you end up at one of the camps mentioned above, think about supplies that might be helpful for that type of environment. Contact the event organizer if you want to get some ideas of what you’ll need.
Volunteer: Most conferences staff many event roles with volunteers. If you have the chance, volunteer, even if it’s just for a small role. It’s a great way to meet people, plus you’ll feel more connected to the event and its mission better.
Don’t try to see and do everything: Most conferences are jam-packed with keynotes, seminars, networking opportunities, parties, meetings, and other events. Event organizers want to offer as much value as possible to attendees. It’s like going to Disney World, though. It’s almost impossible to see and do everything in one trip.
The best thing you can do is look over the event itinerary ahead of time, make a list of “can’t miss” events and people you want to meet and go from there. Don’t try to be everywhere. It’s exhausting and can leave you stressed out and disappointed when you miss something.
Take advantage of programmed networking times: Most conferences build in networking opportunities, so attendees don’t have to do all the work. Attend these types of events. Often, these events are broken down into specific interests or niches. Find ones that matter to you and attend.
If you’re an introvert, attending planned networking events can be much better than trying to step out of your comfort zone on your own.
Take care of yourself: While it’s important to try and squeeze as much value as possible out of an event, take time to care for yourself. Take breaks when you need them. Get your rest. Don’t skip meals.
It’s nearly impossible to keep to a regular routine at conferences, but try to program in healthy habits from your personal life. Many conferences program in fitness opportunities or meetups. If not, find your hotel gym or go for a walk around the event area. Use hand sanitizer and regularly wash your hands.
Take someone with you: Whenever possible, go with someone else. Having a spouse, friend, or colleague with you can take the conference to another level. You can help each other when networking, have someone to discuss thoughts and ask questions, and even someone who can save you a seat.
I love personal finance conferences. I am biased, but I know the value of freedom that can be achieved when you learn to control your finances.
Conferences are an excellent opportunity to learn, grow, and ask important questions that can help you and your family long term.
Take time to look at each conference above and challenge yourself to attend at least one event in 2020 to improve your financial health.
Which conference(s) are you attending in 2020? Will you be attending the new Financial Freedom Summit?