I saw Francesca wrote a dear debt letter and had to share. Enjoy!
I have been wanting to write a letter to you for quite some time, and now that I am nearing the end of our journey together, I think that this is the right moment.
You have made me feel so low, so incredibly sad and melancholy, and very alone. It’s been a frustrating relationship for me, because I know that I am not bad with money. I am, in fact, very good with saving money and being frugal – squeezing every single penny out and never spending any money on myself has become second nature to me now. But with my daughter at home, I felt that I could not earn any more money than I was earning working from home in the evening – a job I have done since she was 1, and which I still do now. I would have her all day with me, and then as soon as she was asleep, I would then work until 11:30pm, if lucky.
The reason for my relationship with you was due to lack of support, and not earning enough money. That may sound like I am passing the buck, but I know that I would not be in this situation if I’d have had the support that I needed – that most people have. Also, I was stupid then and bought some things for my daughter on my credit card, because I was feeling like a terrible mum in not being able to buy anything for her. When I say I was not able to buy anything for her, that it exactly what I mean. Nothing. It was incredibly hard for me, because she is an amazing girl, with a fierce imagination and a love for new experiences and places. It wasn’t so much the materialistic side that I struggled with (the endless stream of toys), but not being able to take her anywhere, as I did not have a car, or any spare money to pay for entry into somewhere.
Social media played a big part in the money that I put on my card because of a few things I bought for my daughter, because I was so exposed to images of people who decorated their child’s room that made it a magical play area, with toys that were colour coordinated, with these children dressed in the prettiest frilly dresses…and it made me think, why shouldn’t my daughter get that? Although I admit I am incredibly biased, there is no doubt in that she is a beautiful girl, with a huge heart and strong personality. She is everything to me, and I want to give everything to her.
Once I had begun this relationship with you – a short one, by a lot of standards – I felt incredibly trapped. There I was, with a little girl, and a tiny income. How on earth was I going to pay off this debt? I didn’t know what to do, and you had a hold over me. My minimum payments were still more than I wanted to pay; I didn’t want to pay anything!
To be fair to you debt, you made me wrack my brains and come up with some ways that I could earn more money. I had looked into earning more before, but I couldn’t find anything that I could do around my daughter, and that didn’t require any upfront costs. With studying part time at the University too, I was strapped for time, and wanted to spend every waking moment with my daughter – the most amazing little person of all.
Being aware that debt is not a good thing, I had a fire under me and was determined to do the best that I could to get rid of you as fast as I possibly could, without needing to pay for childcare, or tie myself down to something that would eat up all of my time and energy.
The best thing that you made me do, is begin this blog. I honestly don’t think that I would have started this blog if I hadn’t have been in debt. The reason that I say that is because although I had been living on a very small income with a child, it wasn’t until I got into debt that I began to feel true despair in my situation – I felt as though it would be impossible for me to escape.
So I thank you debt, for pushing me into starting this blog, where I have been welcomed with open arms by the personal finance community, and have discovered so many blogs that I may not have found without starting one of my own. The other blogs have provided me with endless support, encouragement and inspiration, which have been a true blessing. So whilst I may make out that our relationship has been wholly bad, I do appreciate the lessons that I have learned from being with you. I am brimming with optimism, it pours out from me and makes me feel a mixture of happy and tearful. I am indescribably excited for what is to come, because I know that it will be the best feeling to finally be free. You only wanted to give me what I thought that I wanted, and you did that so well. However, I was not aware of the effects that this would have, and know now that I need to get out of this unhealthy relationship.
As I have mentioned in my first sentence, we are now coming to the end of our relationship, and I could not be happier. I am obsessed with writing down every single scrap of money that I have, and have figured out when I can become debt free. I can become debt free in March 2017. I feel very nervous writing that down! But I have worked it out based on the extra money that is guaranteed from now until then, which falls under: pay from my new part time job, rent from lodger, earnings from dog boarding that I have booked in, and blog money that is due in. These are all guaranteed amounts of money that I will be getting from now until then (some of which I already have in my account), so I know without a doubt that my debt can be paid off by then.
Unfortunately in my main job, my pay is done per project, which means I have no idea how much I will be paid every month! Over the winter, my work becomes much slower, so I need to put any extra money to the side to cover the bills just in case I am not paid enough for these. I have put some to the side already from things like overtime, dog boarding, matched betting, eBay selling. If I knew how much I would be getting paid, I could put extra money into paying off my debt earlier, but for now I am keeping it to the side in case I need it for my bills.
The thing that I hate the most about you is that you are preventing me from doing the things that I really want to do. If you are wondering what these things are, I can give you some examples! I really want to take my daughter on holiday next year. She is 5 years old now and her absolute favourite place to go is to the beach. She loves the sand, the sea, the ice-cream, the games – all of it. However, as we live in England, the weather is not always desirable for heading down to the beach. We are lucky in that we are about 45 minutes away from a great beach, but I wouldn’t let her swim in the sea (it’s brown!). Taking her abroad to somewhere that is hot, would be high on my goals. I can just see her face now, lit up in happiness and excitement. When I take her to the beach near us, she squeals with joy for the whole day. As a parent, there is nothing more that you could want.
So my first goal after getting rid of you may sound like an easy one – but nevertheless it is one that so far I have not managed to achieve for her. I have many other things that I wish to do such as: buy a different house (love the house, hate the area), start saving, start investing, and become more financially secure. I want to feel more relaxed about my money, because right now, it stresses me out. Now that’s not to say that you haven’t tempted me to climb back into your clutches…I can fully see your charm and appeal. And that’s the beauty of it – I have woken up to the techniques that you use to keep me and win me over, and I see through them. Once I am free from your clutches, I will not ever return. I am so excited to be free, and be the true me. Not the person who is feeling down about being stuck with you, but the person who makes big plans for the future, and will work as hard to achieve them as I have worked to get you out of my life.
When we have broken up once and for all, look out for me – I will be the person with the biggest smile on her face that you’ll ever see.
See you on the other side. – F.
A year ago, after paying off all my debt I was looking for a way to give back. After all, my blog was just the fuel I needed to pay off debt and helped me launch a new career. To say I’m grateful for my readers and this community is an understatement.
So I started donating $50 per month toward my readers to help them pay off debt. Many of my readers email me desperate, scared, and sometimes suicidal. The weight of debt can be so heavy. I knew that small amount wouldn’t pay off all of their debt, but I knew that this small gesture could mean a lot.
Throughout 2016, J and I brainstormed how we could do something even bigger and better. We enjoyed helping someone in need once a month, but we kept thinking about making it more impactful.
Based on many conversations, we decided to launch #DebtDrop and get more people involved. Our goal is to amplify what we’ve already been doing in a more official capacity.
You see, J. recently launched the Rockstar Community Fund, a philanthropic initiative aimed at helping others directly with financial contributions.
#DebtDrop is one of its signature projects that I am leading. Our goal is to help people pay off debt and feel less alone. To gather the strength of the community to make real financial change in people’s lives.
To me, the whole goal of the Rockstar Community Fund is to show that a small financial contribution can have a big impact. Through the community fund and #DebtDrop, we can help others directly.
There are many ways to get involved in the Rockstar Community Fund. I love the #GivingCards project and think the Just-In-Time giving initiative is SO needed in the community. For #DebtDrop, we’re looking to harness the power of community and pay off some debt!
Being in debt can take a major toll on your life and we want to help people who may be on their last thread of hope.
If you want to get involved, you can:
Match $50. You can give directly to the Rockstar Community Fund and ask to earmark your gift for #DebtDrop. If you’re a blogger, you can also give directly to one of your readers – it doesn’t have to go through the RCF. But please let us know about your contribution so we can keep track. We’d love to share your story and know how this is making an impact.
Nominate someone who needs us. If you know someone who could use a little help, specifically to pay off debt, let us know. You can email me and we will take it into consideration. (Bloggers – keep an eye out on the comments/emails you get from readers. You may have someone who reads your blog who could benefit from this!)
Once a month, we will be helping someone pay off debt — and hope to do it bigger and better than before. The best part is that the recipients aren’t expecting help at all. They don’t ask for it. We surprise them and many of them are shocked, moved and inspired to keep going. The feedback I’ve gotten in the past year has inspired me so much to give back. You really never know how a small amount of money can help someone who feels hopeless about their debt. I know that we can make a difference.
There are other ways to get involved with the Rockstar Community Fund as a whole, too.
Share the project and spread the love! 🙂
Hey everyone! We have a moving dear debt letter from Heather today. She is proof that so much can change when serious illness hits…and also is proof that you can overcome so much. Heather Von St. James is a mesothelioma advocate living in Roseville, Minnesota with her husband, Cam, and daughter, Lily Rose. Heather loves gardening, Starbucks and working on behalf of mesothelioma awareness. To reach Heather, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve had a long and tenuous relationship, you and I. You seduced me way back in the day of “Columbia House Records.” I could get all those CDs for just a penny, but only being a teenager I didn’t read the fine print. I didn’t realize I was on the hook for more. See, my parents never discussed money with me. I was never taught how to budget, how not to use credit, or for that fact, how TO use credit. My parents had their own financial struggles, and all I knew was that sometimes there wasn’t much food in the house and my mom cried a lot.
Now, a lifetime later, I understand all too well how you destroy lives. Oh, you are a temptress, though. All the possibilities, the promise of more than you can deliver. And you are so easy to get! Student loans, credit cards, store cards, places just willing to give you a chance because of a number.
I learned the hard way. I almost lost everything I had to realize that you were no good. See, I got sick with a cancer called mesothelioma. That is all it took. I lost my job, and my health, and faced the very real possibility of losing my home, my marriage, and my life. On top of everything, the medical bills started piling up. I have never been so afraid in my life.
There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. Things like “get disability insurance,” “those shoes aren’t worth it,” “a purse can’t pay the bills.” But I don’t know if I would have listened. I was lucky though. My family helped out. My parents, who had made so many mistakes in their youth, learned their lessons and were able to help us through a tough time. They paid off our debt, and I was able to defer my student loans due to financial hardship, but all this did was postpone the debt for later.
I fought for my life, through surgery, chemo and radiation, and while I could, I paid you down. I did everything I could to get rid of you. I’m still learning all these years later. You are still tempting. Seductive. You say things like “C’mon, everyone’s doing it, everyone has debt, it’s not a big deal… “ but as I get older and am planning for my daughter’s future, I know that it’s all lies.
No amount of credit feels as good as money in the bank. So as each month goes by and my balances get smaller, and I celebrate paying you off, I’ve vowed to break up with you forever. I’m done with the one-sided abusive relationship and have gotten into a secure and loving one. Goodbye forever debt, I am not going to miss you.
Heather Von St. James
Hey debt fighters! Today we have a lovely dear debt letter from E. E is a personal finance blogger at Joyfully Frugal where she blogs about aggressively paying off nearly $70,000 in debt while working to live a more minimalist, simple, and fruitful life. She has sought inspiration in all corners of the internet for this journey and would love to connect with you to find common ground and hear your story.
Thank you. Have I said that yet? I know I’ve spent a lot of time bemoaning your presence in my life (like, A LOT of time), but really I owe you some gratitude. Every month when I see your little payment notification pop up I feel no small measure of dread and stuck-ness. Like we’ll be together ’til death do us part. I don’t want that. In fact, I’m aggressively trying to get rid of you. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thankful.
Kate Northrup talks about bills as invoices for blessings already received. I love that concept and the reframe it implies. In fact, I love it so much that it has shifted my entire way of thinking about you, Debt. You see, your presence in my life is really just an indicator of some pretty major blessings that I’ve received – chief among them a high-quality education, a new nesting place with my partner, and a jump on some professional development for my future business.
So yes, I’d like you gone. I’d like to not be indentured to anyone or anything. That’s a fact. AND I’m also, simultaneously, grateful – grateful that I had the opportunity to take you on so that I could afford myself numerous other opportunities. Weird how one little switch of perspective can take you from shame and blame and sadness to lightness and appreciation and even (dare I say it) joy.
So, while you’re still in my life, I’d like the opportunity to thank you. You deserve that. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to reduce you to a zero balance.
With appreciation for blessings already received,
One year later.
365 days since I made my last payment on my student loans.
Two degrees. $81,000 in student loans. Nine years of repayment. Nine years of having my money pay for my past, rather than my future.
I paid the minimum on my debt for the first five years, but after graduating from NYU and taking on a lot more debt, I knew I had to get serious. I ended up paying off $68,000 in 4.5 years.
My journey into debt was easy. Getting out of debt? It was the hardest thing I’ve done (aside from building a business).
There were moments when I felt so overwhelmed by my debt. When I realized I had taken on so much debt, but no full-time job was in sight. I felt consumed by debt and felt that every choice I made was predetermined by what I owed.
The lack of choice felt so limiting, so constricting. Finding myself on food stamps shortly after moving to Portland was a personal low. The master’s degree from a fancy private school — which I thought would be the key to career success — suddenly seemed meaningless.
I couldn’t help but think that everything I had done up to that point was a mistake. I was stupid for quitting my job and going to New York. I was an idiot for getting a performing arts degree from a private school and taking on more debt than I ever made in any previous annual salaries.
I carried the shame, guilt, depression and anxiety with me. The burden was heavy and the financial cost, very real. At my highest, I paid over $300 a month in interest.
When I found myself feeling hopeless and alone — after trying therapy and dealing with daily bouts of tears and anxiety fits — I turned to writing. I started this blog on January 3, 2013.
In many ways, this blog saved my life. I don’t say that lightly or with a hint of a hyperbole. It helped me climb out of the deep, dark place I found myself in.
It helped me acknowledge the feelings I had and made me realize I was not alone. I found cheerleaders, a community, and a creative outlet.
Through this blog, I created a new career as a freelance writer and event planner. How everything changed.
Making that last payment a year ago was such a surreal experience. I was in debt my entire adult life and for the first time, I was free.
Once I saw my balance at zero, I started to hyperventilate. It was not the reaction I was expecting.
But it felt like the last straw, the final “goodbye” in a love affair that was both exhilarating and tumultuous. Though I started a blog about breaking up with debt, actually breaking up with debt turned out to be far more emotional than I thought.
Who was I without debt? What would life be like without monthly payments? The fear of the unknown scared me. After about ten minutes of freaking out, I started to move toward excitement. I screamed and jumped up and down like a child on Christmas day. In twenty minutes, I went through all the emotions. Then, a breakthrough.
A feeling of lightness. A burden lifted. A breath of fresh air. I will never forget that feeling.
Over the past year, I have been able to keep that lightness and actually live the life I dreamed of. No longer was debt my master. I was in control of my choices.
This year, I finally got to act on what I wanted — I moved back to Los Angeles to be near family and be in a big city again. I celebrated and finally got to take my mom abroad to Italy. I traveled more than I ever have, both for business and pleasure. It was everything I wanted and everything I dreamed of. The guilt of spending money on things I wanted or needed was magically gone. I could use money for things I wanted. I started investing and saving for my future. My money belonged to me.
Though all my debt-free dreams did come true, it has still been a tough year in many ways. I had to start a new relationship with money. I had to figure out who I was without debt.
I increased my income even more and hadn’t realized I went into another tax bracket. After dealing with the expenses of moving and going to Italy, I then found out I owed the tax man everything I saved up. My savings went back to zero and I had to start over. It felt like a financial setback, though I was grateful to at least have the money in my account and not go back into debt.
I also found myself as the sole income earner. We knew moving to LA was a risk, but it was worth it. Luckily, I have a job I can do from anywhere, but my partner has struggled to find consistent work. Things are starting to change, but as you can imagine this affected my finances.
On top of the financial stress of taxes and making sure bills are paid, I experienced so many business growing pains this year. The more successful I got, the harder things got. I’ve dealt with some setbacks that have made me rethink everything. Some things that have deeply affected me. All of this affected my mental and physical health, too. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sick in my whole life as I was this year.
I am starting to make changes so that I can stay well and continue to thrive in my career and continue to be debt-free. There’s no doubt, though, that my first year being debt-free had the highest highs but also the lowest lows.
In the end, it was all worth it. To be here. With this blog, this book, this community that changed my life.
For everyone still fighting the good fight out of debt, I want you to know that it is possible. Life is much sweeter after debt and choices open up for you. Getting out of debt is so hard, but once you do, your whole life is waiting for you.
Hey everyone! I’m so happy to introduce you to Jennifer, who’s a new blogger and share her dear debt letter with you all. Say hello! Jennifer Dane is a personal finance blogger at Debt Free Utopia and has a passion for inspiring and educating others through blogging about her journey to overcoming $78,000 worth of debt. Her philosophy is that being debt free will lead to being a fulfilled person and community member.
We are not friends. You came into my life like a slimy, smug boyfriend in my teenage years. I did not know the damage you caused until I couldn’t pursue my passions. My parents never warned me about the dangers of you, and after they had known I was with you, they never even said a word.
You have followed me with every move I have made and have grown more unmanageable every year. We’ve even yo-yo money dieted with no avail, and I think it is the time we part ways. You are constantly on my mind, and I want to be able to live my life without your restrictions.
When you are in my life, I cannot fulfill my dreams. So, I am done. I know it will take me years to move on, and it will be a challenge, but it is over. I want you to be completely out of my life by the end of 2022 (hopefully sooner). Farewell, debt. You are not welcome here anymore.
I’ve been quiet here and for good reason. These past few weeks have been the toughest. A perfect storm of political nightmare, professional setbacks, and personal turmoil set the tone for my days. It seemed as soon as I would recover from one thing, another thing occurred. I couldn’t quite fully recover. So I’ve been trying to keep up with my work, but also practice extreme self-care. I’m trying to ride out this tough moment and find the hope and silver lining somewhere.
I wanted to write an eloquent post about what to do when everything goes wrong, but I realized I still don’t have any answers. I’m only left with questions.
Where do you find the words when words don’t seem enough?
How do you move on after falling on your face?
How do you let go when you’re not ready?
How can you forgive yourself for mistakes?
How do you recover from the hurt, the anger, the fear?
Where can you put all your disappointments when you no longer want to carry them?
How do you get out of bed when hardly anything seems worth it?
How do you stay strong when you feel anything but?
How can you remain vocal when you feel shut down?
How do you get over foreboding uncertainty?
I guess through time the answers will present themselves some way, some how, but for now, I do the work. I show up. I try not to recoil under the stress and difficulties of certain situations. I try to not let certain setbacks affect my confidence or derail my productivity.
But after all, I am human. A sensitive one at that. One of my greatest assets is my ability to feel and be empathetic toward others — I think it’s what makes me relatable and has added to my success. On the other hand, when things go wrong, I feel them deeply. I beat myself up about it and continue to question everything. I want to do well in everything I do. I want people to like me. I want everything to work out. In life, bad things can happen, and instead of dwelling on those things, it’s time to persevere.
As Bukowski said, “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”
Hey everyone! We have a moving dear debt letter from Kelly. Kelly has been in an abusive relationship with debt since her teenage years, when her father introduced her to credit cards and other debt. She had allowed debt to control her life, leading her down the paths of consumer credit consolidation, bankruptcy, and financial ruin. For some time, she has been trying to break free and leave debt behind for good. She has been unable to do so until now. Kelly likens her situation to having had an addiction that she is realizing for the first time. Today, she is releasing herself from the fierce grip debt has had on her for all these years. With over $30k in debt still weighing on her, she welcomes the freedom of becoming debt-free, climbing onward and upward.
I don’t recall exactly how old I was when we were first introduced. However, I do recall feeling immediately enamored by your wit, charm and seductive ways. You told me the world was my oyster, and all I had to do was pay the minimum balance each month. Brilliant, I thought. We began to get to know each other and I fell in lust immediately.
However, your sweetness quickly faded, and you began controlling and manipulating me with false promises. I began to feel shame that you were in my life. I was embarrassed by my lack of self-control around you. Yet, your tentacles were in deep, and each time I tried pulling them from my flesh, I would bleed and cry. You just laughed knowing the power you had over me. You snarled and snickered in delight knowing I didn’t have the strength, determination or confidence to rip free from your grasp.
And so I stayed. Again and again, I tried to leave, making a little progress each time, but always falling back, scared to really leave you for good. You convinced me I was nothing without you, and I believed you. Fuck! I BELIEVED you. I believed I needed you to succeed, to enjoy life, to really LIVE. Oh the lies! How did I believe so many lies? You have caused me financial ruin, and I have allowed it. I have been addicted to you like someone on crack, always awaiting their next fix.
What an “a ha”! I never realized I was addicted to you until now. What an incredible epiphany realized. It’s like the light switch has been in a perpetually off position. It was taped down and all I needed to do was remove the tape, flip the switch and see the light eradicating darkness of the lies within. All this time I thought I had issues with money. You were deceiving me all along.
Today, November 6, 2016- I take my power back. The truth has been revealed. You can deceive me no longer. I am complete without you. No more seductive games shall you win. I free myself from your bondage and walk away never to return, never to look back.
I hear you mumbling that it’s not over and that I will come back to you. I hear you and acknowledge that this has been my pattern. You are right. I had many lessons to learn, and I thank you for what you taught me. We made this agreement a long time ago, I realize this now and today is the day we say goodbye. I bless you for the lessons.
I release myself in grace and gratitude knowing that I am free, completely free from this moment forward and forever more. It is my time to amass wealth beyond my wildest imaginations. I am a money magnet. Thank you again for all the lessons.
In Self Love and Freedom,
Hey everyone! We have a fantastic dear debt letter from Brittney. Brittney took out student loans to get her undergraduate degree, then promptly did everything wrong. She spent years in denial before finally coming to terms with, then learning how to manage, her debt. She now works as a writer and editor for BadCredit.org, where she uses her personal financial journey as inspiration to help others overcome their own mistakes, and make better financial decisions.
I owe you an apology.
I hate to admit it, but for the longest time, I hated you. I couldn’t even stand the thought of you — except to pass blame.
Every time I made a financial stumble, you were my go-to excuse. For years I blamed you. Each silly, ignorant, or downright stupid mistake became entirely your fault. I was so sure that without you, everything would have been exactly as I wanted it to be. I convinced myself that you were the source of my troubles — and you had done it all on purpose.
But none of it was your fault. It was mine.
It took a while, I’m ashamed to say, but I finally accepted the truth. I realized that you weren’t out to get me. You didn’t try to ruin my credit, or put me behind in my financial goals. You couldn’t have known that I would make so many poor decisions, and get into so much trouble.
You just wanted to help me go to school — and you did.
You helped me venture away from home for the first time, to cross the country to the big city, where I could see my academic dreams unfold. You helped pay for classes, books, and even the roof over my head. You gave me the education for which I had been pining, and all I gave you was grief.
So, I’m sorry.
You weren’t the bad guy in our relationship; I was. I’m sorry I blamed you for all these years, when I should have taken responsibility for my own mistakes. I’m sorry I spent so long hating you, instead of fixing me. (Oh, and I’m sorry for all the horrible things I said about you to my friends.)
I’ve learned a lot since we first met. I’m done blaming you, and I’m done hiding from you. In fact, I’d even like us to be friends. I think we could accomplish some really amazing things, working together.
Here’s to the future.
I am slowly coming back from the dead. After FinCon, I felt like I was run over by a truck and was so exhausted. Just a few days later, I realized it was more than exhaustion — I was actually sick.
I knew I was going to be traveling to New York for my girl Shannon’s Financial Gym opening, so after a few days I went to the doctor. I got a dose of antibiotics and steroids and thought I was on the right track to healing.
Unfortunately, the medication didn’t really help that much and I was sick during my whole trip in New York. I pretty much stayed inside except the five or so hours I supported Shannon with her event.
I was so relieved to come home, but wasn’t getting any better. So I went to the doctor again as I thought it was odd I wasn’t getting any better, even after medication (which I hate, but felt compelled to go along with because of the travel).
Luckily, I didn’t have pneumonia or mono or anything serious….just a serious, viral flu and I was ordered to rest.
For the five days after that I cleared my schedule, asked for extensions, and pretty much just apologized to everyone who emailed me and laid in bed. It was really tough as I felt like I wasn’t getting better, even with the rest.
But eventually, it lessened and I’m mostly healed now. I say mostly, because I still seem to be more tired than usual.
I’m on the mend now, catching up furiously — what sucks is I lost thousands of dollars in productivity being sick for two weeks. And it’s bad timing as I have a pre-planned vacation to New Orleans next week for my birthday.
I plan on writing a separate post about this, but it’s so important if you are self-employed to fund your own sick and vacation time. I just started a few months ago and didn’t have enough in there, but now I plan on stashing more away so I’m not stressed about money when illness strikes.
That’s the update with me, but really I’ve been meaning to tell you all about FinCon for weeks! But that damn illness delayed things a bit.
Even though I got deathly ill after FinCon, I had a blast….and got very little sleep, which probably was part of the reason I got so sick.
This was my third FinCon — and the biggest yet. Around 1200 people attended. You could definitely tell it’s grown leaps and bounds in just a few years.
Every day was jam-packed, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I arrived on Wednesday – just in time to help set up a booth for my client Centsai. My colleague, Tonya Rapley, and I created this park/patio theme for the booth, which was fun. I drove down with my own patio furniture, picnic basket and snacks. Overall, I’d say it was a success.
It’s funny, for so many years my main side hustle was being a brand ambassador. To be able to help design a booth experience was a new challenge though.
That evening, I helped my friend Jason Vitug with the Road to Financial Wellness finale. As some of you may know, I’ve been working behind the scenes on a lot of this and helped out with events in select cities. This is my second year working with Jason on this crazy project, and I can’t help but say yes because Jason is just the type of person that draws you in with his passion.
I am so happy to report it was a success. I was there for the first event in New Jersey and the second one in New York, so to be there for the final event in San Diego was really special. I was so proud of Jason and all he’s accomplished. Even though it’s been crazy, it’s been an awesome opportunity to work on this. We’re already talking about The Road 3.0.
Thursday, I went back to my brand ambassador roots and worked the Centsai booth for a while.
In the evening, my colleague Tonya and I hosted a Women and Money conversation with Fidelity and 30+ female personal finance bloggers. We hosted a dinner on a yacht in the harbor, and there are pretty much no words for how perfect it was.
I couldn’t believe this was my job. My favorite thing about self-employment is being able to turn ideas into something concrete, and I definitely did that this FinCon.
I love that my ideas and opinions matter. In previous jobs, I always felt like I was muted. My thoughts didn’t matter. There was a chain of command to get approval and the answer was always “no.”
Friday, me and the ladies of Martinis and Your Money happy hour recorded a live podcast. Of course, there were crazy stories and shenanigans, but it was so great to hang out and chat live.
That night, I went to a lovely dinner with PenFed, a happy hour with SoFi, and then to Ignite. Ignite is an event with 5-minute talks, and it was so good!
Afterward, there was a dance party, and I was definitely one of the last ones standing. I think I danced for five hours straight. You see, I love working for myself, but am by myself at home a lot. I’m an extrovert, so seeing everyone and dancing just made me so happy. Good times.
Saturday was the Plutus Awards. I was shocked that I was nominated for four Plutus Awards — best debt blog, best book, best freelancer, and blog of the year.
I ended up winning best debt blog again. I have to say, I was pretty shocked. Since becoming debt-free and building my business, I haven’t given this blog the attention I want. And I hate that.
But I am still passionate about helping people get out of debt and breaking the emotional stigma around debt. I am so grateful for this community and all the support. Thank you to everyone who has believed in this project and supporting me!
Truth be told, I didn’t go to many sessions and that’s because I was working a lot. I did end up going to some sessions to increase my productivity, enhance my website and more. I saw Jean Chatzky record live which was great. I heard my girl Patrice Washington rock the stage. When I did participate, I always learned something and left feeling inspired.
But mostly I went to work and connect with old friends and meet new people. I loved meeting so many new bloggers!
You’re probably wondering, “Should I go to FinCon?” If you were creepin’ on the #FinCon16 hashtag and feeling overwhelmed with FOMO…I hate to break it to you, but you missed out! #sorrynotsorry.
I have always said it and I will say it again. FinCon is 1000% worth it. I went for the first time two years ago when I was in debt and had just quit my job. As someone eager to pay off debt, I wondered if it was really worth the investment.
The answer? Unequivocally, yes. Of course, I don’t recommend getting into more debt just to go to a conference, but if you can afford it, it can do wonders for your business and blog. While my blog is my baby and I try to keep it pretty simple and not too salesy, it has led to my freelance writing and event planning career. I can honestly say I would NOT be here today with my success, with my book deal, with all of this work without FinCon.
I have made lifelong friendships. It’s funny – I have more “internet” friends than real-life friends.
At FinCon, I was able to connect with my current editors…and pitch new ones. There is something to be said about meeting face-to-face and having a chance to connect. It can solidify relationships and boost your career.
The knowledge, networking and fun you can have at FinCon are all worth the price in my opinion. Especially now, when the price is dirt cheap.
Also, the hotel may seem expensive, but I think staying at the hotel is key to networking success. You have no idea how many late-night lobby sessions there are. And those are typically the best. So even though I could save money by staying elsewhere, splurging on the conference hotel is totally worth it in my opinion.
I am still trying to savor the moment of all the success and fun of FinCon, even though it was muffled with this damn sickness.
So in short, FinCon was a busy, crazy, awesome success, and I’ll definitely be back. Will I see you next year in Dallas? Any questions about FinCon you want me to answer? Do you have any recommendations for New Orleans?