I’m just back from a NON-medical conference called Fincon: “where money and media meet.” For personal finance enthusiasts of all stripes, Fincon draws bloggers, podcasters, digital course creators, and their biggest fans. There were many lessons from Fincon 2019, and it reaffirmed my desire to share my voice and experience in finding work-life balance and financial empowerment as an early career physician.
As a fledgling blogger, nearing one year into the journey, I set out to empower women interested in male-dominated fields like interventional radiology. Over the past year, I’ve helped aspiring and training doctors see what work-life balance can look like as a female physician in a surgical field. They can get a taste of what it’s like to be a mom on call. Part of the balance is taking care of yourself, your family, and your finances. At this stage in my career, I feel financially empowered, and I want you to feel that way too. I went to Fincon to figure out how to do that better.
At Fincon, Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, shared his vision of what living a rich life means to him, “outside the spreadsheet.” I embrace his message of intentional spending to maximize your quality of life, while ruthlessly cutting back on things that don’t add value or joy. In that vein, here are my own key takeaways from Fincon, where I got to meet and mastermind with some of my favorite bloggers and creators around the country.
Here are my top ways to FEEL rich, wherever you might find yourself in your financial journey right now.
People who talk about money are awesome. They have gotten comfortable with being uncomfortable, and it makes them great at learning and growing. Cultivate friendships with these kinds of people. They can expand the possibilities and support you. A perfect example is Bonnie Koo, a.k.a. WealthyMomMD. Not long ago, she blogged under the moniker MissBonnieMD. She gave me my first opportunity to guest post on her site. I loved being able to share my experience with her audience. What I admire about Bonnie most is she doesn’t shy away from any financial topic, from her past financial mistakes to the why and how of prenuptial agreements.
I met Xrayvsn, a fellow radiologist and FIRE blogger, who moved to a house an hour from Nashville before securing a job. He was inspired to buy by the two waterfalls on his property, a true slice of heaven. He found something he valued, and he went for it. I respect his ability to know what he wanted and commit to it, despite the risk.
During the conference, I palled around with Eliza MinimalMD, a giant brain in a small package. We bonded over our past Brown University affiliation and being married to musicians. She started her blog after observing dysfunctional and disempowering messages in the doctors around her, who felt trapped by their lifestyle choices. As a result, she ruthlessly cut back her work schedule, working less in a week than I do in one day.
Leti and Kenji of SemiRetiredMD are the penultimate learners, and their site is soaring in popularity. Two hospitalists who essentially share one part time position, they decided they wanted more from life than the hospitalist grind. They now teach other doctors how to gain rapid financial freedom through real estate investing. They epitomize the growth and abundance mindset, investing aggressively in their business and in living their best lives right now.
Bill Yount of PivotPointsMD took a risk in bringing his wife along to Fincon, thinking she’d be bored. She surprised him by thoroughly enjoying the conference, meeting and networking alongside him. Don’t we all wish we could bring our significant other along, to involve them with our interests, and introduce them to our tribe? Together, these two are clearly a powerful team.
PhysicianZen is a neighbor of mine down the road in Southern California. An Emergency Medicine and Critical Care doc, he is helping others in his spare time, outlining strategies for time management, productivity, and digital cleansing. One of his recent posts on Instagram involved bunny care. With his guidance, you too can enjoy a fluffy pet in your lap as you get shit done.
DrMcfrugal is an anonymous physician blogger in the personal finance space. During Fincon, he became a new friend. He told me, with impressive detail, about his family’s food budget. I realized I have never examined ours, though I strive to avoid any waste. Given that DrMcfrugal is vegan, I’m guessing my household spends more on meat and wine alone!
BC Krygowski is a financial independence/ retire early (FIRE) blogger who writes from the perspective of a dual physician household. Her family spent the summer on sabbatical in Medellin, Colombia. She, her husband, and her two boys have made real lifestyle changes and calculated financial moves to afford the flexibility they now enjoy.
PassiveIncomeMD was one of the people at Fincon who really took me under his wing. An OB anesthesiologist by training, he is also blogs on real estate as a side hustle. I identify with his chosen path: practicing in a field of medicine he loves, while not wanting to be at its mercy. His probing questions about my blog and what I wanted to accomplish were followed by several actionable suggestions. Even while taking his business to the next level, he was generous with his bandwidth, trying to help me, the new gal.
The Frugal Physician, the brain-child of Internist Disha Spath, is taking off, and she attributes her success to writing as though she’s speaking to her younger sister. People are loving her tips on how to travel, cook, and live on the cheap, while annihilating their student debt. Knowing your audience- knowing exactly whom you’re speaking to- is key in blogging and in life.
The Physician Philosopher wrote his own book while working full time and aggressively paying down student debt, all while commenting on the the White Coat Investor (WCI) forums faithfully each morning. With incredible work ethic and content, he built an audience to thousands of page views per day, until he became a WCI affiliate. Like many of our compatriots, he talks about the rampant problem of physician burnout and the salve of attaining financial independence.
Dawn Baker of PracticeBalance assured me she’d be easy to spot when we met for the first time in real life. It’s true, given her modelesque height and red hair, we met as soon as I arrived. She confided she wasn’t always so mindful about money, and used to be a big, and sometimes mindless spender.
Nowadays, she exemplifies mindful spending, sharing a room with a fellow conference-goer. It was insightful to hear the perspective of someone who came from a family of spenders, and who later reevaluated her spending. She did this in order to reach financial independence while working less and spending more time with her daughter.
Michelle Baker, social media manager extraordinaire at The White Coat Investor, was the one who chose the perfect image to accompany my guest post on their site, entitled “You Can’t Wish Your Student Debt Away.” I got to thank her personally for the cheeky Cinderella image paired with my post. Michelle was there for the gelato hang, and always sported a smile. She knows FinCon is all about the people you meet, and the alliances you make. The opportunities to work together are endless. After all, we are all trying to help people improve their financial lives!
Physician on FIRE recently retired in his forties, reaching financial independence with a large income and modest spending habits. Now, he’s transitioning to semi-retired life as he continues blogging, while traveling and road schooling his kids. Despite the massive life transition, and the hundreds of people he was connected to at Fincon, he still took the time to promote my little blog. Blog on, my celebrity blogger friend…
Imagine meeting the people most nerdy on the subjects you care about. Imagine sharing many of the same values, and converging on the Washington Hilton to talk about it for days. This is what we did. We became fast-friends, and happily, we have the means to keep in touch electronically. I am inspired to amplify these thought leaders, and create together.
That’s my wrap-up of lessons from Fincon 2019. I went to Fincon with the mission of learning to serve my audience better. It was a definite win. I could go on about the historic venue, the splashy logo, the playful vibe, and the excellent food. If you love learning about personal finance, content creation, or starting a business, you may be a future Finconner. Fincon 2020 will take place in Long Beach, CA.
I already have my influencer pass, and hope to see you there!
In the meantime, let me know which Finconners you are checking out, and what kind of content you’d like to see from me!
The path can be riddled with failures, even if you're doing it right. In this recording, I share some of my gaffes with you.