If there is one word to describe EconoMe 2021, it's community. The conference really highlighted why you should pursue financial independence with a community, and EconoMe is one hell of a community to be a part of.
This conference pushed to make FIRE fun for everyone. There were hikes, breakout sessions, speed dating (love and wealth baby), and just an overall party vibe. There were six keynote speakers who were so much fun I forgot I was learning. Here’s a Review of these six excellent speakers. Please, I highly recommend checking each one out. They have a lot of great information on Financial Independence.
Bitches Get Riches: or “Are You Not Entertained?”
The dynamic pyromaniac duo… my god were they great. This duo told their stories of financial and professional turmoil in their early 20s. Some of these stories feel like they could have been straight from “The Office”. From bosses forgetting a raise… for two years (literally forgot), to being paid half the amount a colleague was making, this FIRE duo stressed that you’re worth more and don’t settle on being exploited by your boss.
I won’t spoil the ending, so keep an eye on their Twitter to learn more, but a game of mad words with the audience was so much fun. Suffice it to say the crowd helped one of the members write her financial freedom manifesto.
Check out the Bitches Get Riches Blog here.
Naseema McElroy: This Financial Sh*t just got Real
Have you been in debt? Have you been in $1 Million of debt? Naseema has, and she tells her story of how she broke out of her cycle of debt to pay off $1 Million and climb to financial freedom (and buy two Teslas, because she loves nice stuff). Naseema was fun, funny, but most importantly, she was open about her journey. It was hard to hear about her ex-husband’s abuse. It was sad to hear that, since she was the breadwinner, she had to continue to pay alimony to her abusive ex-husband after the divorce.
Her battle to get her life together after this ordeal went beyond her financials, but thru this ordeal, she was able to focus on paying down her debt. A key drive was intention. She focused on one debt at a time and paid them down. A key realization was that her McMansion was ridiculous (and half her debt) so getting rid of it pushed her towards financial freedom.
Naseema’s story is a hard-fought memoir of struggling through the realities of life to obtain financial freedom and happiness. Check out Naseema’s blog, financiallyintentional.com to learn more of Naseema’s journey and successes.
Jeremy Schneider: Success is about Giving Back
Jeremy Schneider is a retired multi-millionaire who at 36 sold his tech firm for millions. But before this moment, it was truly a life of ramen and scraping. At the end of his speech, he showed a video of his bank account the moment the millions came in. The crowd cheered as it was the moment he achieved financial freedom.
But his story wasn’t about making it. His story was about giving and how each time he gave to someone it helped to propel his business. Situation after situation, he would talk about this feeling of scarcity when someone wasn’t doing what he needed or was asking for something that could take resources from his business. Was this feeling rage? Insecurity? It was about feeling like he was being taken advantage of. And each time, when he suppressed that feeling and instead gave back, it profoundly helped his business succeed. For all the examples he gave, the one that stood out was the story of his mom. His mom invested some money into his business for 30% of the company. She also was working with him (she had a computer science degree too!). One day, he was frustrated because he felt his mom wasn’t doing enough. He was contemplating confronting her about it. He thought he may have given away too much of his company to her. But once these feelings of scarcity subsided, he realized that even if the company sold for millions, he wouldn’t care because his mom would be a part of that gain. Giving led to so many opportunities for him. It led to a working team that cared and to the acquisition of his company. So as you strive for your own financial independence, remember to give back!
Check out Jeremy’s new venture, personalfinanceclub.com. It’s a great venture that is trying to help people learn about investing and personal finance.
Paula Pant: mis-adventures of FIRE
Paula Pant is smart, financially independent, and single! She would’ve been at the speed dating session if she hadn’t forgotten to shave one of her legs. Paula Pant is all about being able to afford anything. Her story tells of her journey with her college friend as they traveled across Europe and Egypt. But even though she got head lice in Spain and roughed it through Europe, she was able to afford it! When you put your mind onto something, you can afford it too!
Learn how to afford anything at Paula’s blog affordanything.com
Carl Jenson – Why aren’t you laughing at my dumpster FIRE?
Oh Carl… I am not going summarize or review his talk. Why? Because I would not at all do it justice. I could not stop laughing the entire time. This is one those “you had to be there” talks. Carl was great so please go watch him at the next FIRE event he speaks at. At the end of his speech, his theme was “What do you do once you achieve financial freedom?” Carl achieved financial independence at 43 and his question is a great one. He stressed that “money doesn’t buy you happiness”. Really, FIRE is about having the time to spend with family and friends, and that is what you strive for with FIRE.
Read about Carl’s journey to financial freedom at 1500days.com
Angel Cellucci: Hospitals are Capitalistic Jerks!
Angel is pissed. With a ton of experience in the medical field, she knows the messy details of medical fraud. There is no way you can protect your financial independence if you’re throwing your money to hospitals, and Angel is all about keeping your money in your pockets. Some of her examples are just downright exploitive. Hospitals may bill you $50 for a box of Kleenex, or up charge you for services you didn’t get. One especially heinous example was a woman getting charged monthly for prescriptions she only used annually. The lesson of this FIRE side chat: pay attention to your medical bills and assume the hospitals are bad accountants until proven otherwise.
Fight medical fraud, check out Angel’s consultancy at overbrookconsultants.com
Rich Jones: Remembering the Pursuit of Happiness
And last but not least, Rich Jones, who shared his pursuit of financial freedom… but somewhere on the journey realized his pursuit was actually him running away from his own depression. Rich’s climb up the corporate ladder was fast and furious, ending up at Google! But during his pursuit of wealth and status, he still wasn’t happy. He realized his ambitions were hiding issues from his past he needed to resolve. A humble question that was asked by Carl as well: once you’ve earned financial freedom have you achieved happiness? A powerful talk to end a brilliant session at EconoMe 2021.
Read more about Rich and his ideas on investing and career at paychecksandbalances.com
So, what’s next?
I think Diania Merriam needs a break. Her drive built a conference like no other. It was big and amazing but still focused on community and the individuals who attended. And Diania wants more FIRE activities outside and hence wants the event to occur in the Spring. So, as of late 2021, the next EconoMe will be EconoMe 2023 and looks to be happening March 2023. Please, for the love of your finances, mark that on your calendar and I hope to see you there!