The brightest minds in personal finance come together every year for the world’s largest expo of financial content: FinCon.
For a few days, it spotlights “money media nerds” (their words, not ours) who’ve gained heaps of blog followers, written a slew of best-sellers, posted hours and hours of YouTube videos, and launched a ton of popular podcasts.
Along the way, they’ve saved millions of dollars, made millions more — and they love talking about how they did it and how you can, too.
Here, we assemble some of the best tips from speakers lined up for FinCon19, being held Sept. 4-7 in Washington, D.C.
Ramit Sethi, known for his New York Times best-seller I Will Teach You To Be Rich (which he recently revamped for its 10th anniversary), is one of FinCon19's keynote speakers.
His Stanford-backed knowledge of human behavior helped him catapult into the ranks of leading financial gurus. Millions of monthly visitors to his blog have come to appreciate his straight talk about wealth.
"The single most important factor to getting rich is getting started, not being the smartest person in the room," Sethi writes, in I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
As the senior personal finance correspondent for CNBC, FinCon19 keynoter Sharon Epperson tells viewers how to grow and preserve their money — and an episode in her own life demonstrated the value of her know-how.
"You’ll often hear financial advisors say to save for a 'rainy day.' Well in my case that rainy day became a hurricane," she told NBC News.
What happened? She suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2016 and needed over a year of rehab. But Epperson — who's the author of The Big Payoff — had an emergency fund and insurance to protect her family's finances.
"I was the last person anyone would have expected to retire early," says Tanja Hester, a FinCon19 Big Idea speaker who describes herself as "a gold star-seeking overachiever on whom the character Lisa Simpson could have been based."
But — at the age of 38 — she did walk away from a high-powered, high-pressure job. Her husband, Mark Bunge, left his career behind, too. In their blog, Our Next Life, they tell how you can save enough to do the same.
"If you're willing to change your money mindset and occasionally go against what we're taught is the 'right way' to do things, you can craft the life of your dreams," Hester writes, in her book, Work Optional.
Catherine Alford took a gamble — and it paid off. The future FinCon19 Big Idea speaker sold off everything and bought a one-way ticket to Grenada, after her husband got accepted to medical school there.
During her three years on the Caribbean island, her blog became her job — and a successful one at that. It's now part of Alford Media Group, a six-figure business which has other blogs under its banner. Alford also is the co-founder of a digital medical marketing company.
"Ultimately, I’m so happy now that I put in all that work years ago so that I could be a full time business owner now," she writes. "It may not be glamorous, but it’s a life I’ve designed for myself — and in my opinion, that’s worth everything."
Eric Rosenberg is a guy who knows how to hustle. He's a freelance writer, a public speaker, a consultant, and the entrepreneur behind a growing collection of financial websites including PersonalProfitability.com, MasterMind Hunt and SwivelMoney.com.
This FinCon19 breakout session speaker also is an Eagle Scout and was the owner and founder of a flash mob planning company in Denver.
In 2016 he quit a corporate finance job to turn his side gig as a blogger into a full-time business, and he posts his income — now in the six figures — on his blog. "It all starts with the first dollar," Rosenberg says.
Jean Chatzky — a FinCon19 breakout session speaker — isn't ashamed to admit that she made plenty of money mistakes on her way to becoming the financial editor of NBC's Today show.
"I spent more than I made, racking up high interest rate credit card debt equal to a full half-year’s salary," she writes, on JeanChatzky.com. "I withdrew money from my 401(k) rather than rolling it over when I left my first job — costing myself taxes and penalties."
The best-selling author says she came to realize something that has become her basic philosophy: "If you want to own your life, you have to own your money."
FinCon19's high-energy emcee has had this gig a couple of years, and it's just one of many regular roles for Bethany Bayless. She's also a podcaster, world traveler and spokeswoman for Heroes at Home, a nonprofit offering financial education for military famillies.
Bayless wasn't always knowledgeable about money. “My first job was at Blockbuster, and that paycheck would not see the inside of my pocket because I would just go spend it on the most random things out there," she told the Chain of Wealth podcast.
Now, she loves frugality. “You know, when you get that deal, that thing that you paid a little bit less on, and you just want to brag to your friends? Maybe that’s just me, maybe I just do that: ‘Guess how much I paid for this? Not as much as you think!'"
Emma Johnson noticed that there weren't many online resources for women like her: professional single moms. In 2012 she decided to do something about that and launched Wealthysinglemommy.com.
"This single mom business is not easy," writes Johnson, who's divorced from the father of her two kids. "On the tough days it is stressful, exhausting and lonely. But life as a single mom can be brilliantly fulfilling – even if you don’t stay a single mom forever (hello, dating!)."
She now calls her site "the largest single mom community in the world." This FinCon19 workshop speaker and former Associated Press writer also is the author of the book The Kickass Single Mom.
After Nick and Hanna True got married, they fought about money. A lot. They say the financial arguments during the first year of their marriage got so bad that the idea of divorce came up.
But instead of letting money break them up, they found they could use it as a tool to bring them together. They launched their website, Mapped Out Money, to share what they've learned about managing money.
"Mapping out your money is about getting rid of all the crap that you don’t want or need so you are free to use your money to chase after what you truly want," explains Nick True, a FinCon19 workshop speaker.
Pete McPherson says he used to be a "boring accountant," but it just wasn't what he wanted. So, in 2016 he quit his $70,000 a year job and plunged into full-time entrepreneurship — paying $0 per year.
It was a tough transition, but his blog about blogging — called Do You Even Blog — now makes up to $11,500 a month, and this FinCon 2019 workshop speaker has made it his mission to show others how to make a living blogging and podcasting.
"WAY too many bloggers quit in their first year due to overhyped expectations! Don’t be that blogger," he tells readers. "Bloggers who persist and consistently publish good content are the ones who thrive. Let’s be THOSE bloggers."
Aside from being a very popular YouTuber, Sarah Wilson — "the Budget Girl" — runs GoBudgetGirl.com, where she teaches people about the keys to "financial wellness".
The FinCon19 workshop speaker has documented her own debt challenges, and she tells viewers and readers how she pared down $33,000 in student loan debt within three years — on a journalist's salary of $26,000.
Wilson stresses the importance of having an emergency fund, telling Modern Frugality that "being intentional with your money and having to log every dollar you spend has a wonderful side effect of really coming to understand what life costs."
Coming from a web developer background, Adam Fortuna, the minimalist financial wizard behind Minafi.com, sets his sights on educating fellow millennials on the financial independence, retire early (FIRE) movement.
Inspired into the minimalist lifestyle after the passing of his mother, Fortuna — a FinCon19 breakout session speaker — combines minimalist principles with classical investing techniques. He wonders if the classic 9-to-5-job, retire-in-my-60s-approach to life is even still relevant.
"My goal is to explore this question through the lens of smart financial decisions, living with less and always keeping an open mind," Fortuna says, on Minafi.
Allison Baggerly, from Inspired Budget, started her financial journey as a newlywed saddled with $110,000 in debt while pregnant with her first child.
"I reacted like any other pregnant lady would. I grabbed a Snickers and got to work reading anything and everything that I could on budgeting and finances," says this FinCon19 breakout session speaker.
After four and a half years, she was out of debt and equipped with a newfound love of budgeting. Her new mission is to help people gain control over their finances through frugal living, plus budgeting tools and tricks.
Chad Carson (Coach Carson) is a FinCon19 breakout session speaker who says "the best coaches and mentors in my life were always enthusiastic teachers. They truly cared about my success." He vows to be the same for his community on CoachCarson.com.
After getting through college on a football scholarship (he used to squat 600 pounds), he began investing in real estate with a business partner and started seeing steady profit.
"When I started writing and teaching about real estate investing, I decided to borrow the name coach," says Carson, who hopes to help people empower themselves through real estate investment.
Matthew Lesko — the "Question Mark Guy" — is well known for his prolific work documenting all the ways you can receive government grants, government loans and free money. And you can't miss him in his fun suits covered in question marks.
Here's an example of the kind of information he shares: "Some of the best health care services are free or cost very little and are even available to millionaires but hardly anyone knows they exist."
Lesko, who's leading a FinCon19 breakout session, has written well over 20 books and starred in numerous informercials dedicated to federal funding. He keeps his site, Lesko.com, up to date with the latest tips, hacks and federal program alerts.
Paula Pant redefined financial independence by taking a unique but repeatable approach to freelance writing and real estate investment. It's one she shares with her 40,000+ subscribers, and on her site AffordAnything.com.
She started by saving enough money to buy a triplex, living in one unit as her primary home and collecting rent on the others, to cover all out-of-pocket housing expenses. Now, Pant enjoys hiking and traveling the world — all while earning passive income.
On her site, the FinCon19 breakout session speaker wants to make one thing clear: "I’m not a beach bum who wants to drink margaritas all day. I wanted freedom to work on Purpose-Driven projects, instead of relying on a paycheck for groceries and gas."
Founder of Millennial Money and author of Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need, Grant Sabatier once told CNBC that "a vast majority of Americans can retire in 10 years or less if they’re making at least $70,000 per year."
He's proof that his strategy pays off: In just five years he went from “$2.26 to a millennial millionaire," as he puts it.
Sabatier, who's speaking in a FinCon19 breakout session, has become a bona fide financial guru; a star and advocate of the FIRE movement; and an inspiration to digital marketing entrepreneurs everywhere.
Jillian Johnsrud of MontanaMoneyAdventures.com recalls starting her financial journey at age 19 "with $55,000 of debt. Adam [her husband] and I didn’t have high earning jobs, but we still had big dreams. We wanted to travel the world, adopt kids, and have financial freedom."
There was a happy ending for her — and for her clients. This FinCon19 breakout session speaker achieved everything she wanted and now coaches others on how to get a handle on their finances and make their big dreams into reality.
"I’m like a wedding planner, except for your best life and work," Johnsrud says. "Not just one big day."
Jen Hemphill, the host of the Her Dinero Matters podcast and author of Her Money Matters, is an accredited financial counselor who likes to call herself “a money confidence coach.” She's giving a FinCon19 breakout session talk.
Hemphill's work focuses on helping women of all backgrounds get confident with their money and improve their financial situations.
“For each one of us, our unconditional love for our family comes before anything else, and we go to any lengths to protect it. We should take care of our money in a similar fashion," she says, on her blog.