I recently had an opportunity to attend the first ever Wealth/Stack conference in Scottsdale, Arizona from September 8-10, 2019.
I remember earlier this year when Ritholtz Wealth Management’s Josh Brown announced the conference on Twitter. Because the tagline for the conference was “By Advisors For Advisors”, I, not being a financial advisor, initially talked myself out of attending.
A few weeks later, fate would step in when my Twitter friend, Dasarte Yarnway (Founder of Berknell Financial in San Francisco, California) posted that he was going to be in Atlanta, Georgia one weekend (a moderate drive from my home). We would communicate over Twitter to set up an IRL (in real life) meeting at a Waffle House just outside of Atlanta.
As we talked that day about money, investing, and where technology is taking the investment and financial planning industry, Mr. Yarnway suggested that I attend the Wealth/Stack conference, where he would be participating in one of the panels.
There was a part of me that still wanted to self-reject attending this conference and save my travel money for something else. But, as I sat in some construction traffic while traveling back to my home state of Alabama, I decided that I should probably take it as a sign when someone in the financial planning industry believes I could benefit from attending a conference.
So, after getting the money together, I booked my trip to Scottsdale.
Despite the conference’s tagline of “By Advisors For Advisors”, I can say that this non-advisor had a great time. It only took a few introductions and short conversations for some of my mental misgivings to float away.
Going in, I worried about people thinking I was a little weird for attending a conference about an industry I wasn’t currently directly involved in, I wasn’t getting continuing education for, and my employer wasn’t expensing for me.
Instead, most everyone I met seemed intrigued by my presence and were very willing to offer up some of their knowledge (which will hopefully pay off for my readers in future posts). It was a stark contrast to my previous interactions with stock brokers and financial advisors that, whether I was trying to employ them or be employed by them, had always turned me away. (Note: I’m not saying they were wrong for doing so, just that it sucked from my perspective.)
It was truly refreshing to meet with advisors who really do want to provide financial planning for everyone. (Yes, everyone.) And, that motivation showed in many of the sessions that I attended.
Sure, there was focus on growing these advisors’ respective businesses, but the emphasis for how to accomplish that was strongly focused on serving customers through better technology and better customer relationships. And, I heard far more about enriching lives than simply making people financially richer.
I enjoyed myself at this conference so much that I may just attend again, next year. I might even add another conference to my calendar to try to soak up some more financial planning knowledge in 2020.
And, to think, my first reaction to the announcement of this conference was to disqualify myself from attending. But, a simple act to try to get to know someone changed my path. Hopefully, this experience will lead me to take a few more steps into the unknown going forward.
I know that eating at Waffle House won’t ever feel quite the same.
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