Personal Finance: FinCon the Must-Attend Conference

I'm super excited to be attending FinCon '19 in Washington, DC. If you're unfamiliar with FinCon, it's a personal finance annual conference, hosted in a different city each year. This FinCon makes my third FinCon in five years. This personal finance conference is unlike any other conference you've attended before. Your typical conference is stuffy and business-like.

The FinCon community is certainly professional but offers a more laid-back approach to being tucked away in a hotel or convention center for days.

Heck, if their slogan “Where Money Nerds Unite” doesn't give you an insight on what type of meet up this is, maybe their casual attire, mixers, and awards ceremony will. If you're a personal finance blogger, podcaster, or YouTuber, or want to increase your money IQ, FinCon is for you.

The Best Four Days

The personal finance community is rather small compared to other communities but is a diverse group of people. FinCon will bring out people interested in all kinds of personal finance topics, including FIRE, frugality, debt fighters, retirement planning, certified financial planners (CFP), FinTech, bloggers, and side hustlers, just to name a few. It's the only convention I've ever been to where I had lunch with a millionaire at Panera Bread and talked about money. It's a welcoming community that will not disappoint newcomers.

FinCon offers several keynote speakers, networking opportunities, and breakout sessions to increase your knowledge on whichever topic is your niche. It also hosts the annual Plutus Awards. The Plutus Awards recognize excellence in the personal finance community. I'm excited to be nominated and a finalist for “The Best Debt Freedom Blog” this year.

The FinCon Expo also features many brands, sponsors, and exhibits in the personal finance industry who all attend with one goal in mind, expanding partnerships at the conference.

I'm lucky enough to partner with Upstart, who is sponsoring my trip to FinCon this year.

Upstart Is Unlike Any Brand I've Partnered with Before

If you're unfamiliar with Upstart, their mission is to provide effortless credit based on true risk. Upstart uses more than a credit score to make lending decisions. They use education & employment in their machine learning model to determine your risk as a borrower. They offer personal loans, which can be used for credit card consolidation, debt consolidation, medical expenses, wedding costs, and moving costs.

Upstart was founded by ex-Googlers Dave Girouard and Anna M. Counselman, along with Paul Gu. Upstart is the first lending platform to leverage machine learning to price credit and automate the borrowing process. Upstart maintains one of the industry's highest consumer ratings according to leading consumer review sites.

In addition to its direct-to-consumer lending platform, Upstart provides technology to banks, credit unions, and other partners via a “Software-as-a-Service” platform called Powered by Upstart.

More Than Your Credit Score

Let's face it – the concept of lending is centuries old, but little has changed about the process in recent decades. Almost all lenders use FICO-based models that rely on your credit score to decide who is approved for credit and at what interest rate. While straightforward, these “scorecard” methods are limited in their ability to quantify true risk.

Upstart's model uses machine learning to underwrite borrowers' creditworthiness based on many variables, including but not limited to credit score, income, education, and employment.

To qualify for an Upstart loan, you must meet these requirements.

  • Be at least 18 years old (19 in Nebraska & Alabama)
  • Reside in the United States
  • Have no accounts in collection or delinquent
  • No bankruptcies on your credit report
  • Meet a minimum credit score of 620
  • A regular and verifiable income of $12,000 or more

Upstart's lending platform offers loans in the amounts of $1,000 to $50,000* with funds available as fast as one day.**

Financial Fitness for All

I'm a champion of financial literacy. I became one once I saw the power of having your financial act together. When my family and I got our personal finances on the right track in 2010, we witnessed a change in our stress level, frequency of money fights, and the fear associated with the unexpected. All because we had a plan for our money. It's also one of the main reasons I got involved in my community and school district to help promote financial fitness for all. I wanted others to experience the wins my family has. That's why I'm so thrilled to be working with Upstart and know they share the same values and mission.

Upstart's Commitment to Financial Fitness:

“To put it simply, our goal is to empower everyone to achieve and maintain financial fitness, a state in which finances no longer constrain people but rather enable them to do what they want in life. Being financially fit requires knowing how to effectively manage one's money, taking personal responsibility for one's finances, and establishing and upholding the habits necessary for strong financial health. We're committed to helping everyone achieve financial fitness by providing the products, tools, and knowledge that enable people to take control of their financial lives.”

Financial fitness is just like physical fitness. Ever lose 5, 10 or 20 pounds? How did it make you feel mentally and physically? I'm sure it made you feel good. Having financial fitness is similar in that the stress and worry around money are lifted. It gives you the ability to navigate what life throws at you.

So what does financial fitness with Upstart mean for you?

It means that Upstart is offering the opportunity to get yourself financially back on track and take money off the worry list. Upstart believes you are more than your credit score, and that you deserve a smarter loan.

I'm hopeful that a high school personal finance class I presented to my local board of education becomes a graduation requirement for all of the students of my district.

Financial fitness starts when we break the money talk taboo and provide financial education for those who need it.

Final Thoughts

I hope you now have a better understanding of what FinCon and Upstart are all about. It would be my pleasure to meet you at FinCon next week and discuss how Upstart could be an excellent resource for you.

If you are not attending FinCon, drop me an email, and I'd be happy to help in any way I can or check out the Upstart website for more information.

*Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa.

**If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education-related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

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