I just got back over the weekend from FinCon, the annual financial conference for bloggers and, boy, am I glad I made the trip to Charlotte, NC!
The founder of FinCon, Philip Taylor, who runs a terrific blog called PT Money, had invited me a couple times before to come out. But prior work commitments and scheduling conflicts prevented me in the past from getting to FinCon.
This year, nothing was going to stop from attending.
As a newbie to FinCon, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the tremendous energy and passion generated by having all of us personal finance geeks being in the same place at the same time.
I was also delighted to see the healthy number of financial bloggers of color who showed up at FinCon15, and made their presence known in ways large and small.
An Impressive Group
The first night of the conference, the very gracious Alicia Alston of Prudential Financial hosted a special dinner for personal finance bloggers of color. To say it was an impressive group of attendees would be a true understatement. Several people I knew already; but most of these individuals I met for the first time.
I was humbled and honored when many participants told me that my own professional work — as a Money Coach, TV personality and New York Times bestselling author — had inspired them or helped them in some way.
More than a few people also mentioned that me telling my own personal story over the years – like paying off $100,000 in credit card debt back in 2004, getting rid of $40,000 in student loans, going through a costly divorce or surviving a downsizing – helped them to know that it was perfectly fine to be authentic and truthful about their own financial situations. Warts and all.
Since I believe in paying it forward and recognizing people’s efforts – and because I know how valuable it is to get encouragement from someone who looks like you – I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some key financial bloggers who happen to be minorities. Most of them are African-Americans and the majority are females.
As a group, Black financial bloggers are greatly underrepresented. But there certainly is no lack of talent, drive and creativity among this group of powerful influencers.
The Millennial Generation of Up-And-Coming Bloggers
So without further adieu, here is a list of 10 financial bloggers of color to watch. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Nearly all are members of the Millennial generation. I’m certain that each will make a big impact in his or her unique way:
- Tiffany Aliche – The Budgetnista
If you caught Tiffany’s FinCon presentation on how she grew her online audience for the Live Richer Challenge from zero to 18,000 people in only eight months or so, you know why Tiff is on this list. Part budgeting guru, part marketing superstar, Tiffany Aliche is a total financial powerhouse. Keep your eye on her – because she’s clearly the pacesetter for a lot of financial bloggers of color right now.
- Andrea Amir – Smart Money Chicks
Andrea is a Certified Personal Financial Educator who’s also on fire to help teach women about money. She considers herself kind of a work-in-progress, which is why so many people are going to relate to her as she journeys with her audience toward learning more, and doing better financially.
- Marsha Barnes – The Finance Bar
OK, can I just send a huge shout-out to Marsha for launching one of the most innovative financial services I’ve ever seen from a blogger? Get this: food trucks that Marsha would see everywhere inspired her, and she basically thought: “Why can’t I do that with financial education?”
So she created The Finance Bar, the very first mobile financial literacy hub on wheels. That’s right. She uses a bus (inside, it’s quite chic and nicely decorated, I might add!) as a financial delivery platform to bring personal finances into schools, workplaces, churches, and more. Totally cool concept and such a clever way to meet people where they are – literally.
4 and 5. Khaleef and Sherrian Crumbley – KNS Financial
This husband and wife duo fervently believes in teaching people about money from a Biblical perspective. I happen to also think that the Bible is a great place from which to learn sound financial principles. So I’m praying that Khaleef and Sherrian will grow in their faith, their marriage and in their business endeavors together.
- Candice Marie – Young Yet Wise
Here’s one fast fact you should know about Candice: she’s obsessed with reading business, money management and self-improvement books. That alone makes me love her – especially since I’m a voracious reader too, and the author of 12 books.
I don’t know whether Candice knows it, but her thirst for knowledge via books is going to help her achieve her goal of becoming a multi-millionaire. Studies have shown strong links between reading and income. For example, the average worker in America reads only 1 book a year, according to sales expert Grant Cardone. By contrast, top CEOs – who now earn 373 times the typical employee – tend to read about 60 books a year (or 5 a month). This is just one reason Candice Marie is a total boss. She’s that rich CEO-in-the-making that other people will be working for someday.
- Tonya Rapley – My Fab Finance
I hesitate to label Tonya as a rising powerhouse, because in many ways she’s already a force to be reckoned with. TV coverage? Check. Mass media and print recognition for her financial acumen? Check. And if you further check out the quality content on her blog, as well as her very helpful financial videos, you’ll see more proof of why Tonya Rapley is certainly a star financial blogger to watch.
- Sandy Smith – Yes, I am Cheap
You’ve got to appreciate a young lady who made the word “Cheap” part of her brand – because she wisely understands that being called “cheap” is actually a compliment, not a curse. I wish more people “got it” that being frugal can be fun, liberating and financially empowering. Sandy Smith gets it. Her attitude (and her disciplined follow-through) enabled her to knock out $50,000 in debt in two years. Ka-ching!
One other thing: like many of the people on this list, Sandy knows how to get her side hustle on – but not solely to earn cash. She also started The Color of Money, an online collaborative magazine that teaches people of color about finances.
9 and 10. Talaat and Tai – His and Her Money
Here’s another husband and wife partnership sharing their love of all things personal finances with a broader audience – especially couples. They’re so down-to-earth and real about exploring the complexities of money and marriage, that you can’t help but be drawn to them.
So there’s my snapshot of 10 special bloggers of color that made waves at FinCon 2015. I fully expect them all to come back in a bigger and better way at FinCon16 in San Diego. I know I plan to – in part because I’m inspired by each and every one of them.
By the way: I’d be remiss if I didn’t add two other important points here.
First, if your name isn’t on this list, or you see some obvious omissions, please know that no slight was intended to anyone.
It only means that either:
- I didn’t meet you personally and connect; and/or
- I made a totally subjective judgment call about who to mention, and simply could not include all the very talented people represented at FinCon
There were obviously several hundred attendees at FinCon15. Many are either current or rising stars, but not necessarily “bloggers” in the traditional sense. (Having earned a Master’s degree in Journalism and being a former Wall Street Journal reporter and CNBC correspondent, I’m not a typical blogger either).
So I want to also mention several additional noteworthy financial experts of color, writers/journalists/authors, speakers and others who aren’t really conventional bloggers – or don’t really blog full-time.
Other Financial Superstars To Put On Your Radar
I had such a great time listening to and connecting with Mandi Woodruff, the very smart personal finance correspondent for Yahoo Finance. So much upside here: I can’t wait to watch how her career thrives.
And then were other super positive Millennials too, like Dominique Broadway – also known on Twitter as Ms. Finance Coach. Apparently, she knew her calling at an early age (she dreamed of becoming a financial planner) and to this day, Dominique believes in helping people to demystify their finances and bring their dreams to reality. I have every reason to believe that she’s going to wind up inspiring countless followers.
Patrice Washington – just call her The Money Maven – was also truly awesome to get to know better. You’ve seen her on NBC, The Steve Harvey Show, and elsewhere. Watch for her next book coming out soon too!
Ebong Eka is another financial rock star in his own right. Perhaps you’ve watched one of his motivational talks, heard him offer sage advice on TV, or read his business start-up book. Oh, and did I mention that he’s a CPA by background and training? He also happens to run a company called Ekanomics – a play on his last name.
What’s striking to me about all these people is the breadth and depth of the talent pool – and how quickly it’s growing.
At next year’s FinCon, I fully expect to see double this year’s number of financial bloggers of color and other experts, if not more.
Networking, Diversity and Inclusion Help Us All
Lastly, to avoid any potential misconceptions, let me conclude by stating the obvious: that I also networked or connected with a far wider group of folks than just the bloggers of color mentioned on this list or the individuals cited above.
For instance, I remained impressed (as always) by the keen insights and wisdom of people like Liz Pulliam Weston and Farnoosh Torabi, both of whom were invaluable participants on a FinCon panel discussing Women and Minorities in Finance. If you’re not already reading Liz’s columns or listening to Farnoosh’s podcasts, do yourself a favor and hop on that immediately.
I also got to have nice chats with many others, like Jeff Rose, CFP and Founder of Good Financial Cents; Money Coach Jen Hemphill; Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers; and financial wellness expert Amanda Clayman, who was like a ball of light and positive energy everywhere I saw her.
Ultimately, it was really great to engage with so many money pros, including individuals whose work I’ve known for years, as well as people I’ve only recently met.
Here’s hoping FinCon16 will surpass all our wildest expectations, and help us each continue doing what we truly love — which is to teach others how to be better stewards of their money!