By Amy Miller, AFC®
The first of its kind and hosted in Cary, NC by Finance Entrepreneur and Military Money Expert, Lacey Langford, MilMoneyCon recently brought financial counselors, coaches, planners, podcasters, and educators together under one roof to spark conversations and further the careers of industry professionals united by the military.
Before I go on about how wonderful the conference was, I’ll start with a little information on its founder, Lacey Langford. Not only is she an Accredited Financial Counselor with over 15 years of experience, but she is also a veteran, military spouse, blogger, and the founder of the Military Money Show, a podcast where she delivers real-life money advice relevant to the unique needs of our military members. As you can see, she’s staying pretty busy passionately working to change mindsets, eliminate fear and build service members’ confidence around money.
Taking from her own bio, money, and military is her “jams” and creating an event bringing professionals together to enhance the lives of military members has been a dream of hers for some time.
The conference offered several “tracks” focusing on different topics like earning and entrepreneurship where sessions provided insight on starting a business and earning potential, content creation and tips on marketing yourself, trends, resources, and government regulations specific to service members, veterans, and their families.
The true mission was to foster relationships among military financial professionals and provide them with resources and tools to not only gain knowledge to further assist their clients but to also expand the military financial professional’s community and equip them with the tools and resources to increase their earning power.
Keynote, SITREP & Financial Therapy
In addition to the many experts offering informational sessions, the conference featured a powerhouse speaker lineup like no other!
Alex Hopkins, Keynote speaker and founder of Simply ParaPlanner, a job board website that connects firms with professionals seeking virtual positions, discussed her journey as a military spouse seeking remote employment after earning her CFP® (Certified Financial Planner). She spoke of the challenges she faced that led her on a mission to improve employment within the industry and guide firms to change their approach to virtual employment. Since starting her company in 2015, Alex has grown Simply Paraplanner to a firm serving over 3000 users from all walks of life and corners of the country.
Andrew Cohen, Acting Director for the Office of Financial Readiness in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education & Training (that’s a lot to say) led the SITREP, a discussion on the current situation regarding the financial readiness needs of our service members and families. He discussed key programs, financial literacy training, financial management, and counselor programs currently run by his office. Serving 27 years as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army and retiring at the rank of Colonel, he understands the unique needs of our service members and offered insight, and perspective and encouraged open conversation around the real issues and challenges facing both the military members and the organization.
The conference featured a “hot topic” – How Financial Therapy Can Inform, Empower, and Change Your Life and Work Around Money, presented by Daniel Knopp, CFP®, financial planner and founder of Wise Stewardship Financial Planning, where he helps widows and widowers organize their financial lives. A veteran and widower himself, Daniel spoke of his personal experience with losing his wife to illness at a young age and how he uses his own journey to better connect and guide his clients. His presentation outlined an approach to client interactions that can help empower individuals to meet their financial goals by addressing your own and your client’s “money story”.
AMBA & The VBBP
Our very own EVP of Communications and Operations, Andia Dinesen, hosted an informative session that detailed the history of both AMBA and the Veteran’s Benefits Banking Program (VBBP). Andia shared how AMBA partnered with the VA to launch the VBBP. She illustrated the program’s success in banking more than 150,000 veterans since its inception. She also discussed AMBA’s launch of VBBP 2.0 with a recent partnership with AFCPE (Association for Financial Counseling, Planning & Education) and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) to provide financial and credit counseling services to veterans. She further shared details on VetCents, a partnership between AMBA and the Military Family Advisory Network that provides a financial education pathway and offers resources centered around savings, budgeting, and home buying. The session provided much-needed information to professionals in the industry and truly showcased the great work AMBA is doing for our veterans and its member institutions.
A feature event this year was the Hiring Hub. This exclusive networking event provided power pass holders the ability to connect with not only companies looking to hire financial professionals but also the opportunity to meet with industry leaders in a one-on-one setting where they could ask questions and seek advice on subjects like blogging, podcasting, freelance writing, resumes, and remote work. Additional resources included how to create your own professional bio, perfecting your elevator pitch, and how to network, and create a name for yourself as a source for financial information and guidance.
Exhibitors & Sponsors
Again, an outstanding list of sponsors, including AMBA (my favorite), USAA, FINCON, and Advantage Publications along with exhibitors AFCPE, Military Financial Advisors Association, Kings High Media, Self, and VA USA just to name a few.
As you can see, the conference truly was a rally point for the military money community. Lacey set out to create an event that would inspire existing military financial professionals and aspiring finance-minded individuals to further help our service members. Bringing coaches and counselors together to grow.
If you had not heard of this event before reading this, I encourage you to take a minute and visit
https://milmoneycon.com/. You can sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date on future events, sponsorship, and exhibitor opportunities. I recommend it to anyone connected to the military money community.
You can also find more information on Lacey Langford, her podcast, and blog on her website, https://laceylangford.com/