By Amy Miller, AFC®
Hosted last week in Nashville, MilMoneyCon brought financial professionals connected to military service together with a mission of building and advancing careers, continuing education, and growing earning power.
Founder, Lacey Langford, AFC®, created the event to foster a community among military financial professionals and further conversations on financial resources, tools, trends, problems, and solutions within the military community.
MilMoneyCon 2023 was filled with educational sessions covering a variety of military-related financial topics including the HEART Act, the Survivor Benefit Plan, Medicare & Tricare for Life, taxes, the future of financial advice, as well as briefings on the SCRA and Military Lending Act from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice. AMBA’s Andia Dinesen presented on Leveraging the Military Banking Resources for Positive Impact.
The conference also featured a few key events:
The Powerhouse was a place where financial professionals had access to a variety of resources designed to help them grow their network and improve their skills. This 2-hour event, presented by FinCon and available to PowerPass holders, featured one-on-one coaching from experts in fields including public relations, social media, podcasting, entrepreneurship, marketing, government contracting, and LinkedIn.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Eric Elbogen, Director of the VA National Center on Veterans Financial Health and Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University, opened the conference by discussing his work with Veterans with serious mental illness in money management groups. He also discussed findings from the many national surveys he has conducted of veterans linking financial strain to homelessness and suicidal ideation.
The SITREP offered an update on the state of money in the military from Mr. Andrew Cohen, Director, Financial Readiness in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training. Mr. Cohen leads the Financial Readiness team, working to improve the financial needs of our military community.
Andy held a Q & A discussion after his update, focused on how the DoD and the Services can improve financial education training, methods, and delivery. The audience had some ideas to share; it was a lively discussion.
Hot Topic – Trademarks 101, led by Maury Tepper, III, provided attendees with an understanding of trademarks, why they are important, and the process for registering one.
Make Your Point was a peer-voted and community-presented session with the goal of sharing messages and raising awareness in the community. Attendees could propose a subject at the beginning of the conference and fellow attendees voted on the subjects they wanted to know more about. The top 5 topics got 3 minutes on stage to make their point.
Closing Keynote Speaker, Kaleth O. Wright, the 18th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force & CEO of the Air Force Aid Society, closed the conference with his presentation – Fears About Money: It’s Not As Scary As You Think. He discussed how financial fears stem from many places including our background, personal beliefs, and the examples we had growing up, and how those fears can lead to overspending, not saving, increased debt, and further hardships for service members and their families.
Kaleth spoke of his own experiences and missteps and his journey to finding a healthy relationship with money. He emphasized how working with someone who is experiencing a financial issue rather than reprimanding them, can be the key to removing the fears and stigma of financial issues that our service members often face.
He concluded that to truly improve one’s financial well-being, one must realize that money really isn’t that scary – it’s not the big bad wolf – and summarized his argument with a quote from James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
The 2024 conference will be hosted next April in Denver, CO. Visit MilMoneyCon to sign up for email alerts and registration information.
Quoting founder, Lacey Langford, “Rising tides lift all ships. Coming together allows us to begin conversations and help each other in ways we have yet to imagine”.
Oh, we almost forgot – there was a 5k too! The top male and female winner of the 5k earned a free PowerPass ticket for next year’s conference. Start training now.