Earlier this week at The Washington Post, Helaine Olen wrote that the world of personal finance needs more politics.
Olen specifically calls out FinCon, the financial media conference I attended last week. I love FinCon. She doesn’t. She’s disappointed that so many members of our community emphasize personal action and responsibility instead of directing our efforts toward changing the systemic and societal issues that make it difficult for some people to succeed.
Spending a few days at FinCon 2019 shows the limits of the nonpolitical approach to improving your financial life…Over and over again, the systemic problems facing Americans are simply accepted as a given and unfixable, and tossed back onto the individual for him or her to solve.
Rarely mentioned are the political system’s many contributions to common economic troubles.
Olen is concerned that there are larger societal and systemic issues that hold some people back and prevent them from achieving financial success. I agree.
I disagree, however, that FinCon is the place to address these issues. And I disagree that we, the financial media, should turn our attention from the personal to the political. In fact, I find the notion absurd.
Personal finance is personal. It’s right there in the description.
Politics at FinCon
I don’t know how many times Olen has attended FinCon. I’ve attended every year so far (and have already registered for next year’s tenth installment). From my experience, she’s wrong that attendees accept systemic problems as “given and unfixable”. We don’t.
This year, I had a memorable conversation about privilege with Julien from rich