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FINCON11: Stalking JD Roth


For those of you who follow me on Twitter, it’s probably not surprising to see a post about stalkers. After all, @FrugalBeautiful and I have been talking about them for weeks. Our not-so-serious goal: To gain free flowers and the occasional random text message to make up for our lame/nonexistent dating lives. However, I never thought I would become a stalker myself.

Confession – I unsuccessfully stalked JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly for the duration of the Financial Blogger Conference.

When I found out JD Roth was speaking at FINCON11, I was thrilled. (Note: I will always refer to him by his full name because that’s what happens when people are amazing.) His blog was one of the first personal finance resources that ever got my attention. Here’s this regular guy who got into debt and managed to pull himself out, becoming mega successful along the way. Who wouldn’t want to pick the brain of such an amazing person?

Here’s how it went down:

Friday, September 30 11:35am

JD Roth is sitting in the hotel lobby typing away on his Macbook. Holy crap, I’m going to meet him! Oh, but he looks kind of busy. Knowing my luck, I’ll piss him off if I interrupt what he’s working on. I’ll go sit outside and compose myself.

I’m such a dork! I should have just talked to him when I had the chance. Now I’ll probably spend the whole weekend mad at myself.

Holy crap! JD Roth just replied to my tweet! Okay, I’m totally going to talk to him now.

Friday, September 30 11:45am

Just stood up to go back to the lobby in time to see JD Roth leave the hotel for lunch. He walked right past me, but obviously I wasn’t going to stop him when he’s trying to go somewhere. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Saturday, October 1 7:50am

OMG JD Roth is standing by the snack table and no one else is there! Oh, but I shouldn’t bother him. He’s going to speak in a little while and he’s probably concentrating on that.

Saturday, October 1 8:30am

JD Roth is speaking about telling stories to make your blog interesting. This is one of the reasons I love his blog, and one of the things I tend to do on my own site – I’d rather read a story than a bunch of boring BS any day. 

Saturday, October 1 10:44am

Just passed JD Roth sitting in a chair outside the conference room. I opened my mouth to say something, but another blogger sat down beside him and started talking. Foiled again!

Saturday, October 1 6:12pm

Saw JD Roth in the lobby again but he was talking to a bunch of people. Why is this dude never by himself? Oh yeah, because he’s super cool.

Saturday, October 1 8:50pm

Other bloggers are now telling me every JD Roth sighting in hopes of helping me realize my dream. But then it seems dorky, so I make excuses why it isn’t a good time. Or I play it off, like “Oh, it’s fine. I’m sure I’ll run into him before the conference ends.” DORK.

Sunday, October 2 9:00am

JD Roth is by himself again. Sweet! Oh no, there’s Donna Freedman. Is she going to talk to him? Of course she is. Darn you, Donna! *shakes fist*

Sunday, October 2 12:20pm

JD Roth is in the lobby. The conference is over, NO ONE is around – this is it! Oh, until that guy showed up and started talking to him. And now there are like 4 people standing around. And now he’s leaving. NEXT YEAR, JD ROTH! NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

/end stalking

What does this have to do with anything?

It may not be obvious from my recent posts, but this blog is about admitting (and recovering from) financial mistakes. And my weekend of stalking demonstrates the EXACT mindset that got me into debt in the first place.

People in debt may think about taking action. We may talk about it with other people. We might even write slightly deranged journal entries about it. But even when we’re presented with opportunities to do exactly what we have been imagining, we make excuses.

But I tried to reach a goal – I just didn’t make it. At least I tried, right?

JD Roth was, of course, a very popular guy at the Financial Blogger Conference. When someone has been blogging as long as he has, it’s natural that other bloggers would be dying to meet him.

That doesn’t mean it was impossible for me to talk to him.

I could have waited while he was talking to someone else. I could have spent more time walking up and saying hello and less time freaking out inside my head. I could have sent a tweet asking him if he could meet me at a specific time and place. But I didn’t do any of those things.

Why? Because I was scared. Yeah, I said it. I was terrified of what I would find to say to someone I admire so much, especially since I’m a blogging noob and a financial disaster and JD Roth is all cool and debt-free and could blog about tree limbs if he felt like it.

What are YOU afraid of?

If you’re in debt, you’re probably reading personal finance blogs because you want things to be different. But I bet you’re also a fairly intelligent being – most likely, you already know what you need to do.

When we realize there’s a problem, know how to fix it, and find reasons not to, it’s usually because we’re afraid. Maybe you worry that you can’t handle the lifestyle changes it would take to get out of debt, or perhaps your debt is so overwhelming you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel.

Spend some time thinking about your finances and the specific things that prevent you from taking action. Make a list. And make a plan to work through those fears.

Until YOU decide you’re ready to act, nothing is going to change. No matter how many websites you read, no matter how many times you look at your bank balance, the choice is yours to make.

As for me, I’m going to spend some time figuring out why JD Roth intimidates me so much. Next year, I’m done making excuses. I won’t be able to entertain you with a stalker diary because I’ll be so busy squealing about talking to the great JD Roth. And hopefully you’ll be emailing me to say that you finally got over your debt. 🙂

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. I love this story! But I wish you would have talked to him. There's no time like the present 🙂 #stalking @jdroth:twitter 

  2. You. Have. A. TIMELINE?!  OMG.   I could barely remember what month of the year it was and I was there! You are a professional.  😉

  3. I love that the adsense ad at the bottom is for CA Stalking Layers 🙂 love reading your posts as always!

  4. Can you really say you tried? Trying requires action! Grow a pair. 

  5. Thank you for cheering me up when I am uber sick. I really wish you had just talked to JD Roth but you do make an excellent stalker with dates and times and feelings and such. 

    Next year for sure. Who knows? Maybe he'll be stalking you. 🙂

  6. That's a great STORY Andrea.  Even if you didn't meet JD, you obviously listened.  It was one of my goals to introduce myself to him and I did it.  Of course, I barely got over the fanboy bit ("I love your blog, I've read it forever, yadda yadda yadda") before he had to leave for dinner, but it was awesome.  I'm sure he'll be there next year though, so you gotta do it then!

  7. What happens when the stalker becomes the stalked? 🙂

    Seriously, though, I would have loved to talk to you. The best part about this conference was meeting and talking with everyone. Of course, I do much better with one-on-one stuff, so I really enjoyed dinner with Kylie tonight. And maybe next year l can have lunch with you?

  8. Amazing!!! Great story. I would try to offer something more, but that would do it an injustice.

  9. Great post, funny and thought provoking.  As my wife and I are working out way out of debt, I'm still afraid to admit making mistakes to my family.  I'm afraid to show them I'm not perfect…which is nuts because none of us are perfect.  I try to smooth everything over, and make it seem like everything is OK.  I need to convince myself that it's OK to not be perfect, and just deal with the mistakes.

    Normally I'd be very concerned with your obsessive tendencies….but JD Roth is freakin' awesome, so I can identify. 🙂

    • It's hard to admit mistakes, and I think financial ones are hardest of all. I always felt I should be able to handle my money better and it was SO shameful for me when people found out I couldn't. But now that I've gotten in the habit of talking about what I've done wrong, it's much easier. This blog is free therapy! 🙂

  10. I feel very oblivious that I didn't realize you were  stalking J.D. all weekend.  As you can tell from his tweets and comment, he's a very genuine person who is willing to speak with anyone.

    P.S.  I saw someone almost have a fit in his presence so your "stalking" is nothing.

  11. Entertaining post.  This sounds like a movie in the making and J.D. was nice enough to reply and tweet!  He seems like a nice guy.  What's that advice?  Imagine him naked?  Whoops.  Sorry, that's for public speaking, haha!  But seriously, if you think about it, there was a time when he was just like you.  Starting a blog and handling his financial issues.  One day I'm sure you're going to have a stalkers, too!

  12. Don't feel bad. I was actually introduced to him, and didn't know what to say besides 'hi'. He asked me about my sites and everything, but I didn't say too much. I kept thinking, "Why would someone like JD want to hear about what I'm doing?" 

    As the conference went on, I had no problem talking to the big guys. In fact, I began stalking Pat Flynn after a while! lol

  13. It's so funny but your story is so similar to mine.  I also saw JD in the lobby when I arrived and felt the same things.  I used a couple of people I recognized near him to make my way over and introduce myself.

  14. Now THIS is great storytelling. You are so clever and smart and funny. And you got JD to comment on your blog. Something tells me he'll be looking for you next year.

    • And you are so nice – thank you for the kind words! I'm so glad I got to meet you at the conference; just hate that we didn't have more time to talk. Next year I think all of us should stay an extra day so we can hang out more.

  15. Great story. You were determined I must say. Too bad it didn't work out. 

  16. I heard a great quote this weekend.  "Until you ask the question, the answer is always 'NO'".  Obviously, you didn't step out of your comfort zone and ask the question or make the attempt to meet JD.  So, you got your answer.  Don't fear failure again.  I know you have more courage than that with all you have been through.

  17. Donna Freedman says

    Aw, you should have just come over and kicked the shovel out of my hand. 

  18. LOL! I love this story! I don't even know what to say … I just freakin' love this story. You captured what everyone else was thinking throughout the entire weekend — about JD and about Ramit, too. I actually also felt that way about Adam Baker, a bit.

    Wow. Is it dorky when my idea of a "celebrity sighting" is JD and Adam Baker, instead of Kim Kardashian?

    • Yeah, it's pretty dorky but that's how we roll. I actually attempted eye contact with Ramit but he was walking very rapidly past at the time. Maybe next year I won't be such a noob and I'll feel like I can talk to all the amazing people.

  19. LOL you are so adorable. That was the funniest thing I've read all day!

  20. Haha.  Great post!  I'm thinking that before the lunch plans of #FINCON12, you should offer J.D. a guest post on the GRS blog.  Carpe diem!

  21. Love the post.. It really can be intimidating to reach out and meet someone when you've been reading their sites for years, and they're a published author and semi-celebrity to boot.

    I was able to sit down with JD a couple of times over the weekend (sorry if I got in your way!) and he really is just a down to earth, nice humble person.  We talked about cat blogging, travel and wool clothing. Nothing intimidating in there!  

    I think it maybe helped that I had already had some contact with JD over the years – like having him correct my grammar on my site in a comment.. 🙂  In any event – I say go for it next time!

  22. First thing I did when I got to FINCON? Sat down and chatted with JD Roth for a good hour or so. Neener neener poo poo! And I wasn't even excited about it. It was more like "oh, hey, there's JD Roth, I think I'll go talk to him."

    Also – You and Shannyn have non-existent dating lives? What am I, chopped liver?

  23. says

    haha, you're a really good storyteller… I want MORE 🙂

  24. This is the best recap ever.  Darn that Donna Freedman for being such a good writer and JD Roth blocker.  🙂

  25. I want to say I wish I could have been there, but I spent the weekend at the wedding of a dear friend I met on a personal finance message board, so it was a little like FinCon.
    I am glad you had a good time, even if you never got the nerve to say Hello to JD.
    Showing off my other forms of geekiness, I was once in an elevator with John de Lancie, and all I could think of to say was "Oh my God, your John de Lancie" which would have been stupid because he knew very well who he was or "I never threw Jon Luc a parade" which seemed way to geeky, even if I was at a Star Trek convention. So I kept my mouth shut. I wish I would have said something, but even so, I still have a great story. (Just like you do.)

  26. Should have talked to him, but you already know that!  Was following your tweets from Fincon 11, it was almost like being there…

  27. Grumpyrumblings says

    I'm like that with novelists.  I'm fairly sure I could be professional and chill with financial bloggers.  Even Donna Freeman!

  28. Definitely a great story. Loved it! Thanks for the recap and sharing it with us.

  29. First thing I did when I got to FINCON? Sat down and chatted with JD Roth for a good hour or so. Neener neener poo poo! And I wasn’t even excited about it. It was more like “oh, hey, there’s JD Roth, I think I’ll go talk to him.”

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