Reflections and Highlights from CPFC12

Over the last couple of weeks as part of my Weekend Reading posts, I’ve mentioned the Canadian Personal Finance Conference (CPFC).  The 2012 edition was held in Toronto this past weekend and to sum up the event in a few words, it was a “killer event”.  Here are some of my reflections and highlights from this great conference.

About the conference organization

As someone who works in management for their day job, I consider organizational skills critical.  Few people get it better than Preet Banerjee and Krystal Yee who organized CPFC12.  The facilities, the agenda and the events were outstanding. All the speakers did an excellent job and the panel events facilitated lively discussion.

About the agenda

Although an evening social event was organized on Friday September 21st, the meat and potatoes of CPFC12 occurred over two days, Saturday September 22nd and Sunday September 23rd morning.  CPFC12 was organized to discuss issues and opportunities within the sphere of personal finance and investing in Canada.  There is a wealth of talent and expertise in Canada to help improve financial literacy for Canadians, and it was clear from the CPFC12 participant list this conference included many of those subject matter experts.

About the speakers and session list

Day 1

If you’re going to start off a personal finance and investing conference as big as this you might as well begin with a bang, listening to one the most successful bloggers in Canada, FrugalTrader @ Million Dollar Journey.  FrugalTrader discussed blogging as a business, what he learned over the years and shared how he has grown his business into one of the most successful, trusted and recognized blogs in Canada.

Next up, Glenn Cooke challenged many life insurance assumptions and shared some cold hard truths about the life insurance business and its products.

Adam Mayers, the Editor of discussed some valuable lessons and opportunities for our blogs based on his experiences with Moneyville.

Tom Hamza, President of the Investor Education Fund praised blogs like this one that are doing their part increasing financial literacy in Canada.

The presentation of the conference (in my opinion) was delivered by Kerry Taylor, better known throughout Canada as Squawkfox.  Kerry discussed how to build traffic on your blog and offered a host of tips for me to explore.  Her presentation was educational and engaging and captivated everyone’s attention.

Preet Banerjee took some time with us to reveal what he’s learned in the media industry, to help us become more prepared for print, radio or TV interviews that might come our way.  You can read about one positive media experience I had here with the Toronto Star.

Alyssa from delivered a very informative presentation about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), something I definitely need to use more on my site.

Yours truly had the pleasure of sharing panel with Canadian blogger pioneer Canadian Capitalist and CPFC12 co-organizer and popular blogger Krystal Yee to share our thoughts and perspectives about the work/life balance of blogging.  It was nice to hear many participants had takeaways from our panel discussion.

Day 2

Everyone listened to Tim Stobbs from Canadian Dream:  Free at 45 about his lessons learned from blogging to becoming an author using the self-publishing process.

Steve Zussino from delivered an outstanding presentation about building a newsletter list for blogs and offered a host of best-practices for folks running an online business to consider.

The effective writing panel was another highlight of the conference that wrapped up the two-day event.  It was great to learn from professional writers like Jonathan Chevreau, now the Editor of MoneySense Magazine, Dan Bortolotti, the Canadian Couch Potato and Vikram Barhat, Content Editor at

Some reflections and highlights from the conference

  • I was totally impressed how friendly, supportive and open superstar Canadian bloggers like Squawkfox, Canadian Capitalist and FrugalTrader are.  Their willingness to share ideas blew me away.
  • I finally met the blogger of Million Dollar Journey who is probably one of the most successful and humble people I have ever met.
  • I had some great conversations with Dan Bortolotti, the Canadian Couch Potato and Ram from Canadian Capitalist, two of the sharpest people who understand finance thoroughly and yet don’t work in the industry.
  • The networking and social event on Saturday night was fully sponsored by PT Money with appetizers and adult drinks bought and paid for all conference participants – which was outstanding.
  • Preet Banerjee is arguably the best conference/meeting moderator I have ever seen.
  • Ellen Roseman from the Toronto Star wished me continued success on my blog.
  • Sustainable Personal Finance is a very friendly and driven blogger, with some great goals and objectives.
  • Steve Zussino is one talented businessman.
  • Kerry Taylor is the best public speaker I have seen that rarely does public speaking.
  • I got the chance to meet many bloggers and business entrepreneurs that I have only interacted with online before this conference.  I can’t begin to list all these names but you know who you are. 
  • I was thrilled to learn how many people at the conference knew about My Own Advisor!

I could probably write more but if you’ve made it this far, you’ll know from the previous 800 words this was a great event.  I look forward to next year’s Canadian Personal Finance Conference to reconnect with fellow bloggers, learn more about personal finance, investing and blogging about it.

I look forward to reading the comments from other attendees and any readers if you have questions about the event.

30 Responses to "Reflections and Highlights from CPFC12"

    1. LOL. Awesome comment. Hopefully we can find a way to hook up and talk before CPFC13 next year. I mean, you’re just down the road in Montreal?!

      Thanks for checking in Mike. I will be promoting your ebook in a couple of hours 😉

  1. Thanks for this detailed post and all the comments.

    What a pleasure meeting everyone! The conference was extremely well organized. The venue is one of my favourites. The session lengths were just right. There was lots of time to mingle.

    I has pleasantly surprised at how humble the “famous” bloggers are. When I entered the room, the mysterious Frugal Trader introduced himself and knew who I was 🙂

    The first big financial blogger I met was Canadian Capitalist and then Preet. That’s going back years. They were (and still are) nice.

    Preet’s tips on TV interviews are timely because I’m on Qb with Joe The Investor tonight (an Internet show). This’ll be more of a conversation, which makes the experience less daunting. I’l think of sound bites.

    I’m looking forward to next year and maintaining the connections made.

    1. Hey Promod,

      Thanks for stopping by the site. I hope you continue to enjoy it and follow along.

      At CPFC12, it was great to meet so many like-minded people. Agreed, the session lengths were just right! I hope they keep the numbers roughly the same for 2013, lots of time to mingle and get to know people.

      Good luck on your internet show!

  2. Glad to hear you all had such a lovely time. I’ve been reading so many positive things about the conferences and can see how coming together in real life and learning and chatting through visual communication as opposed to over the internet can be so powerful. Cheers Mr.CBB

  3. Such a great event. Having Jonathan Chevreau and Adam Mayer each talk during their respective sessions about how to improve your writing was honestly just a storm of gold nuggets. Nice meeting you!

  4. If there’s one thing I’ve heard from others who attended this conference, it is that you are an amazing guy Mark. I’m really looking forward to meeting you next year and I’m going to try and do a better job following your blog this year. You’ve all been in my RSS list, but I’ll do my best to actively look for your new posts as you write them.


  5. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the kind words – it was great to meet you as well! The conference was a lot of fun. Best part was putting faces to people I’ve been working with and emailing over the past 6 years! 🙂

  6. Hey Mark, thanks for sharing your thoughts – they are appreciated. It was us who should be thanking you for making it so successful! Your insights were tremendous.

    I look forward to our next NCPFBA meeting in Ottawa in the near future…

  7. It was a great weekend!!

    Good job with highlighting the conference Mark.

    All the presenters did a fantastic job! It was awesome to finally meet all my favorite bloggers in person.

    As you mentioned Preet and Krystal did an excellent job organizing this conference.

    See you all next year……in Ottawa? 🙂

  8. Like I told Simon, I am kind of mad at myself for not figuring out a way to make this conference. We are definitely in for next year. I will definitely be picking your brain when it comes to the specifics of a few of these great speakers that you talk about!


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