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Was The World Domination Summit Worth $500?


This is WDS 2013.

Would you pay $500 and travel a long way to attend a conference called the World Domination Summit? Have you even heard of WDS?  This secretive conference is organized by Chris Guillebeau, the author of The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World. 2013 is the 3rd annual WDS and there were nearly 3,000 attendees. I had heard about WDS since the first year, but I didn’t really know what the whole thing was about.  Tickets sold out in 15 minutes anyway and I wasn’t prepared to pay $500 to attend a conference that I didn’t know anything about.

$500 isn’t cheap, but since I already live in Portland, I wouldn’t have to pay for travel and lodging. I also have a personal goal to attend one conference a year so I bit the bullet and purchased a ticket as soon as it went on sale. Then a funny thing happened – I started to feel a little twinge of regret as WDS approached. I still didn’t really know what the conference was about and I wasn’t sure if it was a good decision to spend $500 on this…

Still, I already paid my $500 so I resolved to get into the spirit, put on the WDS shirt and socks, and then headed out the door. After a full day of phenomenal talks and meeting amazing people, I’m happy to report that it was an awesome experience for me.

Be Remarkable

I also have a better idea of what WDS is about now. It’s all about people who are trying to live a remarkable life in a conventional world. (Chris’ words.) WDS is made for these folks and it’s a great feeling to see so many people trying to break out of the box.

If you

  • Are totally fed up with the corporate BS.
  • Feel that you should be making a living doing something else.
  • Don’t want to work until you’re 65 and then retire to a life of leisure.
  • Are searching for your calling/purpose.
  • Want to follow your dream.
  • Just need a little push.
  • Are trying to make the world a better place.
  • Want to meet a ton of remarkable folks who are in various stages of transforming their lives.

Then WDS is calling to you.

Darren Rowe World Domination Summit

Darren Rowe living his Superman dream.

The Sessions

The talks were just awesome. They were all so inspirational and really got me pumped up. The presenters were  top notch and I’m sure transformed many lives over the weekend.

Nancy Duarte talked about how to communicate to your audience more effectively. Mrs. RB40 would have loved this talk since she is so involved with Toastmasters. I learned how great speeches are structured and it will be very useful for my writing development.

Darren Rowse of Problogger talked about how he began pursuing his dreams again. When he first started, he didn’t even know how to bold text and now he is making a great living doing what he enjoys. This was my favorite talk because Darren showed people how to start transforming their lives.

Bob Moore of Bob’s Red Mill went over how he built a 200 million dollar/year business and gave it away to his employees and educational funds. Bob taught me you can’t do it alone and you need to share your profit with your employees.

Crowd’s favorite Jia Jiang gave a great talk about facing rejections head on and accepting them. Sometime, I just wouldn’t ask for something because I don’t want to hear the negative reply. I’m sure everyone does that, but Jia encourage us to face our rejections head on. I’ll try to keep this lesson close to heart and embrace rejections more.

Chase Jarvis encouraged us to feed our creativity and relearn what we knew when we were kids. As we age, creativity gets crowd out of our busy lives. You can bring back creativity into your life by starting small and creating something. You’ll never know where it will take you.

Can you imagine sitting in a theater with 3,000 extraordinary people and listening to these talks? There was electricity in the air. You can turn to the person next to you and you’ll hear an unconventional story that is sure to inspire you. I have never been in a place with so many crazy people before.

The Amazing Crowd

Clearly, these are people who are not satisfied with the status quo.   They were motivated enough to travel a long way to transform their lives and connect with like-minded people.  Normally I’m not very good at meeting new people. I used to say I’m an introvert, but actually, I’m just not that social. However, attendees here are so interesting because each of them have a remarkable story to tell and I wanted to know more about them.

For me, I already made a big jump last year when I quit my job to become a stay at home dad/blogger. I love my current situation, but it’s not permanent. I want to do something more when our kid starts school full time (in 3 years) and I don’t know what it is yet. There were many people searching for their next act and I feel like I’ve found my tribe. I collected a few contacts and I’ll definitely follow up and see where these folks will take themselves next.

So yes, I think it was worth $500 for me to go at least once. WDS was an unforgettable experience in an otherwise mundane year. A decade from now, I’ll still remember this event. That’s worth the price of admission to me. Seriously, if you ever thought about living an unconventional life, then you really should check it out too. Next year, I’ll encourage Mrs. RB40 to attend. I think she’ll love it.

What do you think? Would you try coming to WDS? I’ll buy you a beer if you make it to Portland next year. 😉

*Update* I just purchased a ticket for our chief editor to attend WDS14! I think she will have an awesome time.

PS – This article just covered Saturday. I’m too worn out to talk about Sunday too. Here is a bonus picture of the after party.

World Domination Summit Bollywood

DJ Prashant transported the WDS crowd into a huge Bollywood movie.


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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 74 comments… add one }
  • Hammo April 26, 2015, 2:15 am

    Well, I’m a little late to this party including missing out on WDS in 2015 tickets, but with some careful planning I hope to fly from Australia to Portland in 2016, to make this event. And seriously people are bawking at $500. I’ve had $500 of value just looking at some of the released videos from previous years.

    • retirebyforty April 26, 2015, 11:25 am

      I thought they have more tickets now. It’s a great conference to attend at least once. Cheers

    • jean-pierre raymond December 20, 2019, 9:50 am

      How many people that started WDS have retired at 40 even 50, since started going to the event ?

      • retirebyforty December 20, 2019, 9:56 am

        WDS isn’t really about early retirement. It’s about changing your career and trying to find something you enjoy working on.
        I already retired from my engineering career when I attended in 2012.

      • jean-pierre raymond December 20, 2019, 9:58 am

        It sound like a great support group. But many speakers are ! What do people take from it ? Is it just for people with deep pockets . Lot deeper than mine to even get there. Medically disabled and fixed-income doesn’t afford much opportunity to expand in life. So for people like me all the mental fortitude doesn’t always work like the financial fortitude can…

        • retirebyforty December 21, 2019, 1:18 pm

          I think it’s a good fit for white-collar professionals who can’t stand their job. If you don’t have as much resources, then you have to do your own research and figure things out yourself. It’s helpful, but not really necessary. I don’t recommend it if you need money for something else.
          Good luck!

  • brydanger December 2, 2014, 6:28 am

    We finally attended a few local/smaller events here in Portland and can attest to the crowd of people being simply amazing. Something happens when you collect a group of people who are simply interested in, much less are actually out chasing their dreams and looking for a way to live life on their own terms. Definitely our people, and a group i wish we would have run into back when we needed the courage to make “the leap”.

    Still not certain if we’ll attend the summit this year or not…but I also recommend it based upon all the personal stories i’ve heard.

  • Stryder July 12, 2014, 9:13 pm

    How are you going to tell me you’re too worn out to talk about Sunday when it hasn’t even happened yet… It makes you sound dishonest.

    • retirebyforty July 12, 2014, 10:05 pm

      Ummm… This was 2013.

  • Nico July 10, 2014, 7:02 am

    This post, and in particular the list you detailed at the beginning, really spoke to me. Here I sit, on the eve of WDS 2014, and this is EXACTLY THE QUESTION I’m asking myself! Thank you for the reassuring post.
    Incidentally, I’ll be staying in Portland through the 30th, and would love to know 2 not-too-miss things about Portland I can do with my family (2 kids under 4).
    Feel free to reach out to me via email. Or if you ponied up for the wds fee again, perhaps we could meet there.
    Blessings !

    • retirebyforty July 12, 2014, 12:14 am

      I hope you’re enjoying WDS and Portland. It’s a lot of fun. I’m not going this year, but Mrs. RB40 is attending.
      I would go to the Rose garden in Washington park. There is a great playground there. Also check out Jamison square for some wading fun for the kids. They’ll love it. Have fun!

  • Lisa April 21, 2014, 10:36 pm

    Thinking about coming up this year.. that beer offer still stand?? 😉

  • QuadBee September 24, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Bought tickets already? Thought tickets are on sale tomorrow…

    • retirebyforty September 24, 2013, 3:50 pm

      I got the presale for the WDS attendees. Good luck!

  • Saul September 22, 2013, 10:42 pm

    I have the same concerns as I consider whether to buy a ticket this year. As someone who lives in an intentional community of artists, goes to Burning Man each year, and is already surrounded by unconventional people … I worry that I might be underwhelmed. I’m not looking for basic inspiration to “follow my dreams”, but more in-depth, practical lessons on living in today’s world. Do you think it would be worth the price for me?

    • retirebyforty September 23, 2013, 9:12 am

      It’s probably worth it for you to go once. There are some practical lessons in the workshops. It depends on your niche though. I recall it was good for bloggers and photographers. You can make more connections too. That’s always good.

  • Kim July 15, 2013, 12:55 pm

    “I want to do something more… and I don’t know what it is yet. There were many people searching for their next act and I feel like I’ve found my tribe.” Your quote sums up perfectly what WDS meant to me this year. I’m in a transitional stage in my life and I went to be inspired and meet people either doing awesome stuff or wanting to somehow. That definitely happened and I’m glad I went once to experience what WDS is about. And where else can you get nearly 3,000 people on the dance floor?

    Looking forward to staying in touch with you and your family, Joe, and seeing what you end up doing next. 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2013, 3:37 pm

      Yes, let me know what you’re doing next too. It’s going to be a slow process for me because I have 3 years to figure it out. 🙂

  • Glen Craig July 15, 2013, 8:10 am

    Sounds like the summit lived up to its expectations. I really wanted to go but the timing didn’t work out for us this year. We’re thinking about making WDS part of a bigger trip next year but we’ll see how it plays out.

    Do I have to go to WDS for the beer or can I just visit Portland?

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2013, 3:30 pm

      Just let me know when you’re in town! Good luck making it a part of the Portland trip next year. Are you coming out this year?

  • Roger July 11, 2013, 10:04 am

    Thanks Joe,
    This was a great review! I have heard about this from the many bloggers I follow, but never really knew what it was about or how much it cost. $500 is expensive, but it would seem to be worth it, if you look at it as an investment in yourself for the year.

    I was happy to see that Jia Jiang presented. I had the privilege of interviewing him on my podcast. He is a great speaker and is so open and honest.

    I hope to go to WDS next year.

    • retirebyforty July 11, 2013, 9:55 pm

      I found out about Jia from your podcast and invited him to lunch before WDS. It was great to meet him in person before he got swamped by the WDS attendees. 🙂 I look forward to see where life takes him.

  • Anton Ivanov July 10, 2013, 10:12 am

    May be attending next year after reading your recap!

  • Buck Inspire July 10, 2013, 1:21 am

    Nice recap Joe! Cool for those of us who couldn’t make it. $500 is a little rich for my blood. I hit BlogWorld LA when it was in my backyard. I still have a 9 to 5 so I hit it after work and on the weekend. I just got the entry pass and hit as many keynotes, networking sessions, and vendors as possible. How does it compare to FinCon? Besides inspiring speakers and stories, did you get actionable items that you are currently implementing now? Will you hit SXSW?

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2013, 3:31 pm

      FinCon was probably more useful professionally, but WDS was a lot more fun.
      I got a todo list for the blog. Most of that is from Darren Rowe. I got a lot of energy from WDS though and it should help carry me through the rest of the year.

  • Justin McClelland July 9, 2013, 11:58 pm

    Yes, this was a great conference indeed. It’s pricey but well worth it. This 2013 WDS marked my second year attending. There is just no other conference that I know of that attracts these type of extraordinary people.

  • Michelle July 9, 2013, 7:17 pm

    This conference is now on my list. Wow.

  • Pauline @ Make Money Your Way July 9, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Looks like it was an awesome edition once again. Last year I saw a few of the talks once they were published online (JD’s talk was great) and was in awe of what Chris did giving everyone $100 to go start a project and make a difference. I am not really into the whole motivational scene but would love to attend to meet all those amazing people.

  • steve July 9, 2013, 1:15 pm

    3000 people at $500 each = 1.5 MILLION dollars!

    To me that’s a business, not a philosophy. Based on your description it sounds like all the myriad motivational speeches/clinics/conventions.

    • retirebyforty July 9, 2013, 2:50 pm

      I’m sure they spent most of the money on the conference. It was very slick and the venues were great.

  • Martin July 8, 2013, 10:26 pm

    wow, well you got my attention. When you asked your first question if we knew what WDS was, my first reaction was, “heck, I have no clue!” So I continued reading and this is exactly what I was looking for. At this moment I do not have time to watch all those videos, but I will keep your page open to watch it later.

    And, I will be baaack!!!

  • Daisy @ Young Finances July 8, 2013, 9:02 pm

    I have wanted to go to the sumit for the past couple of years, but have never had a chance. It’s expensive and also getting time off has been difficult. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!

    • retirebyforty July 9, 2013, 2:49 pm

      Hope you can make it someday. It’s a lot of fun.

  • Jeff Rose July 8, 2013, 8:58 pm

    Also didn’t know what to expect but I knew I had to go at least once. Between two tickets (for the wife and I), airfare, travel, etc; definitely not cheap.

    Would I go back? Absolutely.

    Was the conference perfect? Absolutely not. They need to have either more breakout sessions or larger rooms so people won’t be shut out.

    What was the best part of the conference? Loved most of the speakers (a few were flat but still offered some interesting insight)

    The best part, by far, was making new connections. I have at least 10-15 new bloggers/entrepreneurs that I met that all seemed genuinely interested in helping me. That’s not counting the many more relationships that I strengthened by having a chance to connect more.

    By biggest takeaway from the conference was a true sense of community. I’ve never felt this at any other conference; at least to this magnitude.

    • retirebyforty July 9, 2013, 2:48 pm

      That’s great to hear. I met quite a few people too, but I’m not sure how they can help me. 🙂
      I just joined the WDS PDX group and we’ll meet once in a while. It will be interesting to meet other local attendees.

  • Dave Markowitz July 8, 2013, 4:03 pm

    Energy equals energy out.

    I went last year and was really closed off to the experience. It was my own ego and I don’t blame any attendees, the high-fives, Chris, or the entry fee. I take full responsibility.

    What I did learn:

    Not all learning is done from the speakers directly.

    I went to WDS expecting to be inspired while not offering anything back to others who can benefit from my experience. I was not sharing my gifts, and sharing my gift is my key to feeling whole. It was a great learning experience for me, well worth the entry fee, to get off my butt and make a difference in the world.

    My second book is coming out this Fall, and I’m helping clients in deeper ways than ever before. Keep up the great work, WDS!

    • retirebyforty July 9, 2013, 2:47 pm

      I think you’re right – energy in equal energy out. Usually I’m not very good in a crowd, but this time I really open myself up and made some connections. It was a lot of fun for me.

  • krantcents July 8, 2013, 2:50 pm

    I think it may be generational! I am at an age and spot in my life that I no longer need or want motivation. It helps that I am sitting on a nice nest egg. I think I started blogging for a different reason.

    • mayanqueen July 15, 2013, 6:58 pm

      Please tell us where to invest, how, guide us, I am so lost in that department and so discouraged. House is paid for, non drinkers, non smokers and like the song…so happy together. Just don’t know exactly how to invest. Did some CDs when we were younger and when interests were high. Have forced retirement account. Don’t like the idea to tie down money for centuries or to have access until death. Many complain about rental properties. Our best investment so far has been to pay off our nest, send kids to college. But we still feel young but not that young to tie our money for 20+years! I just dislike that concept. Any other options? Thanks!

      • retirebyforty July 16, 2013, 9:36 am

        I would go with I bonds and some index funds. If you keep dollar cost averaging in, then you will most likely come out ahead.

  • Pretired Nick July 8, 2013, 1:51 pm

    I’ve considered going in the past, but since you basically just described me, maybe I’ll have to take it more seriously now. Either way I’ll get down to Portland one of these days and drinks are on me!

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 2:39 pm

      I think you’ll enjoy it at least once. It was totally worth it for me.

  • [email protected] July 8, 2013, 9:52 am

    I would certainly have to do some more research before considering going. Hopefully having like-minded folks together would inspire those to action. As others have mentioned, that would cost me quite a bit to attend, so I’d probably wait a while.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 2:36 pm

      I couldn’t find much information. That’s why I wrote this post.

  • davidmichael July 8, 2013, 9:14 am

    What a great conference. WDS. Loved the talk on rejection.

    As an entreprenuer for 20 years with my own small company before the age of the internet, I found as the President and Founder, that I would have to jack myself up annually and get off to conferences and workshops to keep me going and learn valuable insights and lessons so I could share them with my employees (and my own vision.) For me I left a very secure teaching job with lifelong tenure to chase a dream. Looking back on it, I can’t believe that I did it. And it was the most challenging part of my life. Sooner or later, as the company CEO, we are going to have downtimes and rejectiona. Business is much like a bell shaped curve…up in the beginning reaching the peak at some point in time, and then a slow or fast cascade downwards often to backruptcy or to another new beginning or retirement. There’s only one constant, and that is that life and dreams change.

    I went to one weekend conference/seminar titled, “Personality Styles.” It totally changed my life and my whole relationship with myself, employees, wife, and loved ones. It cost about $300 at the time (about $600 today) but it was worth tens of thousands. And that’s the secret about these conferences. You only need one topic that may change your viewpoint or vision to make an extraordinary life. Believe me, to constantly be the source is a demanding undertaking for a period of 20 years. These conferences can help along the way and give that extra boost to continue on the road towards Retiring by 40.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Thanks for your insights. It was very valuable for me because it gave me a lot of energy. Blogging can be a long slog and you get burn out sometime. I need to find more conferences that I can learn from.

  • mr40% July 8, 2013, 7:57 am

    I have to start of by saying that in 2012 this was easily my favorite conference – didn’t really know what to expect and the calibre of the speakers was just top notch so I had no hesitation in signing up for this years conference – I can’t say I’m as committed this year.
    This years WDS lacked a lot in comparison though and overall I came away disappointed – while the content in places as noted above was very good it was not as strong as 2012. I really can’t put my finger on it – some of the speakers were very compelling, like most conferences – I connected with some folks, good conversations, good insight – like most events like this – but as someone made reference to above the atmosphere was just off – the whole ‘awesome’ cheerleading feel put me off. Too much time spent clapping each other on the back and listening to how ‘awesome’ everything is (everything is not awesome and sometimes it’s good to recognize that)

    You do get the sense that there is a certain group of bloggers/writers that benefit the most from the networking aspect – when you start to read some of the sites you begin to see patterns of pitches to check out so and so’s new book/seminar/course/travel-hacking etc etc.

    When I spend $500 to come here, I expect a lot more depth – we were told over and over again by every speaker that content is king, trumps everything else and it seems the organizers took some serious shortcuts this year.
    Not quite cult like, but there is a large segment of the creative class that are unsatisfied with the daily grind and this conference plays right into that sweet spot. From the returning alum of ’11 & ’12 I heard grumblings (not everyone of course) about the quality of this years event and many questions about whether they would return next year. On the flip side of that as of 8am PST nearly 700 people have signed up for 2014 already so this is just my opinion…
    I will certainly keep this on my radar for 2014 and maybe book it later in the year when the next batch of tickets become available and I’ve had more time to digest this years WDS but I won’t be booking straight away..

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:56 am

      I suspect the 2nd or 3rd year will be less impactful. It’s like finding a great burger joint. The first time you ate the burger, it was awesome. The second time it’s still good, but it’s not awesome anymore. 🙂
      Thanks for your input. I probably won’t attend next year and send Mrs. RB40 instead.

      • Phr3dly July 8, 2013, 9:14 am

        I wonder if this conference just grew too big too fast.

        Apparently the first year had 500 people, and not that much publicity. You can be pretty sure the people who showed up were there because they were part of a network, and probably really benefitted from the additional networking.

        But this year (my first year), most everyone I talked to came /looking/ for inspiration, not because they’d already been inspired. I was certainly in that crowd. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but while it’s easy to get inspired with 2/3 of the people you’re talking to are doing something interesting, it’s much harder when 90% of the people you talk to seem like they’re just burned out at their job and want to get rich by blogging.

        (Pardon the tangent, but the ‘personal finance’ blogging community sometimes strikes me as a pyramid scheme.. Maybe I should start blogging about that..)

        I haven’t ever been to burning man, but I know people who have gone for a long time, but recently stopped going. They stopped going because now must of the people who are going, are going simply to be at burning man. Not because they have a lot to offer. I wonder if this same phenomenon is what turned me off by the WDS?

        • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 2:35 pm

          I think they probably should stop at 3,000. The production was very slick and you can tell they put most of the money back into the conference. There were some logistic problems though and hopefully, they’ll figure it out.
          I guess it depends on luck too.
          I only met one disgruntled corporate drone. Everyone else I met was working on something or another.
          What’s the pyramid scheme? 🙂 I’m curious. Am I apart of this without knowing it?

  • Michelle July 8, 2013, 7:38 am

    Sounds expensive, but I would like to go someday 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:53 am

      Hope to see you here!

  • Phr3dly July 8, 2013, 7:04 am

    My wife wanted to go, so I went with her. We’re local so the cost wasn’t too bad.

    Like you, what really concerned me was that I could not tell what it was about. I searched online, and just found a bunch of bloggers talking about how great it was. No details. When we got there the atmosphere really bugged me. It felt like walking into an Apple Store with the high fives and the self congratulatory baloney.

    Basically lots of people wandering around talking about how they are thought leaders and game changers.

    That said, I did enjoy about half the talks. Jia Jiang was great. So was Test Vigeland.

    But maybe I’m just too cynical to get the full benefit. While we were standing in one of the many lines I looked behind me and saw a billboard for a scientology seminar. I couldn’t help but quip to my wife that at least that brainwashing was free of charge.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:53 am

      That’s why I wrote up the a little detail today. Hopefully, it’ll help some people make up their mind.
      I liked the first day more. The second day was a little flat for me. Some speakers didn’t connect with me, but it was still fun. Tess Vigeland and Don Miller were good for me on Sunday.
      I’m usually cynical too, but I got into the spirit for this weekend. I already paid $500 so I might as well enjoy it. 🙂

    • Financial Samurai July 8, 2013, 2:06 pm

      First negative feedback I’ve read about WDS. Thanks for sharing.

      Was it not fun though? I always have a lot of fun at night at conferences. $500 is steep, but it makes me bullish 3,000 bloggers can afford $500 for tickets alone. More money out there than we know!

      • Phr3dly July 9, 2013, 8:43 am

        Was it fun…

        Here’s my problem (and I acknowledge that this is /my/ problem, not a problem with WDS). I have a really tough time enjoying an expensive dinner, even if the food and atmosphere is great, because I can have a cheap dinner with great food and atmosphere.

        WDS was an expensive dinner. I really enjoyed several of the talks (though I really did /not/ enjoy a few of them). But I’m not sure I enjoyed the talks any more than watching the same (more or less) talks for free on Youtube.

        So what else was there? The interaction. As I mentioned elsewhere, I found that a small portion of the attendees that I talked with seemed to be doing something that I’d consider “interesting” (or “remarkable” as Chris would say). The rest were there for roughly the same thing I was, trying to find the motivation to leave the corporate world. So you get a bunch of burned out folks (myself included) mixed with excessive and sometimes forced enthusiasm.

        So for me, the experience was overall only marginally positive. On the other hand, the cost was not that significant in the overall scheme of things. In fact, despite the above, my wife really did enjoy the conference (and she’s not burned out or looking to leave the corporate world), so she bought tickets for next year.

        • Financial Samurai July 10, 2013, 7:21 am

          Whatever you do, don’t quit, get laid off instead. I wrote an entire book on the subject and have a guest post up today with a reader who successfully engineered a six month severance.

          I’m a big fan of doing things, executing a mission. I don’t need motivation. I need facilitation.

          Thanks again for your thoughts!


  • Kurt @ Money Counselor July 8, 2013, 7:01 am

    If we can firm up that date for you to buy me a beer, I’m in for next year’s conference! 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:49 am

      It’s the second weekend of July – 11th to 13th. Looking forward to seeing you. 🙂

  • John S @ Frugal Rules July 8, 2013, 6:22 am

    Definitely sounds like an interesting/motivating conference. I don’t know that I could plunk down that kind of money, but I do plan on going to at least one professional conference each year. I consider myself introverted as well, so it’d be interesting to see what it would be like for me.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:48 am

      Yeah, if it was anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t have gone. I’m glad I went though.

  • Thomas | Your Daily Finance July 8, 2013, 4:09 am

    I cant see me spending $500 on WDS and then having to pay for room & board, travel expenses and food!!! For some its worth it if only for the networking and for others it will be a waste. Not because the event is worthless but because they go there hoping to find motivation. You either have it or you don’t just being around people wont help you when you go home. I think those are better for people who are doing it already and have stuck with it but need that extra push to get over the top. $500 is a lot I wonder how many people show up. Jia Jiang is one if my favorites saw this vid on YouTube.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:47 am

      Jia Jiang was great. We actually had lunch with him before WDS and that was fun. He is working on a book now.
      The talks were quite good. It’s about motivation and inspiration, but there were actionable steps there too.
      Some people want to do something, but they just don’t know how to get started.

  • nicoleandmaggie July 8, 2013, 4:02 am

    This particular conference is the one that really sets my scam/cult meter off, ever since JD Roth’s emotional write-up of it a few years back (followed by several years of trying to find himself– and he’s still looking). Knowing that the registration fee is $500 doesn’t help. But lots of people want to buy into this kind of hype– it’s why Rich Dad Poor Dad is a best-seller. In fact, pretty much all the bloggers I’ve read writing this up over the years talk about how thrilling (cult-like) it is to be there, and then either they do nothing, telling themselves that eventually they’ll build wells in Africa or something, or they become miserable with their current lives. Or they make money off the people who want to buy the message.

    Me, I’d rather be happy and satisfied with my life and do things that are real. In the hat and cattle business, I’m all about the cattle, and not spending money, time, and angst searching for a bigger hat. Or selling them.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:45 am

      It was a ton of fun and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone I met will be able to change their lives.
      Not everyone would be able to do what they want in one year, but we saw quite a few people who managed it.
      One guy finished his book. I think they did manage to dig some wells in Ethiopia.
      It was good for me to go once.

    • J.D. Roth July 10, 2013, 1:18 am


      You’re making some crazy assumptions here supported by opinion rather than fact.

      First, my WDS write-up a couple of years marked the end of my trying to find myself, not the beginning. I’d be struggling for a decade to figure out who I was and what I needed to do. WDS 2011 didn’t give me the answers — but it was a catalyst.

      Second, I’m not trying to find myself anymore. I’m happy with my life, and love what I do. Not sure why you think I’m still searching for something.

      Finally, you’re making judgments about the conference and the attendees based on…what? Have you watched the talks we’ve posted online? Have you talked to attendees? Have you been there yourself?

      You’re accusing WDS of not selling cattle, but you haven’t even visited the ranch.

    • Tyler Hurst February 2, 2014, 9:51 am

      What makes you think it’s a scam?

      And aren’t more rabid fans similar to cultists?

      No one is paid to work for WDS, by the way. Completely volunteer-run, and Chris loses money most years.

      • Rick Stone July 11, 2014, 5:27 pm

        Just a casual observation. But at $500 per attendee, if 3,000 attendees are present that would be $1,500,000.00. With that sum of money, it’s hard to fathom someone would LOSE money on the conference. 😉

    • ash July 11, 2014, 1:44 pm

      I think you missed the whole point of the conference…it sounds like you would be around a lot of like minded com-padres. I do not believe the goal, and certainly not for me, is searching for “a bigger hat”. It is about not only being okay about your small hat but desiring a tiny hat or give your hat in an instance to someone looking for a different hat. Because the one still looking is not going to find it in a hat, and the one already satisfied with a tiny hat has already known they do not need a hat at all and that is why a tiny hat is just as thrilling as any.

  • Financial Samurai July 8, 2013, 1:23 am

    Sounds like a great time Joe! Lucky it is right in your home town. It’s always fun to see a year later what people have done.

    Greetings from Lucerne!


    • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 8:42 am

      Hope you’re having fun in Lucerne. You should come next year. I think you’ll like it.

      • Financial Samurai July 8, 2013, 2:15 pm

        Don’t think I can afford it Joe! But it warms my heart to see 3,000 fellow bloggers be able to afford the $500 ticket a lone. That’s telling that blogging is more lucrative than people really know. Besides, it’s a business expense.

        Lines and crowds get to me. I don’t need motivation at the moment, but maybe one day when I’m burnt out from writing and traveling I’ll give it a go, but that means having to travel to Portland! 🙂

        • retirebyforty July 8, 2013, 2:41 pm

          They are not all bloggers. A lot of people have full time jobs. Some people has online stores. Some are working part time. The thing they have in common is that they are looking to make a change.
          Yeah, the line got long a few times.

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