All posts by Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez shares money tips and reviews on My Financial Reviews.

Get Financially Naked Review

get financially naked review

I love reading and over the last couple years, some have been personal finance books. I thought it would be helpful to include some of my thoughts on personal finance books out there. I’m going to start off this new series with Get Financially Naked.

Basic Book Infoget financially naked review

I’m going to present a brief review of some of the chapters so you can see if this book would be a good fit for you in your situation.

Get Financially Naked- An Overview

Thakor and Kedar introduce the book by sharing their goal of empowering readers to be actively involved with their relationships and finances. They explain the process of doing this and how the book is organized.

  • Own Your Finances, Own Your Life
  • Talking Money with Your Honey
  • Time to Get Tactical

Each section has it’s own focus and it’s a good framework to guide readers to getting a better handle on their finances.

Own Your Finances, Own Your Life

I think sharing what other think financial empowerment means is a great way to open this section. Kedar and Thakor have a visualization exercise to help readers define their goals. They also give the link for readers to download this worksheet and others from the book.

Besides having the reader participate by having the book become a personal guide with worksheets, Kedar and Thakor share their own money struggles, triumphs, and fears.

Talking Money with Your Honey

Money can cause a huge strain on a relationship, so Kedar and Thakor start off with some questions and scenarios to assist you to determine if someone is living beyond their means. There is a big difference from someone who is hit by hard economic times and someone who needs help with managing their money.

This section has quizzes and worksheets that you and your significant other can review and discuss. It also address some major life and financial events like:

  • Buying a House (or Renting)
  • Owning a Car
  • Retirement Planning
  • Having Kids
  • Extended Family Obligations

Time to Get Tactical

This section was definitely my favorite part. Kedar and Thakor manage to give practical and doable tips on what to do with your money. They cover a range of how and whys of having:

  • Emergency Funds Ready
  • Savings for Big-Ticket Items
  • Retirement Accounts

They end the book with a brief guide on sustaining your financial system. the appendix with frequently asked questions is a wonderful read in itself.

My overall impression of this book is positive. It’s a little book packed with a lot of good information. Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar have done a great job creating a practical guide for couples looking to manage their finances. It offers readers worksheets and scripts to help you get started with the difficult conversations on finances.

Suburban Dollar – Interview with Kyle

suburban dollar interview

I want to highlight some blogs that I really enjoy reading and keep up with regularly on my blogroll. I’ve started a Sunday Blogger series to interview some of my favorite personal finance sites. This week I want to introduce you to Suburban Dollarsuburban dollar interview

Suburban Dollar Interview

Kyle, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Lets see, I am 6′ tall, athletic, with deep blue eyes… oh wait this isn’t that kind of site is it. I am your typical suburbanite. I am married with two and half kids (the dog is the 1/2) I own a home and both my spouse and I work more than full time jobs for a living. I think one of the things that sets me apart is the utter lack of finance, economics, and accounting background. I am a computer guy, I have a bachelors degree in Network Security and Forensics and while I am a CISA, I am not a CPA or CFP. I try to bring the topics down to my level, someone who before they read/wrote that post may not have had any idea about the topic. I have a huge willingness to learn which has helped me tremendously

What motivated you to begin blogging about personal finance?

My initial motivation was money. I know I will be hanged for the statement. I had been an avid follower of many of the big name PF blogs and the one thing I centered on was increasing the cash flow into my home. I tried things like Cash Crate and online surveys but there is no passion in that. You can’t wake up and and say I can’t wait to take a 40 minute survey for $2.

I saw a post from Jim over at Bargaineering about starting a blog and I thought I would give it a go. Personal finance has become a passion of mine so why not write about it and try to bring a little cash on the side. The cash isn’t exactly falling of the trees, yet, but I am having a blast.

What are your favorite personal finance books?

There are so many they start to meld together in my brain. I really liked “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton it was simple. No ratio’s or complex theories. I also liked “Smart Couples Finish Rich” by David Bach it had some good bits on working together as couple. I could always say Dave Ramsey but then people would just think I had a thing for people named Dave.

What are some of your favorite posts on the site and why?

I enjoyed “Football Week” which was more of a series of posts than a single post. It was fun to relate personal finance to something people are more aquainted with.

My most popular post “Pay Your Mortgage Off Early” because it was the highest ranked post I ever had in Google at #2 for a little while.
It is hard to say which ones were my favorite, I have written 281 posts now if you include the deals I list on my site, I am sure there are far better ones I can’t think of right now.

I’d also like to point out that Suburban Dollar also writes Wealthy Bloggers which tracks different personal finance bloggers’ net worth. Yours truly is on there and is determine to move up in that list :)

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year with Suburban Dollar?

My biggest goal is just to be able to find the time to continue to do it. There are times when you struggle to get this in along with a 40+ hour work week, infant, toddler, and wife. I would like to start to see a monthly profit that actually means something fiscally. I was called unresponsive the other day and while I think the person was just upset with me over their own situation it made me realize I hadn’t taken a big enough stake in growing this community.

My immediate goal is to rectify that situation and become more engaged with my readers as well as with other bloggers in the community.

Welcome to My Financial Reviews!

Welcome to My Financial Reviews

I think appropriate that the first post on My Financial Reviews be about this site’s objectives, history, and goals.

My Financial Reviews MissionWelcome to My Financial Reviews

My mission is to help MFR readers gain control of their finances by reviewing various financial resources that fit their particular needs. I do this by reviewing books, financial services, products, and companies.

The idea for this blog started over at my other site at Couple Money. Over there I write about how couples can build their finances together by living on one income and achieving their dreams with the second.

One aspect I enjoy about blogging is helping others discover personal finance books and services that could help them, but if I accepted every review off Couple Money would lose its focus. To maintain the same continuity as Couple Money I transferred over older review posts and included their original dates.

I decided to go and start My Financial Reviews as a way to make it easier for readers to find information they can use. It also allows me to write reviews to help others build their net worth while maintaining Couple Money’s own objectives.

Connect with My Financial Reviews

I hope you enjoy using MFR as a resource. If you’re looking for ways to enhance the site’s usefulness for yourself and others, please join the community by:

  • Share your thoughts in the comments section. I  love reviewing thoughtful comments from readers.
  • Stay up to date with all the latest posts  by subscribing  either by email or RSS. This saves you time and is completely free.
  • Email me at elle(at) MyFinancialReviews (dot) com. I do read my email daily (except on vacations). I would love to hear from you personally and I’m open for feedback.
  • Chat with me on Twitter.  Besides catching my daily thoughts, I also enjoy answering questions and chatting with others.

If you find one of the reviews helpful, could you please share it with your friends?


As you can probably guess, I’m not a financial guru and I make no claims to be. I’m constantly learning about personal finances and this blog is just a collection of the tips and life lessons we pick up. Couple Money is not intended to be a source for professional advice.

If you’re looking for professional help with your finances and you live in the United States, try using The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) to find a fee based financial planner.  They should be able to work with you and your individual financial situation.

Interview with Baker from Man Vs Debt

adam baker from man vs debt

One of my goals for My Financial Reviews is to highlight personal finance blogs and sites that I think can help you with your finances. I’m excited to have Baker from Man vs Debt answer a few of my questions about the blog behind his mission to become debt free.

What’s your end game goal with your Man Vs Debt website? adam baker from man vs debt

From a purely blogging standpoint, I want Man Vs. Debt to be able to support the most basic needs of our frugal traveling.  For us, this currently equates to around $2000-$2500 per month in profit.  That being said, I’m not willing to “sell-out” to get there.  I’m not sure I will ever run ads on the site.  I want to be able to create specific, quality-focused content that will help fill the needs of the readers.  I’d much prefer a approach than a standard blanket of Adsense ads.

Who is your target audience when you’re writing on your blog?

You know, I don’t really have one.  My target audience is really me, I guess.  I right what I’m passionate about and what I would want to read.  I don’t know whether this is selfish or genuine, but it’s really what I do!

That being said, I love interacting with readers, commenters, and other bloggers.  Some of my best posts and ideas have come out of these discussions!

How long have you been blogging?

Just a little over two months.  I started on March 22nd, 2009.  I had been wanting to get going for a long time and really regret not doing it sooner.  If you are thinking about starting a blog…  stop what you are doing and DO IT NOW!  It’s a blast and the community is freakin’ awesome.

What’s your blogging schedule?

I usually wake up around 6-7 a.m. and reread the day’s post before it goes live.  Sometimes I find more typos or am able to cut out sections.  I try to post around 8 am EST.  From 8-10 or so I will clear my inbox, network on twitter and gchat, read through the mornings RSS, comment on blogs, and network some more.  I almost never write in the morning…  so much going on!

Arounf 10-11, things start to slow down and I start to work on the next few days post.  Often times this is finalizing tomorrow post or putting together a carnival, whatever.  I have tons of ideas for posts and between 5-10 outlines, but I rarely get the WHOLE post done much sooner than 24 hours.  I really would like to work on this though.

I usually get some writing done after lunch, before doing some more reading, networking, etc… around 3-4.  By this time the multi-posting blogs have other stuff up and a couple more people are interacting on twitter, etc…

I try my best to take the evenings off, however once my daughter goes to bed around 9:30 p.m.  I have been known to stay spend a couple hours at night finishing work I should have already had done from earlier.  It all depends on the day and how flexibile my wife is being ;-)!

Do you batch write your posts or do you work more on the fly?

I work much more on they fly.  I batch post ideas and even outlines most of the time.  But when it comes to actually writing them, I rarely bang them out one after another.  I would like to get into more of this style of writing.  My wife is currently trying to help me transition into this mode, by creating a system/schedule for writing, etc…

As a blogger, what do you do that gives you the biggest bang for your buck in bringing in traffic?

My best posts always contain a couple factors.  First of all, they are almost always written after personal experiences.  Selling my car, how we eliminate our debt, attending Town Hall for hope, how we protect from ID theft, Our Australia trip, etc…

Second, they are almost without questions posts that I put a lot of time and passion into.

Third, they all have been linked my a major personal finance blog or social media site.  Early on, a link like this can really skew your data on your “best” posts.  However, I’d like to think that speaking from personal experience (rather than from an ivory tower) really helps connect with other bloggers to receive links.  In addition, I feel that they can see that I’m very genuine and very passionate about the topics.  This can’t hurt either.

What’s your most popular post? Why do you think it has become a hit on your site?

Haha, well my most popular post by about 100x is 67 Ways NOT To Sell A Car…  a little weird I know.  The kicker with this post is it actually hit the front page of!  That’ll skew your data for sure!

However, once again this was a list (easy to read), was based on a personal experience (selling my Nissan), and was genuine and passionate (I tried to add humor, as well as make fun of myself for my stupid mistakes).  I think a lot of people could relate, which gave it the push it needed.

 Do you ever see yourself being a full time blogger?

Absolutely.  I’m still very young in blogging and have a lot to learn, but I really feel I could be a successful full-time blogger.  There are a lot of factor that are involved, but I am intent on learning the ropes as fast as possible!

Thanks again to Baker for taking time  for this interview! If you haven’t checked out Baker and his family on their journey to becoming debt free please visit Man Vs Debt or chat with Baker on Twitter.