The Serena Williams of personal finance

We look up to athletes, movie stars and authors. Do we ever admire the way people manage their money? Do we wistfully look at a financial guru and sigh, “I wish I could be like them.” While they don’t have the sexiest of jobs, someone who is a boss with money can be pretty admirable. Over the years, Tolga and I have read/watched several financial folks and some have stuck with us. We’re using this post to highlight those who have influenced our thinking of personal finance.


As you’re all aware, up until recently, I have sucked with money. I was in a shit-ton of student/consumer debt and was caught in debt-fatigue. During this time, I found a couple people who really helped me get my debt organized. Here is my list:

  1. Gail Vaz-Oxlade

I’m sure this name rings a bell. This woman takes no shit from anybody. You may have seen her on TV or read one of her books. She doesn’t care for your excuses and sees money as a tool and a resource. Just like any other tool or resource, money can be your blessing or curse. My biggest lesson learned from Gail is you need to respect YOUR money. You can have a fun and fulfilled life, but you need to be able to afford it. Just because you can’t have it right now, doesn’t mean you can never have it. The value of tracking your cash and expenses really helped me understand the value of my money. I don’t think she’s on TV anymore, but have a look at her website for budgeting tips and other online resources.

  1. Smart Cookies

 About 8 years ago, while I was on my emotional spending trips at Chapters (being sad about debt made me want to spend money – sound familiar?!) I came across a book called The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough  and it caught my eye. I bought it and started reading that night. I liked their relatable approach to money (they initially all sucked with money like I did!) and had common-sense ideas about how to make more money. They are all normal people, with normal jobs and didn’t have a background in finance. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book or seen their website, but if you’re look for simple yet effective advice on how to save money, you should check these ladies out.

  1. Tolga

 It may seem super lame that I put Tolga down, but it’s true! This man is stupid smart about money and finances. His gift is that he can break down complex financial jargon and make it relatable. He also has the patience of a saint. Many nights he would console me while I cried about my debt. He (I’m sure frustratingly) listened to my excuses about why I wasn’t getting ahead of my debt. Countless times he re-did my budget again and again and again. When I FINALLY got ahead of my debt, he celebrated with me and gave me the confidence to keep up the progress. I wouldn’t have become debt-free without him and his support.

That’s it for me! Time to pass the baton to Tolga.


Similar to Lindsey, I’ve found a couple books that have really helped me with personal finance and investing. When I first started reading more about these topics, I found these books really helpful:

  1. The Wealthy Barber

 Dave Chilton’s popular book The Wealthy Barber resonated with a lot of people. I recommend this book to anyone who is starting to organize and learn more about personal finance. Some of the biggest lessons learned are;

  1. Live within your means
  2. Pay yourself first
  3. Control your spending
  4. Invest Prudently
  5. Take a long term view

He highlights these and other lessons in the book. It’s really straight-forward and a good foundation to understanding your money.  However his follow-up book, “The Wealthy Barber returns” was disappointing. It was not as good as the first and I personally didn’t like it.

  1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad

In the same manner of The Wealthy Barber, Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad has numerous financial lessons for people struggling with personal finance. He highlights the importance of financial literacy and what our mind-set should be when it comes to money. Biggest lesson learned was how to make money work for you instead of you working for your money. Easier said than done but very powerful.

For investing, there is one book I highly recommend reading which is:

3. Money, Master the Game – Tony Robbins

He really takes complex matters and makes it simple. And really teaches you a lot of things that the average person should know but doesn’t. I know a lot about finance and I learned a TON from this book. I changed a lot of things I was doing because of this. So I highly recommend it.

Have a good book recommendation? A podcast we should listen to? A website to peruse? Let us know! As always, thanks for reading!


2 thoughts on “The Serena Williams of personal finance

  1. Hey guys!

    As always, fantastic stuff. About Gail, she is still on TV, I used to watch Till Debt Do Us Part all the time, and more recently discovered she has a show called Princess. It is cheesy beyond belief, and a guilty pleasure.

    Keep up the great pieces!


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