I’m excited to have another Sunday Blogger interview. This week Jesse from PF Firewall was kind enough to take some time and answer questions about his site, his goals, and himself. I really encourage all of you to check out his site. He’s got a lot of great material that you’ll enjoy .He’s an active member of the Yakezie, an awesome network of personal finance blogs.

You may notice the slight change in format this week. I’m on the road and my phone is my computer this weekend, so I had to format this a bit differently.

PF Firewall Interview

Why did you start PF Firewall?

I started PF Firewall for a couple of reasons. I had just started getting my finances in line and really wanted to help others do the same, so I thought I would start the site to share all the things I was doing that worked as well as give advice on how to avoid some of the things that didn’t work. Everyone claims to be a financial expert and it can sometimes be hard to avoid financial pitfalls when the whole world seems to be suggesting you do something but it turns out to be the wrong thing.

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, I just document what I experience that works and that doesn’t.

Another reason I started PF Firewall is because I wanted to polish my writing skills and create a professional writing portfolio. I have always dreamed of being a writer so when I realized that I was passionate about the topic, I thought it was the perfect time to start writing. It’s never too late to start exploring new opportunities, right?

I love your blog’s name. I read about how it came about. Do you mind sharing the idea behind PF Firewall?

Sure! I’m a techy and work as a System Administrator, dealing with Firewalls and security all the time at my day job. One night I was trying to come up with a name for my new blog and the same day had dealt with some horrible customer service and felt very vulnerable. Because of that vulnerable feeling, I wanted a key idea of the blog to be to learn how to protect your money. Then the idea struck me; Firewall’s protect! But they don’t just protect from incoming harm, they protect something from unauthorized access, in or out.

So Personal Finance Firewall was born. It stands for the mental barrier that prevents unauthorized access to your money even if it is you trying to get at it for the wrong reasons. Firewalls are objective by design, and if someone, even authorized personnel, try to access something they shouldn’t, they get blocked. The more you build that barrier up in your own mind, the easier it will be to resist spending on things that hurt our long term goals.

It’s a tech thing 🙂

How do you handle financing your short term and long term goals? Do you automate your deposits for example?

I’m actually a Software Development grad, so automation is something else I am passionate about. Why do more work when a computer can do it for you?

As for my finances, just about everything is automated. Income comes in, and my online savings account is set to withdrawal a certain, albeit small, amount out of my checking every week. I have multiple withdrawals set up this way, and for good reason. You never notice the small withdrawals, so instead of setting my online savings to withdraw big chunks, all these tiny chunks of money go out each week. Because everything is automatic, I don’t often check my online savings account, and I just deal with the money that is in my checking. By the time I get around to looking at my online savings account balance, it has grown far more than expected without me even noticing.

As for goals, I use ING Direct and sub accounts to create all the different goals I have, long-term or short. Each sub account has it’s own withdrawal schedule to pull money from my checking account at different amounts and different times of the month. One thing I don’t do though is close out a goal account once that goal has been reached. Once I get used to the amount of money I have left at the end of the month in my checking account, there’s no need to increase what’s there so I let those goal accounts continue to grow over time. Eventually, I may go in and rebalanced them, moving money from one to another but for now, I will just let those account keep growing.

The one thing I don’t automate about my finances is paying bills. I feel a sense of accomplishment every time bill comes and I can pay it without worry so I’ll keep doing that manually for now.

You must have some favorite posts that you’ve written on PF Firewall, which are they and why?

Well, I love writing, so they are all favorites! But if I had to choose, these would be my top three:

Because I want to help others

The Most Important Part Is Starting: Debt Recovery

This post was one of my first that was inspired by a friend’s problem. I really wanted to help my friend get started recovering from her debt and as I wrote her an email about it, I realized she is most likely not the only person out there that needs help. So I wrote the email into a blog post instead. Hopefully some people have found it helpful.

Because I am a dad

Five Financial Lessons Learned from Bambi

I love my kids more than anything in the world. They are so sweet and innocent and it never ceases to amaze me what I can learn when I spend time with them. This post was about some lessons I learned from watching the movie Bambi with my two baby girls.

Because I am a geek

5 Awesome Personal Finance Apps for Android

Because of the geek in me, I felt like a kid in a candy store when I discovered the plethora of personal finance apps available for the Android phone. I spent hours downloading, and testing each and every app I could find to see what it could add to my life and in the end, narrowed the numbers to five. It was just so much fun to do, and just as fun to write about!

What are your goals this year with PF Firewall?

I have a few goals for PF Firewall this year. First, I want to become more consistent. There have been times when I didn’t make time to write. I want to eliminate that inconsistency this year. I love writing and I love interacting with my readers and I owe it to them, and myself to give the site my all for the long term!

My other goal for the year is to to branch out and become a bigger part of the personal finance community. During my first year of blogging, I was more inwardly focused, documenting my own personal finance journey. This year I made a goal to cover more topics on a broader scope so that more people will benefit from my blog. I want others to come to PF Firewall for the same reason I got into personal finance writing; to get educated about personal finance, and in turn create a better future.

Thanks again to Jesse. He’s a creative blogger and has a wonderful perspective on personal finance.

Joining the Sunday Blogger Series

If you’re interesting in being interviewed as part of the Sunday Blogger series, I have a few requirements.

  • You’ve been blogging for 3 months on personal finance and/or entrepreneurship.
  • You’ve publish genuine content. I want to connect to genuine bloggers, not linking to a spam site. I review all the sites before sending out interview questions.
  • You’re willingly to promote other bloggers in the series. I don’t expect you to tweet  every interview, but I would like interviewees to spread the word on their favorite bloggers. By the way, I don’t want others to just promote the posts here on Couple Money, please share posts from the sites of your favorite interviews. They are some wonderful bloggers out there.

By the way, if you’re looking to work with other personal finance bloggers, you may want to join the Yakezie Challenge. We try to promote the best content from each other’s sites.

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About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

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6 comments comments closed

  1. Nice interview with Jesse! Too bad I don’t have an Android phone so can’t check out those apps…

  2. Elle, this was tons of fun to do! I don’t talk often about myself on my site, or why I started blogging, so it’s kinda cool to share those things. I hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Great interview with Jesse. PF Firewall is a great blog and has a lot of great ideas when it comes to personal finance. I look forward to coming back and reading more post like this.

  4. Great interview. It’s nice to learn a few more things about the J-man.

    Too bad it wasn’t a video interview so we could watch Jesse squirm a little :).

  5. Coach, I will be starting a video series in coming months so you will get to see me squirm plenty 🙂