By Lauren Ritchie Orlando Sentinel.
Oh, girls, you are sooooo gonna hate Cary Carbonaro's ex-husband.
But you are so going to love her book.
Carbonaro, a nationally recognized certified financial planner based in Clermont, is this week releasing her first book, "The Money Queen's Guide." The subtitle is "For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear."
Last week, the book hit No. 1 New Release on Amazon.com before it even was available. It is to come out on Tuesday.
The book makes a link between self-esteem and money that will resonate with plenty of women readers, regardless of whether they are married or single. For Carbonaro herself, it was a protracted and vicious divorce that got her attention and demanded that she plan her financial future, something most of us neglect. And, hey, she is a financial planner.
And therein is the comforting message: Failure to plan can happen even to the pros, but it doesn't have to happen to you.
Once Carbonaro gets that notion across, she's off and running in a book that, like the author herself, bubbles cheerfully and sweeps the reader easily along.
Divided into decades, the 144-page book gives women of any age a way to get their arms around the intimidating world of money without making their eyes bulge and glaze. The book is practical. For example, she uses the real-world example of a $30,000 a year income and lays out how the earner can save in a 401(K) for a stable financial future without pain and how to manage current bills.
Tidbits of fun-facts-to-know-and-tell are scattered throughout the book, such as this one: "Money Queen Fact: 61 percent of women are offered a 401(K) or similar plan." (Subliminal message: Use it.)
Carbonaro starts with recommendations for 18-year-old women just starting out on their own and takes on the scariest prospect that haunts older women -- that they are afraid of running out of money in retirement.
She breaks through the idea that stability can't be achieved on a modest salary, such as the $30,000 she cites.
"Women can become financially literate -- so what if you haven't done it before. You can still do it now," she said in an interview. "You can take care of yourself. I really want that to resonate."
Carbonaro said she has had two books skipping around in her head for some time -- one about her divorce and everything she did wrong, and the other encouraging women to plan for the future. In the Money Queen, she did both.
"The story of my divorce was actually quite interesting -- a juicy story," she said.
In the book, she acknowledged, "Many of my bad decisions came in the form of my taste in men. My Achilles heel was intimate relationships. I was simply attracted to the wrong type of guy," she wrote. Sound like anyone you know?
After years of therapy and rebuilding her business, which went largely to her ex-husband in the split, Carbonaro struck up a conversation with a man in the security line at the Orlando airport while waiting for a flight to New York, where she lives part-time.
They emailed for several months, and eventually, Carbonaro, now 47, married him. This time, Carbonaro did the financial side of marriage right.
Advance copies of the Money Queen have been out for a month or so, and Carbonaro is getting positive feedback from readers -- especially female ones.
"The women are loving it. I kind of look at myself as a financial cheerleader," she said. "It doesn't matter who you are. You can do this. It doesn't matter if you think you're not strong enough or don't know math.
"Women who read it are saying they feel uplifted, empowered, like they can do this no matter where they are in their lives."
The Money Queen's Guide is a great gift for women, and Christmas is a-comin'.