When Tori Dunlap asks women why they don’t invest, their response is almost always fear – fear of getting started, fear of losing money, fear of making a mistake.
“This fear is a narrative that investing is more difficult, intimidating or reserved for men,” she said. Fortune. “And of course, none of those things are true. But we are told these stories to keep us from knowing more about how to invest. And investing is our most powerful form of wealth creation.
Dunlap, 28, is the founder and CEO of Her First $100K, a financial education platform for women. Dunlap also hosts a business podcast, conducts virtual workshops, and has a book coming out in December titled, financial feminist.
To her two million followers on TikTok, she’s known as the woman “who fights patriarchy by making you rich.”
Everything she does, says Dunlap, is aimed at helping women find financial freedom, whether it’s teaching how to invest, giving advice on how to prepare for a recession, or using credit cards. responsibly, sometimes wearing a “breaking the patriarchy” t-shirt.
“I don’t believe we have any kind of equality for a marginalized group until we have financial equality,” she said. “And I’ve seen that in my own life. I saw that I could get out of toxic situations when I had money.
A “no shame” approach to financial education
Dunlap set a goal: to save $100,000 by age 25, and she said she did it a few months early (her company’s name comes from the milestone). She quit her job at the company and turned her side hustle — a blog she started while working to document her journey — into a business.
“I was coming of age, then of womanhood in America, a different America than we all thought,” she said. “I was trying to figure out what kind of person do I want to be? What do I want to stand for? In my personal life, in my own individual experience, I realized that I had more choices when I had money.
Since the creation of her company, she claims to have reached four million people through social networks and her podcast (95% of these people are women). And last year, she says, the company made $3.4 million in revenue.
Still, Dunlap credits his parents for their help and the financial habits they instilled in him. She said being able to save money so early in her life had a lot to do with graduating from college without debt. She was able to do this in part thanks to the financial assistance of her parents, her personal savings and her scholarships. But she also worked multiple jobs while in college, and she set up automatic transfers from her checking account to her savings every month — she called it “saving on autopilot.” Dunlap also opened a Roth IRA (an individual retirement account) at age 22 and tried to max it out each year.
Although Dunlap said her business was already thriving before she started creating content on TikTok in 2020, she knows her social media presence has taken her even further. But that can sometimes be a double-edged sword.
“TikTok is so incredibly important to our business,” Dunlap said. “However, there are so many people who still don’t take us seriously.”
She continued: “We had to show our legitimacy in other ways, [like] through the podcast or through the book.
Still, the focus on social media has helped her reach audiences, like Gen Z, who she didn’t initially think she’d be interested in. And that could be because his content goes beyond what might be considered “typical” financial advice, such as his thoughts on financial red flags in relationships and whether to combine finances. with a partner.
Her business, podcast and TikToks are all about taking a “no shame” approach, something she says the financial world is lacking.
“Most of the financial advice so far gone mainstream – Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman – have all been extremely shameful and judgmental and in no way recognize systemic oppression,” Dunlap said, referencing other financial gurus .
She added, “So the reason you’re not rich is because you’re not working hard enough, right? This is the story.
There are many factors a person can’t control: gender, race, sexual orientation, Dunlap said. They can have more impact on a person’s finances than other personal choices, she said. And that’s why she said she wanted to start her business, to give women the resources they need to improve their financial skills.
Dunlap’s website includes a money quiz that helps provide users with personalized financial plans and resources, some free and some not, to help users achieve their goals. She said the average cost of these tools is around $50, but some are as low as $15.
Dunlap’s key tip: automate everything you can. This means setting up automatic transfers from checking accounts to savings accounts, automatic 401k contributions, automatic bill payments and credit card statements. But aside from that, Dunlap says to be patient because not everyone knows how to best manage their finances and it takes time to learn.
She said money is power and if women are able to improve their finances, they can help others along the way. But that doesn’t mean they have to give up what they love, she said, adding that she spends a lot on one thing she loves in particular.
“I like really good food,” Dunlap said. “That’s where the majority of my money goes, trying every restaurant I can.”
Last year, Dunlap stood outside a museum in Florence and heard someone shout his name. She said it looked like they had known her forever. The woman approached her and told her that she had been able to leave an abusive relationship thanks to Dunlap’s advice; she says they are still in touch.