We’ve heard from so many of you lately that you are re-evaluating your money goals in 2021, and re-prioritizing your savings. You’re really looking at these next few months as an opportunity to get your financial future on a better path — or start it anew — and it’s such an amazing thing when you commit to taking those first steps.
But it’s often those “first steps” that are the most difficult. Whether you’re starting from zero, or you need to get back on track after a job loss, a divorce, or just a rough year where all of your priorities took a forced shift, you want to be saving as much as you can, and doing as much as you can… but where do you start?
Our guest this week, Tori Dunlap, founder and CEO of Her First 100k, started at age 25, saved $100,000, then quit her corporate job in marketing to start her own company dedicated to fighting financial inequality for women.
One of the best ways to describe what Tori does is to use her own words. When you go to her website, HerFirst100k.com, you’re greeted with the following:
“I’ve negotiated at least 10% more for every job I’ve ever held.
I max my Roth IRA every year.
I have a proven budgeting method that doesn’t deprive me of what I love.
And I’m here to help you do the same.”
Today, Tori has helped over one million women negotiate their salary, pay off debt, build savings and invest, and she is spreading the financial-savvy gospel to Gen Z in a major way, with 1.6 million followers on TikTok.
Listen in as Tori tells Jean how she got her start. (Hint: she maxed out her Roth IRA every year, and squirreled away as much as she could in her emergency fund!) She discusses why it is that the “first $100k” message has hit such a nerve, and what it means for our future goals when we can hit that milestone. We also talk about whether that milestone can be considered “rich,” and what, with the help of compound interest, that money might turn into one day.
Jean and Tori also discuss the harmful narrative that “the reason women aren’t rich is because they buy too many lattes.” (And of course it’s not just the latte. It’s the avocado toast, coupled with the harmful rumor that women spend frivolously.) Tori dives into why she thinks this falsehood has persisted, and why we can’t deprive ourselves of things we enjoy — the tiny “little luxuries” that make life worth living.
Tori often says that the best way to fight the patriarchy is to “get rich,” and to keep talking about money + salaries + investing with all the women in our life. Jean and Tori break down how to do just that, and how we can talk about salaries with our friends without directly coming out and demanding, “So, how much do you make?” Tori stresses that the cornerstone of the financial feminism movement is open and honest communication with our fellow women, and lifting one another up at all times, personally and professionally.
Tori and Jean also dive into debt, and how women hold most of the debt in this country. Tori offers up her best advice on how women who may be struggling with debt can pay it down. Of course one of the best ways to combat debt is to throw more money at it, and what better way to do that than to earn more? To that end, we discuss the best things women can do now to help close the gender wage gap in our own lives.
In Mailbag, we break down how to fill out the FAFSA with your ex-husband, and what to write on your child’s college application if your former spouse is not contributing to the cost of school. We also dive into the need for having a fiduciary for your estate, and why it’s important to have “back-up” fiduciaries in case something happens. And in Thrive, what NOT to do if you win or inherit money.
This podcast is proudly supported by Edelman Financial Engines. Let our modern wealth management advice raise your financial potential. Get the full story at EdelmanFinancialEngines.com. Sponsored by Edelman Financial Engines – Modern wealth planning. All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416
Tori Dunlap: (00:01)
Are you willing to be a million dollars less rich just because that conversation seems scary? Because the truth is, they’re not going to fire you. There’s this fear you’re going to like piss somebody off or that you’re going to seem ungrateful. And the truth is you’re actually going to seem a lot more powerful. You’re going to seem a lot more sure of yourself. If you go about negotiation in the right way.
Jean Chatzky: (00:23)
HerMoney is supported by Fidelity Investments. At Fidelity, we believe planning for retirement can help you feel better about where you stand today and more prepared for tomorrow. Visit Fidelity.com/HerMoney to learn more. Hey everyone! I’m Jean Chatzky. Thank you so much for joining me today on HerMoney. We have heard from so many of you lately that you are re-evaluating your money goals for 2021, that you are reprioritizing your savings. You are really looking at these next few months as an opportunity to get your financial future on a better path, or just start it all over again. And that is amazing. I have loved speaking with a number of you about this in our Facebook group, our private, HerMoney Facebook group, and as part of our FinanceFix coaching program, because I just love seeing members of our community taking these first steps. I also know that it’s often the first steps that are the most difficult, whether you are starting from zero, whether you need to get back on track after a job loss or a divorce, or just a rough year where all of your priorities took a forced break.
Jean Chatzky: (01:41)
You want to be saving as much as you can and doing as much as you can, but where do you start? Our guests today started really early. She started at age 25. How many of you wish that you had started at age 25? I am raising my hands so high. She saved a hundred thousand dollars and then she quit her corporate job in marketing to start our own company dedicated, to fighting financial inequality in women. And I know some of you are screaming. You know who I’m talking about. I am talking about Tori Dunlap. She is founder and CEO of Her First 100k and host of the Financial Feminist podcast. And I think one of the best ways to introduce Tori is by using her words. When you go to her website, HerFirst100k.com, you are greeted with the following. “I’ve negotiated for at least 10% more for every job I’ve ever held. I maximize my Roth IRA every year. I have a proven budgeting method that doesn’t deprive me of what I love. And I’m here to help you do the same.” Today, Tori has helped over a million women, negotiate salaries, pay off debt, build savings and invest. And she is spreading the word to gen Z in a major way with 1.6 million followers and counting on TikTok. Hey Tori, So nice to have you here!
Tori Dunlap: (03:12)
It was like watching my life flash before my eyes like hearing you read all that. Thank you so much for having me on I’m so excited to be here.
Jean Chatzky: (03:19)
Well, we are really, really excited to have you tell me, how did you get started? And even more than that, why did you get started at age 25? Like, what was it that just “said I’m doing this?”
Tori Dunlap: (03:35)
I was lucky enough to have a financial education from my parents. I was lucky enough to have parents who had made really smart frugal financial choices and who wanted to give me a better life than they had. And so they pass those learnings onto me. I learned not to overspend on credit cards. I learned how to negotiate. And I thought that was the case for everybody. I thought everybody knew how to money. And of course realized very quickly that that wasn’t the case. And graduated college came into adulthood, talking to my female friends and realizing that there was this huge gap in how we educate men and women about money and how we talk about money differently and realizing that with that privilege of a financial education that I had came a responsibility. And so I graduated college in may of 2016. Trump got elected soon after that.
Tori Dunlap: (04:25)
And I realized I was coming into womanhood as a 22 year old coming into a different America than I had expected. And again, through these conversations, I realized that not only there was this huge education gap, but really that our best form of protest against inequality for any marginalized group was a financial education. And so I was working my nine to five in marketing and I started a blog that later became her first hundred K on the side. And then it just grew from there. And for me and my own personal finance journey, I ended up reading an article about someone who had a net worth of a hundred K at 25. And I’m a very goal oriented person and thought maybe I can do one better and save a hundred K. And the joke was always, if I can do it the day before I turned 26, it still counts. And so I hit my a hundred K goal at like 25 years, three months. And so I hit it ahead of schedule and that was kind of the origin story of her first hundred K was me progressing towards my first hundred K while cheering on everybody else who was also progressing towards theirs. And so, yeah, like you said, now, we’re this, this global huge movement of women who are fighting the patriarchy by getting rich. And it’s what I believe I was put on this earth to
Jean Chatzky: (05:32)
Do. I love that because I don’t think it’s just a financial education that is changing things. I think it’s getting rich. I think it’s having money. I think it’s accumulating wealth. However fast you get there. What is it about you and the first hundred K message that you think has hit such a nerve? I
Tori Dunlap: (05:52)
Think one of the big things, and you know, this you’ve been in this industry for so long, so well celebrated and, and so good at your job that plenty of the people who have been in this business for a long time have adopted very shaming and judgmental language in order to get their ideas across. And there’s one person in particular who I’m thinking of. And the problem with that of course, is that psychologically it doesn’t work. People are not motivated by shame. They’re not motivated by feeling judged. And in addition, I think that the shame and judgment for a lot of these more traditional financial experts has also come with the lack of acknowledgement of systemic oppression. So we can’t toast talk about money as a personal individual issue, right? If I’m a woman I’m going to live seven years longer on average than a man does, and I’m going to make less money than men do.
Tori Dunlap: (06:45)
And I’m going to be, if you walked into any financial advisor’s office, right, and you said, I have a financial plan, that’s going to be seven years longer than most people, they are going to give you a different strategy, right? So of course, I’m going to have to manage my money differently. If you are a person of color, if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, if you’re disabled, if you’re a member of a marginalized group, you will have to manage your money differently. And I think that that has been, what’s been missing for so long with these financial conversations is yes, we have a lot of control over our own individual choices. However, there’s these large systemic issues at play that we also need to acknowledge and talk about. There’s so much influence that we can have a course on our own decisions, but there’s so much that’s just systemic. And I think part of my work has been radically seeing that and acknowledging it and focusing on providing a shame, free judgment, free environment and community for folks. And I think that it’s just been what people have been really needing. I it’s what I needed. I know when I was starting my financial journey, I didn’t want to get advice from people who made me feel terrible about myself and my decisions.
Jean Chatzky: (07:52)
I agree. And I think you and I are doing a lot of the same work in not tolerating the judgment and not tolerating the shame. Right? If we find that in our Facebook group, it’s just, those people are not allowed to participate because that is not the home. And that is not the community that we are looking to create. Right? I do think that you’re a hundred percent right in thinking about and raising up the fact that it’s not just us, that has to change it’s society that has to change. I mean, let’s talk about the coffee because as a financial journalist for so many years, I get so frustrated with the coffee producer says, well, let’s talk about how much money you can save if you and not Kathryn the producer, by the way. But at some other unnamed producer, let’s show people how much money they could save. If they just stopped buying the coffee, it is about the coffee. No,
Tori Dunlap: (08:57)
We could talk about this for hours. You and I, the first thing is why coffee and particular, right? It seems very feminine, right? It seems like very much a massage monistic lens through which we’re viewing personal finance. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is that the math doesn’t work. The reason you can’t afford a house is because you buy too much coffee. The math does not work. I live in Seattle where the average home price is $800,000. I could buy six coffees a day and still not be able to afford a house. Right. That’s not the thing. The map doesn’t work. Right. And of course it’s shaming and judgmental. And it’s also telling us that these things that we do to bring us joy don’t really matter. And that you shouldn’t write these like small indulgences that make life worth living like a yummy latte are the things that you should cut and that you should be deprived and that you should basically hate your life in order to achieve your financial goal sooner. And of course, that’s horrible advice, right? It’s like, it’s like dieting. The more you tell me, I can’t have fried chicken. The more I want fried chicken.
Jean Chatzky: (10:01)
So the donut or whatever. Yeah.
Tori Dunlap: (10:04)
Certain thing here. And it’s, I think it’s it’s so yeah, it’s shaming. It’s, chef’s mental, the math doesn’t even work. And it’s also, again, focusing on deprivation and focusing on the small things. The reason, again, that you’re not building wealth is not because you buy a coffee. Occasionally it might be because you haven’t started investing or maybe it’s because the black and brown communities have been disenfranchised since the Dawn of time. Right. That’s probably more likely, right. So I think that all of the nuances taken out of the don’t buy the latte conversation. And just from the personal finance angle, again, the math doesn’t work. It’s not really good advice. And it also doesn’t acknowledge all of these other aspects that are at play. When you give kind of blanket advice like that.
Jean Chatzky: (10:53)
Now it’s so personal. I mean, know where your money goes, figure out where you want your money to go, what your priorities are, what you want it to do for you, and then make your choices. But don’t just look through one universal lens. Can we dig into the a hundred K for a second? First of all, it is one of my favorite candy bars. But what is it? No, it is. I mean, it’s a wonderfully underrated candy bar, but what is it about that? It is what is especially frozen. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one frozen, but oh yeah. And make fives.
Tori Dunlap: (11:26)
They’re very similar and I’ll freeze those. And those are,
Jean Chatzky: (11:29)
They’re kind of like a Heath bar. If you freeze it, then you can whack it on the counter. And it will split into a million pieces of delightfully, frozen caramel and chocolate. But what is it about a hundred K as a number, right? It’s not a million, it’s not half a million, but it’s not 10,000 either. What is it about that number?
Tori Dunlap: (11:50)
I feel like now a hundred K candy bar needs to be like HerMoney sponsor. Now that like shameless plug was perfect. I know we got to get on it. No, for me, we’ve all heard the quote, right. The hundred first hundred. K’s the hardest. Right. And then from then it gets easier, right? Because of compound interest. Right. If you can save that first hundred K there’s so much heavy lifting that that a hundred K can do for you for a decade, 2, 3, 4. For me, it was, it was focused on that of if I can, again, do a lot of this heavy lifting early, then I can kick back and relax a little later. And I didn’t deprive myself. I still went to Europe. I still ate out. And that’s part of what I teach my clients is, is there’s so much progress you can make towards your financial goals while taking care of present you.
Tori Dunlap: (12:34)
So for me, yeah, the a hundred K was a compilation of a couple different things. The first and the first thing I like to acknowledge is I graduated without student debt. It was a combination of me working three jobs on campus and getting a bunch of merit scholarships. My parents were also able to financially contribute a little bit to my college education. So that’s the first privilege I’d like to acknowledge is I would not have hit the a hundred K as quickly as I did had that not happened. So didn’t have student debt, but in terms of the actionable things that I did, again, we were talking about like spending money on your priorities. I do with clients. What I like to call the three value category practice, which is you figure out the three areas in your life that you want the majority of your discretionary money to go to.
Tori Dunlap: (13:13)
And you spend really hard in those areas and you don’t worry about the rest of it. So for me again, the deprivation, it didn’t feel, it didn’t feel like I wasn’t giving myself the budget that I needed in order to enjoy my life. Because I spent the majority of my money on the things that I loved for me, it was travel food out and you can’t see it, but plants, I have 55 plants in a 650 square foot apartment. I have so many plant babies. So like those were the three things that I wanted to spend my money on. So I got really clear on mindful spending on prioritization with my spending and that helped a ton. I automated my savings. I set up an automatic transfer from my checking account to my savings account happened on autopilot. Didn’t even know really didn’t even feel it didn’t know it was happening.
Tori Dunlap: (13:54)
And that’s, that’s a tip that I give to everybody is even if it’s only $20 a month, even if it’s 1% of your salary, like set up an automatic transfer, I started investing really early. I opened up my Roth IRA when I was 21 and continued to invest. And I side hustled her first hundred K, which is now my full-time gig was a side hustle because I wanted to eventually be an entrepreneur. So when I started it in late 2016, I was not only saving a percentage of my marketing paycheck, my nine to five corporate paycheck. I was also saving everything after taxes and expenses that I brought in from my business. So that was kind of the a hundred K equation was privileged that I’m the first to acknowledge, but a lot of hard work in terms of being strategic, about spending money on things that I loved and saving and investing where I could and maximizing my tax advantage, retirement account options. And the cool part about the a hundred K at 25 is that if I never invest in another penny, which of course I haven’t done, but if I decide I never want to save or invest another dollar, I will have over 1.6 million. By the time I retire at 65. So a lot of that heavy lifting that I did early allows me a little bit of the flexibility and freedom to be able to ease off the gas pedal
Jean Chatzky: (15:01)
As I grow older. Yeah. Is a hundred K rich. I mean, what is you talk about the best way to fight the patriarchy is to get rich. As I said, I think that’s awesome. But what is rich these days? What does it mean to you? What does it mean to your followers and your fans? That’s
Tori Dunlap: (15:19)
A really good question. I have more than a hundred K. Now my business has done really well. I have more than that first hundred K now. I mean, I want to give the classic response that like rich or being rich or wealthy is about really time and freedom and flexibility. And I do believe that’s true for me. It’s not about the money. I don’t want a stack of government issued paper that does mean nothing, right. That gets me nothing. It’s more the ability to start a business and grow my business. And now employ people I can to give people jobs, the coolest thing I get to travel and buy my best friend dinner without even me thinking about it. Right. Or I get to pay off my car and not feel like I’m in debt to somebody else. Right. I get to donate to causes.
Tori Dunlap: (16:05)
I believe in, I get to give money without having to check my budget now, which is so cool. I have the flexibility to marry if I want to somebody that I love, not because I’m financially dependent on them. I have all of these choices and all of these options. So for me, being rich is really being financially independent. I don’t know if there’s a number. I don’t know if there’s a specific yeah. Dollar amounts, but for me, it’s more the flexibility in the choices. And really, if I could point to anything that has built my confidence, I’m a very confident person, but even more confident now that I’m financially independent and I’ve seen so much of your work and you talk about this so frequently, it’s like the, again, the choices and the flexibility that money in a financial education and financial stability, what that can offer you.
Tori Dunlap: (16:54)
Like I am so confident. I don’t have to stay in a toxic situation. I don’t want to be in anymore. I can leave. I can remove myself. I can only take opportunities, both romantic or professional or personal rate that feel good for me rather than feeling like I am dependent financially on this thing. And that has been absolutely liberating. And it’s the feeling I want for every single woman on this planet. Every single woman deserves to feel secure in herself, secure in HerMoney and knowing that yes, she has the freedom and the opportunities to build the life that she wants
Jean Chatzky: (17:30)
Is that the definition of financial feminism is that it being able to make your own choices, being able to build the life that you want, being able to feel that sense of power and independence and freedom and choice. I mean, it just boils down to I’m driving my own bus. Right. Right. And
Tori Dunlap: (17:54)
I think there’s two ways to look at that. Right. When I first start with a lot of clients into my own financial journey, it was the realization of like, oh my gosh, it’s just me. Like, it’s just me. I’m out here alone. And I have to figure this out myself. And, oh my gosh, it’s just me. That’s terrifying. And the simple mindset switches, oh my gosh, it’s just me. It’s just me out here. I can make my own decisions. I can work to build again, build the life that I want in the way that I want. And I think that is the definition of financial feminism is the resources and the choices to harness your power and to use money as a form of protest, not just for yourself, but for your community and people around you for your family, for generations to come for your friends, for your communities. I think that that is the power of financial feminism is using your financial education, using your resources as a form of protest against these unjust, patriarchal, racist abelist systems. Right. And yeah, I think that that is the most powerful thing. I don’t think we have any sort of equality for marginalized groups until we have financial equality and financial feminism is, is the movement towards that.
Jean Chatzky: (19:02)
I want to come back to our discussion about lifting other women up. But before I do that, let me just remind everyone that HerMoney and conversations like this one are proudly sponsored by fidelity investments. Whether you are just starting to save for your retirement, whether you are inching closer to it, whether you are working on your first 100 K or whether you are already enjoying your post-career years, fidelity can help guide you every step of the way. And when life throws you changes, as we all know, it will fidelity is there to help you keep your financial plans in check so that you’ll feel better today and more prepared for tomorrow. You can visit fidelity.com/HerMoney to learn more. I am talking with Tory Dunlop, founder and CEO of Her First 100k and the host of the Financial Feminist podcast. Let’s talk about how we elevate other women. Let’s talk about how we help them along, how we promote them, if we’re able to promote them. What does that look like in your daily life? And what do you think it should look like in all of our lives?
Tori Dunlap: (20:12)
Yeah, I mean, we’ve kind of had this very interesting global reckoning in the past year, especially with regards to lifting women up, but specifically women from marginalized communities, especially black and brown women. And I’m speaking to you as a white women, like I said, I have a ton of privilege and it’s something I’m continuing to educate myself on and figuring out how do I best support, not just women in general, but specifically women who are more marginalized, I think, and again, I know your work is so focused on this talking about money. It seems like such a small act, but it is so powerful. And if you are a male identifying listener, you have even more power in terms of talking about money and advocating for your partner, your friends, your coworkers, who are women. I think that it’s so important to have radically transparent conversations about money.
Tori Dunlap: (21:10)
So many people feel all of that shame and judgment and fear around money because it exists in these shadowy spaces. We’re told that talking about money is taboo. And I think we’re told that because it’s a patriarchal narrative. We are told money is taboo talking about money as taboo as a way for the patriarchy to continue to stay in power, right? Because if they tell us, don’t talk about money, don’t invest because investing is not for women. Don’t have conversations about your salary because that’s like gauche, right? Then they continue staying in power. They profit off of your silence. They profit off of your inaction. And so one of the best ways that women can support other women that men can support women is talking about money, talking about your, maybe anxiety around your debt, your salaries, giving specific numbers. I love your advice of the over and under rule of okay, if you don’t want to give your direct salary ask, okay, are you making over or under a hundred K a year?
Tori Dunlap: (22:08)
And that can be super helpful, right? I think talking about money being as open and transparent as you’re willing to be is so powerful. It allows us to feel less alone. It allows us to have these tangible things in terms of, okay, now I know I’m making less than this other person right now. I know. Or if I’m an entrepreneur, there’s so many actually women in the personal finance space who I have reached out to and said like, Hey, I’m getting pitched by this company to come speak. I was thinking this amount of money, what do you think? We’re all transparent with each other? And of course they go, oh no, well, I was paid two K more. So you should get that right. Or they’ll do the same with me. There’ll be like, Hey, this brand or company reached out. Right. And we support each other.
Tori Dunlap: (22:50)
In that way. We talk hard numbers. We advocate for each other at the end, for me of every press interview. I get I say, Hey, let me know if you have any interviews or any features that you’re working on, that I can help with or that I can connect you to someone. So if you, you might not need to talk to me or someone with my story, but maybe I know somebody, right? And I have a network of women who are women of color, who are women who are disabled or differently abled. Like I have that community that I can connect that person to in terms of opportunities. So talk about money, be as transparent as you’re willing to be and advocate for them, actually in specific ways, figure out how to show up better for them in your life, in your work. If you are a business owner, you have a lot more influence over that as well. And I think that that’s, again, how we bridge this inequality gap is being more transparent and sharing opportunities with each
Jean Chatzky: (23:43)
Other. I want to talk about debt for a minute. You mentioned it. You often talk about the fact that women hold most of the debt in this country. How do you see women typically struggling with debt? A lot of it is student debt and what’s your best guidance. Yeah.
Tori Dunlap: (24:01)
We know from the statistics that women hold two thirds of the student debt in the United States. And we know that the biggest reason why is because they don’t understand how a loan works. There’s that lack of education there a fully understanding payment periods, the difference between federal loans and private loans, the difference between certain private loans, right? And the period at which you get grace versus there’s all of these different things that we’re not letting 17, 18 year olds know when they sign on a dotted line. When I was 17 or 18, I mean, I didn’t know anything. Right? Most 17 or 18 year olds they’re being asked, what do you want to do with the rest of your life? What do you want your major to be? And also pay 50,000, a hundred thousand $300,000 for this degree that’s supposed to help you. Right?
Tori Dunlap: (24:52)
So I think that, again, it comes down to this lack of education, lack of transparency. And the first thing with conquering debt is to give yourself a little bit of slack. I think there’s so much grace that you can offer yourself the reason you’re in debt. Isn’t because you made a quote unquote stupid choice. You probably went into debt because you were told it was the right thing to do. And it probably is the right thing to do. And not all debt is bad. Debt can be used as a tool for leverage. That’s actually how we talk about debt with quote, unquote, rich or wealthy people, right? It’s like leveraging debt, leveraging loans, but it’s only when you are first starting or when you’re considered low income, that debt is a bad thing, right? So you made an investment, especially if it’s student loans, right?
Tori Dunlap: (25:38)
You made an investment in your career. We just got to figure out how to navigate paying it off. Right. I also advise in terms of debt to think about your interest rate. So if you have a piece of debt, right, that’s at 25% interest, probably a credit card versus your student loan at five or 6% interest, your credit card debt is costing you more money. So you want to work to pay that down more aggressively first. And the other thing that you can do, especially with like credit cards, you can refinance student loans. If they are private, that’s an option. But with credit cards, a lot of times you can negotiate your interest rate down. You can call and have a conversation with your credit card provider and make a repayment plan over the phone with them of like, I promise to pay this off at this point, or to be this sort of loyal customer to you, what sort of offerings do you have? And I’ve had followers who have decreased their interest rate by four or 5%, which can help a ton in terms of just getting your debt under control.
Jean Chatzky: (26:37)
Yeah, absolutely. It can. But I do think that you hit on the biggest thing that can do to wipe that debt clean fastest and that’s to make some more money, right? I mean, nothing helps you get out of debt faster than a little bit more in your paycheck every single week or a little bit higher rate if you’re an entrepreneur. So what’s your trick for doing it? I mean, it says it right on your website, right? You’ve negotiated every single salary up by 10%.
Tori Dunlap: (27:12)
Yeah. The thing, unfortunately, I see with a lot of women, cause I’m going to go [inaudible] coach. I advise, I advise clients in negotiation. Women in particular were told this narrative from the Dawn of time that we should just be grateful for our opportunities. We should be grateful that we even have a job grateful that we even have this contract grateful that we even work at this particular company. Right? And again, it’s a narrative that keeps us underpaid and overworked. And the truth is they are grateful to have you. They are grateful to have you. And when you’re coming into a negotiation, the two big things to keep in mind are your data and your value. So your data is simply what is the market research telling you, you should be getting paid. You can do this through these third party platforms like Glassdoor or PayScale.
Tori Dunlap: (27:59)
You can also ask people. I know if I was going into a new role in marketing, I was asking previous bosses. I was asking recruiters who were looking for marketing roles. I was talking to marketing contacts. I met at networking events and I was asking them, Hey, based on this job description that I have and the skills and experience, you know, I have, what should I be getting paid? Right? And again, you can do this with these kind of third party platforms as well, online as figuring out, okay, this social media manager job in Seattle should pay this amount with this many years of experience. So coming armed with data to a negotiation can be super important. Right? The second thing is, what value are you adding? How much money did you save your company over the past year? What sorts of projects did you implement?
Tori Dunlap: (28:46)
Who are you managing? How did you contribute? Very distinctly to the company culture. I remember my last job before I went, full-time entrepreneur, literally as part of my negotiation, I talked about the fact that I instituted a gratitude practice every day at our work, or it was every Monday, every Monday, when we came to like our all team meeting, I was focused on, Hey, can we say what we’re grateful for both personally and professionally. And that was something I brought to my negotiation was, Hey, I’ve contributed in all of these ways, very specifically to my job and to the outcome of the company. I also have helped in terms of our company culture. I think people are happier because I’m here, right? So there’s very specific things that you can say that you’ve brought value, right? Ways you brought value. And in terms of that, like I said earlier, this kind of, you should just be grateful for your opportunities.
Tori Dunlap: (29:37)
The truth is, is if you don’t negotiate statistically losing out on a million dollars, more than somebody who does negotiate. So it’s like, are you willing to lose a million dollars more to avoid an uncomfortable conversation? Erin Lowry from broke millennial. That’s one of the things she says, right? She’s like, are you willing to be a million dollars less rich? Just because that conversation seems scary because the truth is is that they’re not going to fire you. There’s this fear you’re going to like somebody off or that you’re going to see them on grateful. And the truth is you’re actually going to seem a lot more powerful. You’re going to seem a lot more sure of yourself if you go about negotiation in the right way.
Jean Chatzky: (30:15)
Well, and I think our listeners are listening and hearing some of what I’m hearing, which is your confidence just pouring out of you, right? I mean, which is amazing. And these conversations are hard to have. If they’re the first time you’ve had them or the second time you’ve had them or even the third time. I mean, sometimes still I will be going into a negotiation with a client and knowing I’m going to ask for this. And I’m like, okay, I’m just going to do this. And I have to myself up a little bit. I am going to do this. And it, it does get easier. Like that’s what I want people to know. And it’s much, much easier. If you practice, you have people in your pod, you have people in your team, you have people in your life that support you practice with them. Because once you hear yourself saying it, it’s just easier to say it again. And I
Tori Dunlap: (31:06)
Advise people to have negotiations in low stakes scenarios. So like I was talking about like calling your credit card provider, right. That is a negotiation. And if you botch it, if it goes terrible, cool, you’re never going to speak to Brenda capital one again. Right? You’re like, you’re never going to speak to her. It’s okay. Right. Or if you have children, you negotiate constantly. You are a prime negotiator. Right? So there’s all of these negotiations that we don’t think of as negotiations that happen every day. And one of the ways you can get more comfortable, like you said, with these higher stakes conversations is to practice, have these lower stakes negotiations that you can set yourself up for. And also yes, to your point. I am still terrified all the time. When I negotiate, I have to also buck myself up. I have to like play Beyonce and like punch the air a couple of times, do I create style?
Tori Dunlap: (31:55)
Like that’s a hundred percent what I have to do. And like you said, I think for me, it never gets easy. It just gets easier because I know the dance now, right? It’s like ballroom dancing, right? The first time you ever go on stage to ballroom dance, it’s going to be terrifying. It’s always going to be terrifying. But at least now, you know the moves, right. At least now, you know, the Fox trot. So I think that that’s one of the things I always keep in mind is this is never going to be a walk in the park, but at least I know how to walk now. Right. It’s going to be
Jean Chatzky: (32:24)
Easy. So Tori, we’re really lucky to have this audience that is, we’ve got a third, X-ers a third millennials and a third boomer. So we are all over the map. If you’re listening and you’re thinking, oh my gosh, I wish I was 25, but I’m 50. And I haven’t really started yet. What can we learn from you?
Tori Dunlap: (32:47)
Yeah. My audience is largely millennial and gen Z, but I have plenty of people who asked me the same question. They’re like, cool, Tori, I’m not 27 anymore. What do I do? I’m in my forties. I’m in my fifties. And I say the same thing to them that I say to a 17 year old, which is that you’re never too young and you’re never too old to get started. There is this fear, especially as you near retirement, that you’re like, oh my gosh, I won’t have anything saved. And that is unfortunately part of the reality for so many people, 45% of Americans over 55 have nothing saved for retirement. So even if you save a small amount, even if you invest a small amount, you are no longer part of that 45%. So there’s so much that you can do. Yes, you might not have as much money if you started later, but at least you will have something, right.
Tori Dunlap: (33:40)
There’s so much that you can do still. There’s so many advantages in terms of, especially like these catch-up periods with things like an IRA, right. Or a 401k where the limit actually increases to account for that. So do everything you can to make smart decisions, to squirrel away as much money in investments. And one thing that I see with women and actually you and I should talk about this offline is that so many women go into investing and they deposit their money and they think, okay, I’m done investing is a two-step process. You need to not only put the money in an account, you need to go buy things with the money. So if you have already started investing or if you are a new investor, please make sure you’re doing step number two or your money’s just going to be sitting in financial purgatory, right.
Tori Dunlap: (34:25)
It is not actually invested unless you have chosen your investments. And unfortunately I’ve heard from so many women who are in their sixties who think they’re ready to retire, and then they go to their 401k or go to their IRA and realize it was never actually invested. So please make sure that you are doing step two, no matter what age, but especially if you’re nearing retirement, please make sure that the money’s not just in the account, it’s actually in an investment. So that’s probably my biggest tip is if you’re never too young, you’re never too old to get started. And in addition to investing in saving as much as possible, make sure that your money is actually
Jean Chatzky: (35:03)
Invested. Yeah. Very, very good advice. All right. Last question. What is the one single best thing that our listeners can do today to make a difference financially?
Tori Dunlap: (35:14)
I would say automate your savings. It’s just super easy automate as much as you possibly can set up an automatic transfer. Like I said to your checking account, or from your checking account to your savings account, from your checking account to your investment account, right? Automate as much as possible. Even if it’s just a small amount of money, a lot of people come to me and they’re like, I don’t have money to save. I maybe have 20 bucks and that’s not worth it. And I’m like, no, it is worth it because not only will that accumulate over time, it’s also building these small financial habits so that when you do make more money or when you are building more of your wealth, you already know what to do. You’ve been building these habits for months, if not years. Right? So I think automating as much as possible specifically your savings and investments allows your money to work harder for you, without you even having to think about it. And it’s also, it takes the classic problem of, okay, I’ll just save at the end of the month, but then all your money’s gone, right? It takes that away. You’re doing the hard thing. First. You’re paying yourself first. Like you’re another bill so that you’re not saving it till later.
Jean Chatzky: (36:16)
A hundred percent. If you can’t see it and you can’t touch it, you won’t spend it. Tori, you’re amazing. Congratulations on everything. You’ve done. Good luck heading off to Europe and writing the book. We’ll be thinking about you and looking forward to talking about it. When you get back, thank you so much for having me. Absolutely. And we’ll be right back with Kathryn and your Mailbag.
Jean Chatzky: (36:46)
And HerMoney’s Kathryn Tuggle is with me now. Hey Kathryn, Hey Jean.
Kathryn Tuggle: (36:52)
I love that conversation.
Jean Chatzky: (36:54)
I just love her energy and I have no stake in Tori. I have no stake in her career. I was proud of her. Is that stupid to say, like, I was just, I’m just happy that there are young women and we have some of them on our team, but I’m just, I’m so happy that there are young women who have just picked up this ball and are taking it into the end zone. I can’t do sports metaphors because I just don’t know enough, but I, we need more. We need more voices and we need more qualified judgment-free women to listen to. We just do. And she’s a stellar example.
Kathryn Tuggle: (37:43)
I couldn’t agree more. And the more people who are out there spreading this gospel, the more empowered we all become, you know, it’s such a problem, the gender wage gap. But then as she was talking, I was also thinking about how women just constantly undervalue their time. You know, if you’re a contractor or if you’re doing something where you’re charging by the hour, I think the inclination is, uh, maybe you don’t make as much as you’re worth, but you think I’m happy to have this job. I’m grateful to have this opportunity. So you move on and hearing her say, not only give you permission to negotiate, but to tell you that it is what you should be doing and that the problem lies in not negotiating. That is a message that I wish that I had had in my early twenties. And what she’s doing is just fantastic.
Jean Chatzky: (38:35)
Yeah. I totally agree. We should all be negotiating for those very first jobs for those very first contracts and they are lucky to have us she’s right. Absolutely. So what do we have in terms of letters from our listeners today?
Kathryn Tuggle: (38:51)
Our first question today comes to us from an anonymous listener. She writes, “Hi Jean and Kathryn, I absolutely love the podcast and I’ve learned so much from it. Thank you for all you do. My daughter is getting ready to start college at a local state university this fall. She’s almost 20 years old and lives on her own after taking a gap year, last year due to COVID her father and I divorced years ago, and I’ve been saving money for her in a 529. It has a current balance of around $34,000. I do not expect that her father is planning to contribute to her education. My question is this: Will both her father and I be required to submit tax returns as part of the FAFSA. I do not want my ex, or even my daughter necessarily, to have access to that information. Also, what about my current husband?
Kathryn Tuggle: (39:38)
He makes significantly more than I do, and also will not be contributing to my daughter’s college expenses. He has three children of his own, and we keep our finances separate for the most part, although we do file a joint tax return. So how does all this work? I’ve becoming very concerned about what I may be expected to contribute and what financial information I’ll be required to share. Further, how do I go about using the 529 to fund her education? Do I use it up to get here as far as possible, or is it better to spread out the money more evenly throughout her college career? Thank you so much for your help.
Jean Chatzky: (40:14)
Thank you so much for writing and thank you for listening and being a part of this community. So I have some answers for you. Some of them are good. Some of them are maybe not so good. Here’s the deal on divorce and financial aid and it’s complicated, but essentially the parent who claims the child as a dependent is the one who is the quote unquote custodial parent. It’s often the person that the child lives with, but I know that your daughter is living on her own. So if you claim her on your taxes, then you are the custodial parent and you have to fill out the FAFSA. And it’s your financial information that goes on that tax return. Your ex-husband does not have to fill it out. However, the financial information that is going to be required will also include the financial information of your current spouse because you guys share the household.
Jean Chatzky: (41:27)
And I know that that’s not what you were looking to hear. It may impact the amount of financial aid that you then get for your daughter. When you get financial aid offers, the very, very first thing that I would do is pick up the phone, talk to the financial aid officers at your daughter’s university, and explain the situation, explain that your husband has three children of his own. He’ll be able to put that on the FAFSA, that he has three children of his own, that he is supporting, that he is putting through college. And based on when those children are in college, you may or may not get more financial aid than you think. We just had this long conversation with Tori Dunlop about negotiation. Financial aid can become a negotiation. If your daughter is somebody that the school is very high on, they may be willing to take additional steps to give her more or to help her find more in the way of aid.
Jean Chatzky: (42:40)
But it’s not going to happen if you don’t pick up the phone and ask. So absolutely take that step. The other question that you asked is how do you best use the money in that 529? One of the things that we automatically know is that your daughter will qualify for the Stafford Loan. The Stafford Loan is the federal student loan. It is the first money that should be taken in the form of loans. It’s loans in her name. It will actually help her start building credit and she’ll qualify for $5,500 as a freshmen, $6,500 as a sophomore and 7,500 as both a junior and a senior. You want to look at that number versus the cost of tuition and figure out what the gap is and how you are going to fill it using both your 529, any money that you can come up with out of current cashflow, and then other loans, either parent plus loans or private loans.
Jean Chatzky: (43:44)
There are two ways to look at when you should pull the money out of the 529. You want to look at interest rates and you want to look at the ability of the money to grow. The longer you leave the money in the 529, the more time that money has to compound, the more time that money has to grow. The other factor is that interest rates are pretty low right now, and it may make sense to do more borrowing earlier in her college career. When you can lock into lower interest rates than you may be able to lock into down the road, it’s complicated. But one thing that I would absolutely suggest is that you head to HerMoney and you check out our recent series called How to Pay For College. I wrote a story on how to use the money that you’ve accumulated in a 529. It goes into an awful lot of these questions in a more detailed way. And so you can just look it up. If you go to HerMoney and you search for my name and you search for 529s, it’ll just pop up at the top of the list. Good luck to you and good luck to her. I hope she loves school.
Kathryn Tuggle: (44:57)
Thank you, Jean. You partially addressed a question that I had, which is to what extent if you’re applying for college and you know that you’re only going to receive financial assistance from one parent, particularly the lesser earning parent. Do you write that on the application? Do you pick up the phone? What is the process?
Jean Chatzky: (45:18)
I think the process is you go through the application process and you pick this up on the back end, but this is why it’s so important. Particularly if you know that you’ve got a decent amount of financial need and you want to minimize the borrowing that you’re doing, it’s really important that you cast a wide net in the number of schools and the prices of those schools that you apply to. We had a wonderful podcast guest in Ron Lieber, a few months back. He had written a book about college and talked to us about merit aid and merit aid is aid that does not have to be paid back it’s scholarships, it’s grants. And the best way to get merit aid is to find yourself a school that really wants to have you. And there are plenty of those schools out there, but they may require you to just open up your parameters for the number and type of schools that you apply to.
Kathryn Tuggle: (46:26)
Great advice. The wide net never lets you down. Exactly. Our next question comes to us from Angela. She writes, “Dear Jean, thank you for all the effort that goes into your podcasts. I listen regularly and find many topics that relate to my financial situation. I just listened to the episode with Jacqui Stafford on fashion, and it was terrific. I also loved the lipstick discussion that followed. I’m 72, divorced with no children and I live in Los Angeles. I have a trust and will, with family members as executors. One executor, 62, lives in New York. The other lives in Los Angeles and is 71. I’m thinking about changing my trust so that a fiduciary becomes the executor. Do you have any thoughts about fiduciaries? Thanks in advance.”
Jean Chatzky: (47:14)
Hi, Angela. I think this is a great question and I don’t think that it’s one that we’ve gotten before. So thank you so much for asking it. Yeah. I think that having a fiduciary, at least as a backup in a situation like this is a really, really good idea because of fiduciary can be a person, but they can also be a firm. And one of the things that occurred to me is that at least your executor who lives in Los Angeles is about your age. And what happens if that person dies before you, what happens if both of those people die before you, you want to make sure that you have a backup plan. The other thing that you could be thinking about is, well, these people are getting older and what if they just decide that they don’t want to take it on? That’s not going to happen with a fiduciary and just like a financial advisor who is a fiduciary is legally bound to keep your best interest front and center.
Jean Chatzky: (48:24)
So is having a professional fiduciary in the seat of your executor doing the job. Now, I would want to make sure that I know what this is going to cost or is likely to cost upfront. I would want to make sure that I have simplified things as much as possible so that less of the money goes to pay the executor. And more of the money goes to fulfill your wishes that you have laid out in your trust and in your will. But I think this is a very good backup in this situation. And I actually recently wrote a column for AARP, helping a woman in a similar situation. And we talked a lot about the fact that there are some real advantages to having professionals in place to do the job, particularly for single people. And we have to remember that most of us, the vast majority of us as women are going to outlive our spouses and our partners. Many of us do not have children. And there may not even be very many people that you feel comfortable with opening the door on your finances, even after you die. So I get that. And I think in that situation, a fiduciary makes a lot of sense.
Kathryn Tuggle: (49:49)
Thank you, Jean. And it’s such a great point about having a fiduciary or an executor and having a backup because life is uncertain and you don’t know what may happen between the time that you write that will and the time that you pass. So how many backups have you seen people have for these situations?
Jean Chatzky: (50:08)
A lot of backups. And I think the older we get the farther we move away from our families. The more that we’re going to see professionals step into these situations. And if I’m going to have a professional do it, I want the ability to choose that professional myself. I don’t want some court to assign them.
Kathryn Tuggle: (50:24)
Absolutely. Being in control until the end.
Jean Chatzky: (50:28)
Type A. Thank you, Kathryn. Thanks Jean. And in today’s Thrive. What not to do if you win or inherit money, if you’ve recently come into a lump sum of money well hey, congratulations! While not all unexpected cash infusions are as joyous as a lottery win, the most important thing you can do with any cash you win or inherit is to invest it and spend it wisely. With a little advanced planning and some financial responsibility, this money can change your life. Now, of course, you can have a little fun. You deserve it, but make sure that the vast majority of this windfall is put towards your bigger future goals. At HerMoney.com this week, we take a look at some of our favorite tips for using that money responsibly. Here’s just a few number one limit the number of people you tell. Whenever you find yourself in possession of large amounts of cash, you’ll probably feel a little overwhelmed.
Jean Chatzky: (51:31)
And this may lead to you telling several friends and family members about your news. That’s understandable. It’s very nice to receive heartfelt congratulations and get trusted opinions on what you should do with your money. But, try to keep the people who are in the know as few and far between as you possibly can. People may start asking for favors or loans. It can be a slippery slope. Even with people you love your friends and family members all have needs. Some may want you to invest in a business. Some may have children on the way. Some are looking for college tuition help. There is no reason for you to become the new designated spender in your circle. So be careful that you don’t set a precedent that you’re available to help with other people’s finances. Number two, think about taking annuity payments. When you win the lottery, you usually have a choice between an annuity that pays out annual amounts over time or upfront payments that give you cash immediately.
Jean Chatzky: (52:36)
For example, Powerball and Mega Millions offer 30 annuity payments over the course of 29 years. If you’re relatively young, 50 or under the annuity option may make sense for you. Receiving annual cash installments can encourage you to spread out your spending and create a stable source of income for decades to come. Number three, hire professionals, to help manage your money. Having a financial advisor is always a good idea, but it’s especially recommended if you’re dealing with large sums from a lottery win, or an estate that you inherited. The financial advisor can guide you on how best to protect your financial assets. They can also offer advice on smart investments you can make for yourself and your family. When looking for an advisor as Kathryn and I were talking about before, look for ones that abide by a fiduciary standard, which means they always have their client’s interest as their top priority.
Jean Chatzky: (53:38)
And then do your research before making any financial decisions that their credentials make sure they can help guide you on the likely higher taxes you’ll pay what your new budget should look like and how to invest. And if you’re looking for an advisor, you can get matched with one for free at HerMoney.com/wealthramp. Thank you so much for joining me today on HerMoney. Thanks to Tori Dunlop for sharing how she made Her First 100k and inspiring all of us to do the same. If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our show at Apple Podcasts, leave us a review because we love hearing what you think we’d like to thank our sponsor Fidelity. We record this podcast out of CDM Sound Studios. Our music is provided by Video Helper and our show comes to you through Megaphone. Thank you so much for joining us and we’ll talk soon.