© Tori Dunlap
Tori Dunlap is a money and career expert and host of the Financial Feminist podcast. Dunlap founded Her first $100K after saving $100,000 and quitting her corporate job – all by the age of 25. She fights financial inequality by empowering women to achieve financial success and has helped more than 2 million women manage debt, savings, investments and more.
Recognized by GOBankingRates as one of the top money influencers, here she shares why she wants to remove the shame that often surrounds money, why all women should invest, and why it’s good to buy avocado toast.
What’s the one piece of money advice you wish everyone would follow?
My best advice is that personal finance is personal. Of course, there are many great “standard” principles to follow and we can all learn from each other, but accepting that what works for you may not work for others and vice versa is fundamental. I’m also a big advocate for shame-free education, so I think it’s important for women especially to seek out and follow advice that isn’t based on deprivation or trying to make them feel guilty about buying a morning latte.
Shame around money causes people to put off prioritizing their finances, but it’s critical to start now. Start paying off debt now. Start budgeting now. And start investing as soon as you can – even if it’s just $100 in an IRA or a withdrawal from your company every month. When it comes to investing specifically, time is your most valuable asset. This is part of the reason we developed our investment education and community platform, Treasury.
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What is the most important thing to do to build wealth?
Invest, invest, invest. You will never be able to retire if you don’t invest. You will never be able to pass money down to your children or have true financial independence if you don’t invest your money in the stock market.
Women are largely kept in the dark about investing and building wealth, and it’s on purpose. It is especially important for women to have access to financial education, as women are statistically likely to lose $1 million in their lifetime due to the lack of investing. The stakes are incredibly high, so the more women start learning about investing and building long-term wealth, the better.
What’s your best tip for combating the effects of inflation?
Inflation happens and causes a lot of anxiety as people prepare for a possible recession. Whether this happens or not, there are simple tips you can implement in your life to improve your financial health. I recommend adding to your emergency fund if possible, cutting extra expenses out of your budget, negotiating to lower your bills, and working on diversifying your income.
What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to money?
There is a myth that investing is only for rich people, which is far from the truth. Many people, especially women, feel that investing is not available to them. I see this all the time—women who say, “I don’t have $500 a month to put into an IRA,” and I say, “Okay, do you have $100? Or even $50?” They don’t realize that you can start investing with a very small amount.
Also, as I mentioned above, anything based on deprivation really bothers me. I can’t tell you how much steam comes out of my ears when I see advice telling people to never buy avocado toast or never go out to a restaurant if they’re in debt. There is balance – you can spend within your means, pay off debt, save money and still enjoy your life. This is not an either/or situation.
Jaime Catmull contributed to the reporting of this article.
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