131. How to Build Financial Wellness in 2024

January 2, 2024

The following article may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. This doesn't cost you anything, and shopping or using our affiliate partners is a way to support our mission. I will never work with a brand or showcase a product that I don't personally use or believe in.

Welcome to 2024, Financial Feminists! Whether or not you hit all of your money, savings, investing, or job goals for 2023 — a new year means new opportunities, but it doesn’t have to mean a whole new you. How about a better prepared, more financially savvy you? In this episode, host and financial educator Tori Dunlap is giving you the pep talk of ALL pep talks, reminding you that there’s nothing shameful about not being where you want to be just yet, while also giving you the tips you need to help get you there. We’re focusing on mindset, goal-setting and reflection, letting go of imposter syndrome, and giving you some quick action steps that will help you start the year off on the right track. 

Lessons learned

Before you start goal-setting for 2024, it’s important to first reflect on what happened in 2023 and your lessons learned. If you’re not sure what those lessons are, you can start by asking yourself:

  • What worked last year? 
  • What didn’t work?
  • What went well with my money? 
  • What didn’t go so well?

Once you have the answers to those questions, you’re not going to use it to beat yourself up about those choices. You’re going to use it as a lesson to learn from, to help refine or set better goals for this year.

“Money, just like any other skill, can be taught, can be learned. Money is just a skill.”

Tori goes on to explain that understanding money is a skill that can be learned and that making mistakes is part of the process. She compares the process to learning a new language in that you’re not going to be fluent in that language after one class. Same with learning about money and investing. You’re not going to know everything at once, and that’s ok. She explains, “You are not good with money or bad with money. It’s not a personality trait. It’s not a gene. It’s not an identity. It is a skill that you are learning.”

Goal-setting for 2024

If you’ve never heard of a money date, Tori shares that it’s a designated financial self-care time to review what’s going on with your money and that it’s helpful to schedule one at the start of the new year so you can review last year’s goals, and tweak and refine your 2024 goals.

She advises you to use this time to look at:

  • Bank statements 
  • Credit card statements
  • Investment accounts

Did you meet any goals, like paying off debt or saving a certain amount of money? Did you earn more money? Did you start a side-hustle? How did it go? How do you feel about those things? Goal-setting and reflecting is not just about achieving the thing — it’s also about how you felt during the process of trying to achieve the thing.

Tori shares that you should take this time to highlight any financial to-do’s that you want to accomplish this year and some that you need to add to your list if you haven’t already, starting with a high-yield savings account.

In this episode, you’ll also learn:

  • What it means to optimize your financial wellness 
  • How to start prepping for taxes NOW
  • Why you should max out your retirement accounts in January
  • How to start negotiating for better rates, perks, upgrades, and more

Tune in to learn four actions you can take starting today to give you a head start on reaching your goals.

Mentioned in this episode:

Practicing Financial Self-Care

Free File for Taxes

Stock Market Secrets Webinar

Additional Resources:

Free Debt Payoff Worksheet

Her First $100k Debt Defeater Course

Financial Feminist on Apple

Financial Feminist on Spotify

Feeling Overwhelmed? Start here!

Our HYSA Recommendation

Order Financial Feminist Book

Stock Market School

Behind the Scenes and Extended Clips on Youtube

Leave Financial Feminist a Voicemail

Financial Feminist on Instagram

Her First $100K on Instagram

Take our FREE Money Personality Quiz

Join the Mailing List


Tori Dunlap:

Hello, Financial Feminist. Happy 2024. [inaudible 00:00:19] Okay, I’m just going to say it. I was thinking about this before we started recording. I am going to make a big proclamation for this year. This is me throwing out into the universe what I would like and hoping it comes back to me. Kristen’s giving me the like one eyebrow up, very intrigued. Here’s what it’s going to be. Kristen, you ready for this?

This is the year. Look at me. This is the year that I meet Timothée Chalamet. No. Is it good? Kristen just told me she got a screener of Wonka. I’m going to see it tonight at SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival Theater that used to be Cinerama and we’re going to eat chocolate covered popcorn. Our lawyers are bringing us, very exciting. My lawyer is a donator to SIFF and she was like, “I have tickets.

Who is going to want to come with me? Nobody in my life. Wait, Tori Dunlap. Tori’s going to want to come.” And I’m like, “Yeah.” We’re talking about Wonka. You can only hear my side of the conversation, but Kristen just said that, she was like, “There’s more music than I thought it would be.” Side note, if you are like, “Timothée Chalamet sings?” You haven’t seen his high school performance to Sweet Charity.

Go watch that. Is he the best singer? No. Does he claim to be the best singer? No. Is it charming and sweet? Yeah, it’s charming and sweet. So I’m just throwing this out here and this is going to be one of the clips we use on social. Please, social team. Because I’m meeting Timothée Chalamet. It’s time. It is time. I got to gird my loins and prepare, but it’s time.

It is time to finally make this happen. This man is referenced in my book, referenced in my official Tori Dunlap professional bio and it feels like it’s time. Cardboard cut out of him right there. Feels like it’s time. Let’s actually talk about 2024 though and get into the episode. That’s my big proclamation. That’s what I hope is going to happen and that’s what I manifesting is going to happen.

So right off the top before we talk anything about recapping 2023, what we’re going to do differently in 2024, I’m going to give you a pep talk, which is that you are already probably bombarded right now with, “Change your life, become a new person. The person you were in 2023 sucked. So you’re going to be a better person now.” I think we should be over this now, but we’re not because capitalism and productivity and all of it. Should we set some goals?

Yeah, we’ll talk about that today. Are there certain habits we want to change? Sure. Great. But we are not overhauling our entire personality. We are not shaming or judging ourselves for things we didn’t know sooner. We are not buying in to the sort of thing which is, “I can buy this really expensive piece of fitness equipment that I know I’m never going to touch again and that’ll change my life.”

Or, “I am going to sign up for the really, really expensive thing.” Again, I’m just picking on workouts. But truly it just feels always like you have to hate yourself in order to change. You don’t have to hate yourself in order to change. You can love who you are and love how far you’ve come and also have some things about yourself that you’d like to work on. Those things are not mutually exclusive. They can co-exist.

So just as much as you can, avoid the temptation of shame and judgment for yourself and this feeling that, “I have to completely transform my life and completely transform the person I am.” Okay, today we’re going to talk about some things we can do to build our financial wellness, some goals we can set, some habits we can put into play in our lives to better our money in 2024. Before we progress into setting goals, let’s talk about 2023.

Let’s talk about that for a second. We are going to take 2023 as a lesson. What worked, what didn’t, what went well in our money, what didn’t go so well in our money. But then we’re going to let that shit go. We are going to use it as some helpful feedback and some helpful information, but not as an identity crisis. Right? The things that you did or the things that happened to you are not your identity.

We were actually talking about this as a team this morning. We’ve talked about it on the show. It’s very easy to fail and then think to yourself, “I am a failure.” That’s not true, right? The fact or something that happened doesn’t mean that’s who you are as your entire human being, as your entire person. So if there were certain financial decisions you made or financial decisions you didn’t make last year, that’s okay.

We’re going to use that information to hopefully set some better goals and some habits this year, but we’re not going to use them as an excuse to beat ourselves up or as the identity that we are carrying. I’ve said this before in my book and on this podcast, but I want to highlight it. Money, just like any other skill, can be taught, can be learned. Money is just a skill. You are not born with the good with money gene or born with the bad with money gene. Just like learning a language or an instrument or any sort of new thing, there is a period of time where you’re going to suck at it.

That’s okay. There’s a period of time where you’re not going to be the best at it and you’re going to constantly make mistakes. Right? I often relate it to learning a language. Right? I am not going to be fluent in French after one French class. And even if I get better and better at French, I’m still going to say the word toilet by accident when I’m actually trying to figure out how to compliment this nice old lady’s shirt. Right? So it’s okay.

You’re going to make mistakes, but you are not good with money or bad with money. It’s not a personality trait, it’s not a gene, it’s not an identity. It is a skill that you are learning. So let’s talk about 2024. First off, we are going to set a money date. If you don’t know what a money date is, we will link you the episode. Go listen to that one first and then come back. A money date is our designated financial self-care time to review what’s going on with our money.

So helpful to do in the new year to reflect both on last year and also to set some new goals. Did we make more or less than we thought we would make last year? What are our goals in terms of earning this year? Did we have a side hustle? How did that go? Do we want to get a side hustle potentially in this year? Did we meet any goals like debt payoff, money saved, money invested from the year before? All of these as you move forward are good to keep in mind.

We’re also going to review literally our statements, our progress towards our goals, not just at the metaphysical level of, “Did we hit them?” And “How do we feel?” But also literally look at your statements, look at your debit card statement, look at your credit card statements for the past year. Look at your progress towards your goals and decide how that felt and what you might want to optimize for this year.

As part of your money date as well, you’re also going to highlight the financial to-dos that you want to accomplish this year. We’re not just talking about goals, but we’re talking about things like opening certain accounts. If you have heard me on this podcast or on our Instagram or on TikTok say the words high yield savings account and you still do not have one, well, that is priority number one, baby. Get a high yield savings account. Every single one of you listening right now needs one of these.

We have our recommendation, links on our website, herfirst100k.com/tools, but a great time to optimize. Say, “Okay, I am not earning anything at my regular savings account. It’s time to finally get that high yield savings account.” Maybe the optimization is, “Wow, I need to do some salary research because I haven’t gotten a raise in a while. I haven’t gotten a cost of living adjustment in a while. Might be time to figure out what I should be getting paid.”

Optimization can also look like, “Okay, I have been using the exact same budgeting method for years and it’s not working for me anymore. It’s not working for me anymore.” Optimization can also be, “I’m going to increase my 401k contributions by 1%. 1%, we’re going to see how that feels.” I’m just giving you some ideas, but this is your time to sit down and decide what are the sort of financial to-dos that I can make.

Opening up that high yield savings account, increasing your contribution, figuring out what you should be getting paid as a way to optimize your life and your money for this year. Okay, you’re going to hate this next one, but we got to say it, you need to start prepping your taxes. I know, taxes, [inaudible 00:08:44]. But we got to start doing them because it’s going to creep up on you.

You know how this happens every year, is you get to 2024 and it’s January and you’re like, “You know what? Tax season’s kind of soon, but I’ve also got three and a half months, so I’m just not going to worry about it.” And then suddenly three and a half months has flown by and it’s April, and you’re like, “What the hell happened?” And Kristen is shaking her head emphatically because this is what happens every single time to all of us. So even if you don’t have your forms, because you might not, start getting together what you need to fill out your taxes as soon as possible.

So you give yourself a little bit of a buffer if that form doesn’t come in on time, right? Because this is what happens is you get to April and you’re suddenly like, “Wow, I don’t have all the information I need, but I only have X amount of days.” So do anything you can at this moment to start preparing. I also want to highlight that taxes are free up to a certain income amount.

And do not fall for these companies, if you are lower income or if you do not meet the income threshold, don’t fall for these companies that are going to try to get you to pay to do your taxes. You can do this for free through the government. We will put a link into the show notes. Okay. Another tip for the beginning of the year. If you are a high earner, max out your accounts right now.

This is what I do. I make enough money to max out my 401k and to max out my IRA on January 1st. That’s what I do. I max out every single account that I have available to me January 1st. I max out my HSA. If you have an HSA, if you are someone who can maximize these accounts and do it early in the year, do it. There’s no reason not to do it. That way you’re earning potentially a whole extra year or a whole extra three or six or nine months of interest.

You can do the same thing with an emergency fund, right? If you’ve been putting some of your money in a checking account and it’s just sitting there, stick it in the high yield savings account, watch that shit grow. So if you are someone who is able to maximize and to hit the max for these accounts, there’s no reason not to do it January 1st or the first week of January. This is what I do.

Okay, couple other housekeeping things to build our financial wellness in 2024. We are going to let go of imposter syndrome. We’re over that. We’re done with that this year. We are fucking done with imposter syndrome. We are over it. Imposter syndrome is the patriarchy’s way of telling you that you are not deserving and that you are not worth it. You a hundred percent belong in any room you’re in, a hundred percent without a doubt.

And the only thing imposter syndrome’s doing is making you doubt your own worth. So when it comes to figuring out how do we overcome imposter syndrome, how do we stop feeling this way, you are going to remind yourself that you’re worthy of all of those good things, but you’re also going to start building your confidence muscle. What does this look like? This looks like negotiation in lower stakes environments.

We have many episodes on this show about how to negotiate. And yes, we want you to negotiate a raise, but maybe if you’ve never done that and you’re a little bit nervous, negotiate something else. Call up your credit card provider and ask them to lower your interest rate. When you arrive at a hotel, ask them if there are any complimentary upgrades available. Quick fun aside, really quick about this, and then maybe we’ll also put it in an episode about this.

I recently got back from friendmoon. Friendmoon 23 was to Morocco, and we went out into the Sahara Desert and it was really fun and very magical. And the only other person, or couple staying in our camp, it was Christine and I, and then it was this couple from Hong Kong who were on their honeymoon. Shout out to the couple from Hong Kong. If you’re watching this, hello.

But one of the things we ended up doing is we had dinner separately the first night, but then we realized, “Oh, we’re the only people here.” So the next night we pushed our tables together and it was really lovely. And they’re on their honeymoon. And so probably about an hour goes by of us just talking. And then I jokingly say, “What sort of free shit have you gotten on your honeymoon?”

And they looked at me with this dead stare and they were like, “What?” And I was like, “You’re telling everybody it’s your honeymoon, right?” And they’re like, “No”. And I was like, “Tell everyone it’s your honeymoon. Tell the hotels you’re staying at. Tell the restaurants. Tell everybody it’s your honeymoon.” And I go, “If you’re not walking up when you’re checking into a hotel and being like, ‘Do you have any complimentary upgrades available? It’s our honeymoon.’ You should be doing that just like gangbusters. This is one of the only times in your life that you can just milk the hell out of something to get some free shit.”

And so they literally look so excited and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to try doing this for the rest of our trip.” And they were like two weeks into, I think a month honeymoon. So if you ended up doing that and found some success, and you’re also listening to the show, tell me how it went. But regardless of whether it’s your honeymoon or not, ask, ask for things. You have to get comfortable hearing no.

Or you have to get comfortable doing the vulnerable thing of putting yourself out there, right? And we’re building that muscle in order to feel more comfortable in these higher stakes negotiations. This is one good way of letting go of imposter syndrome is unabashedly going after the things we want with a polite attitude and with an understanding that this is a give and take, but getting more comfortable being uncomfortable.

We can also do this with dating, right? I had a TikTok go viral back when I was actively dating where I ask men out, I would go, if I saw someone cute at a coffee shop, I would go up and ask them out. And of course we hope they say yes. But the goal for me was not getting a yes. The goal for me was to put myself in an uncomfortable situation and to see what happened.

So the goal for me was to build my confidence by putting myself purposefully in situations that were uncomfortable to prove to my body and my brain that I survived them. Because your body and brain do not know the difference between you asking somebody out on a date and you fighting a bear. I know that sounds dramatic, but truly your brain and body have the same reaction, right?

Your palms get sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, but truly your body freaks out. You’re in fight or flight mode. And doing this more often reminds your brain and body that you will survive it and it’ll be okay. So the way we approach overcoming imposter syndrome, or at least being more comfortable with these feelings, is getting comfortable, being uncomfortable and putting ourselves in situations where we’re asking for things that we want and we’re being brave enough to try and proving to ourselves that we can survive them and we’ll be okay.

One of the things I also want to highlight that it will be incredibly crucial for your money in 2024, if something is not working for you, ditch it. We talked about this briefly with budgeting before, but if you’re just in the habit of doing something because it’s the way you’ve always done it, but you know it’s not working, let it go.

If you’re still at the same bank that you signed up for with your parents’ help when you were in high school and that bank’s not working for you anymore, it’s probably not, ditch it, ditch it. If you have that budgeting method that you’ve used and it’s not working for you, ditch it. If you have told yourself, “I’m going to invest finally this year,” but you feel lost and confused with every time you try to sign up for an investing platform, find something new, do something different.

If something’s not working for you, let it go. If a relationship isn’t working for you, let it go. If a job’s not working for you, hopefully figure out something else so you have a backup plan, but then let it go. We are not doing lukewarm in 2024. We are doing piping hot or nothing. We are not doing lukewarm when it comes to our purchases.

We’re not buying things that we only kind of like to appease somebody else or because we think we should be buying them. We are using our hard-earned money to actually make our life better. We are not dating people who we feel lukewarm about. We are not staying in jobs that we feel lukewarm about. We are piping hot, hashtag piping hot 2024. But life’s too short.

It’s not going to be a good time for you to stay in situations or keep doing things just because they’re comfortable in the way you’ve always done them, as opposed to the thing that actually gets you closer to your goals, actually gets you closer to the life you want. This includes your money, but everything else too. And finally, let’s talk about some really quick wins, some just one, two punches as we’re nearing the end of the episode that you can literally do right now, that’ll take you 10-ish minutes.

First, you knew this was coming, finally open up that high yield savings account or increase your savings by 1%, 2%, whatever feels right for you. You can open up a high yield savings account and put as little as a dollar into it right now and it’ll take you less than 10 minutes. Second thing, we’re going to prioritize committing to investing, whether it’s a few bucks or a couple hundred or a couple thousand, it is never too late to start or continue on your investing journey.

But compound interest does not work unless you actually get started, right? You cannot get the benefits of any of this unless you actually start. We have our free Stock Market Secrets webinar as a great place to learn more about investing. You can go to herfirst100k.com/secrets for more. Take it. It’s an hour with me. You’ll get a lot of investing questions answered.

We’ll have a great time. And finally, if you’re new to this community, welcome. We’re so excited to see you. There is a back catalog of over a hundred episodes about everything from paying off student loans to mindful spending, to ethical investing, to raising financially minded children, to home buying, to sex work, to anything you could possibly be interested in when it comes to money and feminism and how both of those things intersect.

So if you aren’t already subscribed, feel free to subscribe. It’s the best way of supporting our work. But it also ensures that you can build a habit of continually listening to this podcast to make sure that you are educating yourself about money and constantly engaging in topics that might be a little uncomfortable at times, but ultimately going to make your life better, like money. So 2024 is going to be a hell of a year.

I’m going to meet Timothée Chalamet. It’s going to be great, along with all of the other beautiful things we’re doing. I also just want to highlight that. I mean, it feels like every year feels this way, but a lot of craziness is going on in the world right now between the genocide in Gaza and climate change is always a thing, and our government in the United States just seems to just be just extremely frustrating.

So just try to have the most easeful, peaceful, pleasurable year you can this year. And I am telling myself this as well as a little anxious person, and as someone who is deeply ambitious and wants to do a lot of things, what if your goal this year was just to have the most peaceful year possible for yourself, for your community, for your family? What if the goal this year was to just walk into rooms exuding love and peace and generosity and joy?

I don’t know. I think that’s probably my goal this year, in addition to Timmy, but is showing up in spaces as the fullest version of myself who is taking care of herself so that she can give to others, and is also not caught up in shit that just makes me anxious or scared or fearful, but rather I walk into a room exuding joy and peace and love.

As cheesy as that sounds, it’s something that I really want to strive for in this next year, is just approaching life and my work and all of the things that are going on in the world with this higher sense of ease and peace. So that’s what I’m going to leave you with. I’m really excited to continue growing this community and engaging with you all in 2024. Thank you for being here. Truly, truly thank you for being Financial Feminists and go have a kick year. We’ll see you back here soon.

Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap, produced by Kristen Fields. Associate producer, Tamisha Grant. Marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Elizabeth McCumber, Amanda Leffew, Masha Bachmetyeva, Kailyn Sprinkle.

Research by Ariel Johnson. Audio engineering by Alyssa Midcalf. Promotional graphics by Mary Stratton. Photography by Sarah Wolfe, and theme music by Jonah Cohen Sound. A huge thanks to the entire Her First $100K team and community for supporting the show. For more information about Financial Feminist, Her First $100K, our guests and episode show notes visit financialfeministpodcast.com.

Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap is an internationally-recognized money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori quit her corporate job in marketing and founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. She has helped over one million women negotiate salary, pay off debt, build savings, and invest.

Tori’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, the New York Times, BBC, TIME, PEOPLE, CNN, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, BuzzFeed, and more.

With a dedicated following of almost 250,000 on Instagram and more than 1.6 million on TikTok —and multiple instances of her story going viral—Tori’s unique take on financial advice has made her the go-to voice for ambitious millennial women. CNBC called Tori “the voice of financial confidence for women.”

An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.

Facebook Group