60. Building Black Wealth with Rich and Regular

December 13, 2022

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.

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.

Building wealth in a capitalist society can feel like a double-edged sword

As host Tori Dunlap explains in this episode, “you don’t want to win capitalism, but if you lose, your friends and family lose, too.”  But how do we reconcile that? And how do we support marginalized communities whose hill to financial stability looks more like a mountain?

In this episode, Tori is joined by Kiersten and Julien of Rich and Regular to talk about their journeys to leaving the system while also educating the next generation of Black families on building wealth by “cashing out.” 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why financial education isn’t always the foolproof answer

  • How to reconcile the need to participate in capitalism with the need to change the system

  • The systemic barriers to building wealth in Black and other marginalized communities

Rich & Regular Links:

Cashing Out Book
Money on the Table Series

Meet Kiersten & Julien

Julien and Kiersten are authors of Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game By Walking Away under Portfolio Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. They are also the creative voices behind the blog richandregular.com, hosts/producers of the award-winning video series, Money on the Table, and hosts of the rich & REGULAR podcast. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, their mission is to inspire better conversations about money.

The couple has used frugal living, real estate, stock market investing and their online business to build wealth and ultimately achieve financial independence. They paid off $200,000 in five years and their story has been featured on Good Morning America, The NY Times, Forbes, CBS This Morning, Marketwatch, the Oprah Winfrey Network and more. When they’re not sharing stories about their experiences with money, they are parents to their son Beau, traveling the world or searching for their next great meal.


Tori Dunlap (00:00:00):

Before we get into today’s episode, we are pausing new episodes from December 19th to January 6th for a little winter break for you and for our team. We will also have a very special episode, though right smack in the middle on book release day, which is Tuesday, December 27th. We’re so excited to share, so enjoy the break. Listen to the backlog of episodes. Have a fun holiday. Blow your cap of Financial Feminist. And we’ll see you back here soon. Okay, back to the episode.


Hello, financial feminists. Hello. Welcome back. I’m your host, Tori Dunlap. If you’re new here, welcome. This podcast is feminist first with money as our medium, we are disrupting the financial education space. I almost threw up a little bit in my mouth with disrupting, because you got to love Tech Bros have taken this word, taken the word disrupt, and really went to town with it.


It’s in every fucking like pitch. They have commandeered this word to describe anything they’re doing ever, but we’re actually disrupting the financial education space. We’re talking about how money affects women differently and why and what you can do about it. So if you like the show, please make sure to subscribe, leave us a review. This is the biggest source of free financial content we offer and positive reviews and subscribing wherever you get to podcasts, wherever you’re listening right now, is a great way to support us and our missions so we can help produce more of it. Okay, today’s guests good friends of mine. This is such an impactful episode. I know you’re like Tori, you say that every time but really though. Julien and Kiersten are authors of Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game by Walking Away. They’re also the creative voices behind the blog Richandregular.com, hosts and producers of the award-winning video series, Money On The Table, which is so good, and hosts of the Rich and Regular podcast.


They are also featured as experts, and Kiersten shares a beautiful story in my book, Financial Feminist, so you can also check them out there. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, their mission is to inspire better conversations about money. The couple is used, frugal living, real estate, stock market investing, and their online business to build wealth and ultimately achieve financial independence. They paid off $200,000 of debt in five years, and their story has been featured on Good Morning America, the New York Times, Forbes, CBS This Morning Market Watch, the Oprah Winfrey Network and more. When they’re not sharing stories about their experiences with money, they are parents to their son Bo, traveling the world or searching for their next great meal. This episode just a blast to record.


I’ve been friends and colleagues with Kiersten and Julien for a few years now, and they are just incredible educators, but just good people. They’re also, again, featured as financial educators and experts in my book, Financial Feminist, and I think you’re just going to learn so much from them. We get into their story of what cashing out means to them, how they define cashing out, how systemic barriers impact the wealth building opportunities for the Black community. And most importantly, we have a really candid conversation about capitalism, about how to achieve financial independence under capitalism in a morally upstanding way or as morally as possible. This episode is absolutely packed. We can’t wait for you to listen. Let’s get into it.


Thank you so much for being here. We offline just chatted for a half hour about the whole book writing/ publishing process, and it’s so nice to have you. I blurbed the back of your book and it’s such a good book. We’ll link it down below, Cashing Out. It’s so good, y’all. But I always like to start conversations with fellow money experts by asking you what your first money memory was and if you both wouldn’t mind sharing.

Kiersten (00:03:39):

My first memory, money memory was with coins, was with physical money, which I know is dated because my son probably won’t have a similar memory at all. But my dad used to come home, empty his pockets and put all of the coins in this box that he kept under his sink. And every once in a while he would let us roll the coins and take them to the bank, and that’s how we got spending money. So I just remember my hands like smelling like a slot machine all the time, touching all that money. It was very Scrooge McDuck.

Julien (00:04:10):

Wow. My first money memory is church. I remember being given an envelope of or a stack of envelopes and you’d write your name and the date on it and I’d have to put a portion of my allowance into it. And I remember that was right next to my bucket of coins, which was an actual, you know those large, it was a… Well, it was a mixed nuts bucket, but I repurposed it as my piggy bank, and right next to that was my stack of tithing envelopes. So yeah,

Tori Dunlap (00:04:46):

You literally just brought three different memories for me because we had the same thing where we had the piggy bank and then probably every couple years we would roll it. And I remember one year that was the money that would go to our Disney Land trip was the money that was rolled. Same thing with tithing. I always wanted to put the envelope in the basket. My parents would hand me their envelope a
nd I’d put it in the basket. And then same thing as with my vending machines, the way we stored the money was in a chocolate covered raisins from Costco plastic bin. So literally you just ran through my highlight reel as well. That’s so funny.

Julien (00:05:24):

Yeah man.

Kiersten (00:05:25):

It’s amazing how tacit money used to be like, all of our memories are so sensory with it and now I just don’t think that’s going to exist.

Tori Dunlap (00:05:35):

Oh, that’s a good point. Well, yeah, and the thrill of finding a quarter or even a penny on the street or on the road, like a sidewalk that was, yeah, everything that made your entire life when you were a kid.

Kiersten (00:05:47):

Oh yeah.

Tori Dunlap (00:05:49):

So your book is called Cashing Out: Win the Wealth Game by Walking Away. This title, and we were talking about it before, is obviously very provocative in a really fun way. Can you talk about how you would define cashing out and how that kind of sums up both of your missions?

Julien (00:06:08):

Kiersten does a better job of defining it than I do, but cashing out is really about us helping people redefine what winning looks like in work and in money. And so right now a lot of people define winning by getting the big job, getting the big promotion, and unfortunately, only a few people really ever get a chance to do that. The rest of the people just end up feeling as if they’re failing and they’re constantly spending their lives trying to climb and get ahead. And what we’re really asking people to do or challenging them to do is to redefine what winning looks like and redefine winning as being able to quit on your own terms at any time for any reason, aka cashing out.


And I think that’s especially important for people of color. It’s important for everyone, but I think given our experience at work, given all of the things that sort get in the way of us climbing that ladder and earning our fair share, we really have to redefine what winning looks like because the likelihood that we win in that traditional sense is very, very low. And so that’s really what the title is about. And all of the nuggets and wisdom and stories that we share in the book are really guiding people to hold onto that new belief.

Tori Dunlap (00:07:20):

And you were kind enough to be interviewed for my book as well, and that was my big mission with obviously our work at HFK and Financial Feminist is it’s like money means options. You don’t have to stay in a situation you don’t want to be in when you have money. And we’re not talking millions and trillions of dollars, just enough money to get by for a while until you find something else or enough money to leave that toxic job or toxic relationship. And I know this as a woman, and I’ve heard from followers and friends of mine who are people of color that it’s even more important and even more compelling of a reason because if you’re in a situation you don’t want to be in financially, what does that mean for your mental health? What does that mean for generational wealth or lack thereof? All of that is linked.

Kiersten (00:08:09):

Yeah, and I think it’s… You touch on women, but when you talk about what it’s like to be socialized as a marginalized person who was left out of the economic system for so long, whether you’re a woman or a person of color, there’s a lot of these stories that we just never heard. The stories that we tell ourselves, the meaning that we make of certain situations is deeply rooted in oppression, whether it’s racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, whatever, boogey manism, you want to pick that you are socialized to believe that you don’t have any options or at best you have one or two and neither one of them are good. And so financial literacy and this work that we’re all doing is really about advancing the conversation and getting people to realize that this is a new world with new rules and a new playbook that requires you to think differently and act differently if you want to feel like you’re not stuck all the time.

Tori Dunlap (00:09:03):

So you’re talking about new world, what shifts have you seen? Because I remember you guys have been creating content, what year did you start? Is it 2016?

Kiersten (00:09:12):


Tori Dunlap (00:09:13):

2017. Yeah. So I started in 2016. So similar time. I’ve seen a lot of changes and obviously the world’s seen a lot of changes in that time period. What for you has shifted during the last, let’s give it five years?

Julien (00:09:27):

A lot of things, but I’ll tell you the one that is really at the forefront of my mind these days and it’s tech illiteracy. One of the biggest things, and I used to just struggle with this with respect to the older generation, but the more that I dug into it, the more I learned about how pervasive it is, you start to realize that this is actually an issue that’s affecting people of all ages, all walks of life. And unfortunately it has really detrimental impact on our earning potential and obviously our wealth building potential. But when we talk about, again, asking people to think differently about success, oftentimes it’s like, well, I need to make more money. And it’s like, all right, well great. Well, heres some industries that you should explore. And tech is always at the top of the industry and it’s like, yeah, but if you don’t have the skill set or the comfort levels to make that pivot, you’re sort of stuck.


Even if we’re talking about exploring entrepreneurship or building a side hustle, a lot of those things will involve tech. You have to be comfortable sort of creating in some way or adding value in some way. And again, there’s a big hump that we’re learning a lot of people have, which again creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs, people who want to teach and help guide those people along the way but that takes some time and all of those things. So I think the biggest thing that we… And money… I think the biggest thing that we’ve seen in the last couple of years is not just sort of the gap in tech, but also how much quicker tech is evolving. The pace of change just in the last five years, I think is a lot faster than it was when we started, right?

Kiersten (00:10:59):

Oh, absolutely.

Julien (00:11:00):

You could start a platform and know that it’s going to be there. It’s going to pretty much stay the same. I mean, even if you think about Instagram in year one, the level of innovation that they would roll out, now it’s like every other month, you know what I mean? Something’s happening. And so it’s a lot to keep up with. There are a lot of intermediaries sort of interfaces and all of these things that you have to keep up with. And as a result, I think a lot of people are being left behind. And so that’s just one way to look at it but even in a broader sense, if we’re looking at just the rise of AI and automation and the impact that that’s going to have on unemployment, which unfortunately disproportionately impacts people of color, all of these things are really kind of threatening.


And so for us, when we think about financial illiteracy, we kind of think about it the same way as we think about tech illiteracy, even though we sort of live in the financial space, we also live in a FinTech world. So the two are kind of integrated. You really can’t talk about one without talking about the other.

Kiersten (00:12:01):

I think on a behavioral, and maybe it’s related or not, but on a behavioral basis, what I’ve seen, the shift that I’ve seen is this inability to think long term or a struggle to think long term. It’s like we are so caught up in immediacy and short term thinking and looking at a two to four week horizon versus a five to 10 year horizon. And that is such a fundamental skill when it comes to investing, when it comes to role modeling, to mentorship. It’s like you got to be able to imagine, envision a you 10 years from now that is very different. And the easiest way to do that is to look back 10 years, look at some pictures, look at some photos and be like, you know what? I did change. I still feel like me, but I’m different. And the same needs to happen looking forward.


You need to recognize that, Lord willing, you’ll still be here in 10 years and you’ll have a different set of needs. You might be tired, you might have a family, you might have other obligations that now conflict with this career ambition of yours. And so setting yourself up to take care financially of the laziest version of you or a different version of you, is something that people have to learn how to do because they’re not thinking about it. They’re just thinking about the bills I have this month, the job that is listed on the site right now versus the jobs that will be listed or that are coming based on larger trends. And so it’s a shift that getting people to zoom out a little bit to understand where we are has been a challenge.

Tori Dunlap (00:13:29):

Well, and one thing you, we’ve talked both on and offline about this over the past couple years, us three, is I think the literacy part is something that just is presented as the solution all the time because it’s like, oh, the reason kids aren’t saving money is they weren’t taught this in schools. And if we do financial literacy in schools, everything’s going to be better. Which one, if we were to do that, who’s going to teach it? What’s the method that’s going to be taught? You’re going to have different elements of what is taught, how it’s taught, depending on race, depending on funding, depending on all of those things. So that’s not perfect. And in addition, it’s kind of the easy just quick bandaid fix of just like, oh yeah, we’ll just do financial literacy. And again, we’ve all talked about together that that’s not enough. Can you tell me more about that?

Julien (00:14:22):

Yeah, so I’ll use the same framework that we just said. What did we think has changed just in the last five years? I think five years ago you coul
d have said there actually isn’t enough programming, you could have actually just literally said…

Tori Dunlap (00:14:34):

Which it’s not wrong. It is true that there needs to be more education.

Julien (00:14:38):

And you certainly could have said that five years ago and you could have said there aren’t enough books or there’s not enough representation. You could have said there’s not a lot of those things, but what have you seen over the last five years? But you’ve seen a lot. We’ve seen states, we’ve seen film, we’ve seen a number of books, we’ve seen programs, we’ve seen media companies, we’ve seen growth. And so there’s different parts of entry. So education isn’t really nearly as much of an issue and to your point, if that were the one stop, one button, easy button solution to help lead people onto the right track, then what we would also be seeing is a huge shift in terms of wealth or saving rate or any of those things. We haven’t seen that, right?

Kiersten (00:15:23):

Well, we did when our backs were against the wall in 2020 when everything was closed. That proves the point that people know how to stop spending when they’re scared enough. When you think there’s a virus out there that’s going to come get you, and everybody’s locked down, people can save 38, 40%. That’s what it proved but then as soon as everything opened up, we went back to our old habits.

Tori Dunlap (00:15:46):

Well, and it’s also scarcity mindset too. It’s not like I want to build a life for myself and for my community, and money is abundant and I am… Like it is, I’m not going to have enough money and I don’t want anybody, nobody physically can live in a scarcity mindset for a long period of time. Your brain will literally break down.

Kiersten (00:16:06):

That’s what we were taught. That’s exactly what we were taught as a woman, as a person of color, as a marginalized identity. You are taught that you need money, but there’s not enough of it for you. So it’s not a process of learning about money for a lot of us, it’s unlearning all that other shit that keeps us putting ourselves in our own way. It’s unlearning the idea that money is a scarce resource. It’s unlearning the idea that you’re capable of doing hard things, even if you struggle at first, it’s unlearning the idea that your voice is somehow less valuable because somebody didn’t invite you to a table or because you don’t have a title. It’s unlearning all that stuff. And that’s what unlocks true financial literacy, which to me is more of a relationship with your money versus all these rules that they try to teach you in school that only apply to near perfect situations.

Tori Dunlap (00:16:56):

Or balancing a checkbook, which who does that anymore? And financial literacy does not solve Black people getting shot in the streets or healthcare access to abortion being overturned. And those are both financial issues because every issue is a financial one. So financial literacy, yes, more is needed but also that doesn’t solve really many, if any, systemic issues. So it’s like it has to be coupled.

Kiersten (00:17:24):

Yes, exactly.

Julien (00:17:25):

Yeah, I’m happy to hear you say that because one of the things that I think really separates us from a lot of other creatives in the space is that we don’t really double down on education, and that’s not to knock it, but to say that box is already checked. There’s plenty of education options available for you. I spend, and I’m far more interested in exploring culture and social norms because more than anything else, I think that’s really what shapes our behaviors. That’s what shapes our habits, that’s what shapes our belief systems. And so I’m far more interested in exploring that and helping people see how those things are shaping the way that they think and what they believe versus trying to help them. Or instead of trying to be a human glossary for them.

Kiersten (00:18:06):

I was a big hit.

Tori Dunlap (00:18:08):

I learned… I loved school, obviously. I loved going to school, I learned a lot but I think in terms of how to be a good person, the actual life skills around money, I didn’t learn that at school. I learned that from my parents, from watching my parents. I learned that from fucking up in college and maybe spending too much money somewhere, or I learned, I was going to say on the job, but you learn those things by doing them. And so it’s like when I took pre-calc in high school, I learned everything I needed to learn from the test, for the test. And then I drained it all because I didn’t need it anymore. And financial literacy for a 16 year old is good in theory, but I as a 16 year old was not managing much more money than a hundred dollars occasionally.


So you explaining to me what a Roth IRA is when I’m 16, I don’t give a shit. It doesn’t matter
to me. So I think that that’s the other thing too, is it’s like, yes, teach it in schools. It’s like my sex ed in school. One, I went to a Catholic school, so I barely got any. And two, it’s like that wasn’t great. So if you’re also going to teach… If the equivalent of you teaching me how to use a condom is like how to balance a checkbook, it’s not going to be good. It’s not going to be good.

Kiersten (00:19:24):

And unfortunately, the way that most finance content is created, it’s more like teaching abstinence as a form of sex ed. And it’s like, that’s not sex ed.

Tori Dunlap (00:19:34):

No, that’s the scarcity mindset, right? Oh gosh, you just blew my mind. No, but that’s so true, right? Is that’s the Dave Ramsey thing of don’t spend money ever, don’t have sex ever. And that got everybody.

Kiersten (00:19:45):

And if you do just have a little bit.

Tori Dunlap (00:19:49):

Just the tip. It doesn’t count, it’s just the tip.

Kiersten (00:19:49):

Oh man.

Tori Dunlap (00:20:03):

Kiersten, you were going to say something. Go for it.

Kiersten (00:20:08):

I think what this time is…

Julien (00:20:09):

I’m going to… I can leave.

Kiersten (00:20:15):

I think one of the things we have to grapple with in this, going back to how we started in today’s economy, in today’s world is what does it look like to learn? So many of us have this fixed mindset of sitting in a classroom or going to a traditional college or going to get a financial certification when really it’s understanding that a lot of our actions, our behaviors, our thoughts are driven by things that we’ve picked up along the way. And when you recognize that, that’s when you start to do the work of changing your environment, changing those inputs, changing your timeline, if that’s what gets you thrown off track to make sure that it’s aligned to your larger goal because that’s how people learn. That’s actually how they learn.

Tori Dunlap (00:21:04):

Well, and if you can correct me if I’m wrong, if I remember, I don’t have any official financial certification, and I don’t think either of you do either, right?

Kiersten (00:21:13):


Tori Dunlap (00:21:13):

And I think I’ve been wanting to talk to somebody about this and you two are perfect for this. So many people will, over the past couple years have asked me, are you a CFP? Right? Are you a certified financial planner? Are you a financial advisor? And the only people that really ask that question are men in their forties and fifties who I don’t care about anyway. And I think weirdly what’s happened is having some of those certifications, at least with millennials and Gen Z, actually makes it more suspicious. I’ve found that weirdly, having a very specific qualification when it comes to money puts you in a system that in part caused 2008 or in part has led to this huge wealth gap. And I’m wondering if you think the same or if you have come up against the same sort of criticism of, oh, you’re a financial coach or are you a financial expert? What are your certifications?

Julien (00:22:15):

Yeah, 1000000%. So the story that I always share is I remember going to my barber, and for men, especially Black men, your relationship with your barber is very intimate. So I remember moving and then I stopped going to him, and then I had to find a new dude who was like, all right, man, let’s try this thing out. But every now and then, just, I want that old thing back, so I had to go… And I went back to my barbershop and he’d seen some of the things that we were doing online and he was just super proud of me. And we would just sort of talk about money, just talking shop and locker room, barbershop talk. And I asked him, I’m just being real. This is what the barbershop is.

Tori Dunlap (00:22:59):

No, but locker room now has a whole Donald Trump.

Julien (00:23:03):

Oh, I know.

Tori Dunlap (00:23:04):

And I know, I want to clarify. I know you don’t mean that. Yeah.

Julien (00:23:09):

So we’re in the barber shop and we’re talking about money, and he starts asking me a couple of questions and I asked him, well, what are you invested in? And he was like, oh man, tampons. And I was like, what? And he was like, tampons man, because you know what, no matter happens, a woman is always going to have tampons. I was like, all right, first of all that’s wrong and low key…

Tori Dunlap (00:23:29):

Like he owns Tampax stock, is that what he’s saying?

Julien (00:23:32):

Kind of sexist. I have no idea. I have no idea. I didn’t ask any further. I didn’t ask any further because I was just like, okay… Because what you’re validating to me is someone that you trusted, shared this insight with you at a very early age, and you’ve carried this story alone. This man is 50 years old. So here I then come in, it was like, well actually, right? Insert like dickhead…

Kiersten (00:23:59):

Well, S&P 500.

Julien (00:24:00):

Insert. Anything I say after that is going to… I’m going to sound like a dick. And I’m talking about McKinsey studies and I’m talking about data and I’m talking about index fund investing and all these things, and it goes in one ear and out the other. And so my comment in response to what he was sharing is, I’ve learned through that story and through literally hundreds of conversations, is that when you lead with data, when you lead and present yourself as the expert or as someone who has authority over someone else, it really makes people uncomfortable. And it actually makes that sense of insecurity worse, which gets in the way of them learning or even empowering themselves. And so I’ve actually made a conscious decision not to pursue certifications because relatability is far more impactful than credibility or expertise as defined by the industry. I believe, I won’t get the story or the insight or the truth of what’s really at the heart of these people’s issues if I’m constantly presenting them as their teacher.


The last thing, or the other way that I say it is no one wants to have a beer with their teacher. You know what I mean? You want to have a beer with your peer, someone that you can talk to, someone that you can share your insights with that are far… Issues that are far larger than just, I don’t know what this thing means, right? It’s like, what are the things that are shaping your decisions? And so I need access to those stories if I really want to impact the people that we’re trying to reach. And so that’s why I shared that story. And to your point, that has been our experience where it’s like when you lead with the data, when you lead with expertise, people don’t really respond nearly as much or you’re not nearly as effective as when you are presented or just no pressure and just sort of relating to people on the human level.

Kiersten (00:25:45):

I want to say they lie, but that’s a harsh word. But they definitely spin the truth a little bit. A lot of experts all the time, you think about the last time you were at the doctor and you got to answer the question, how many drinks do you have a week? And it’s like three to four.

Tori Dunlap (00:25:59):

A night.

Kiersten (00:25:59):

How often do you work out?

Julien (00:26:00):

Last night.

Kiersten (00:26:02):

Right? Do you smoke? It’s like, well, it depends. What are we talking about? But people lie to experts all the time. And that’s not the relationship we wanted to have with our audience. We’re really trying to build something sustainable in a community and a group that is built on trust. And it’s like, we didn’t want that to be the foundation.

Tori Dunlap (00:26:24):

Well, it is about credibility, right? Because I want to be clear, don’t take advice from just anybody but you guys, I have established credibility in other ways. Book deals, our information, our media appearances, our awa
rds. We’ve established credibility somewhere else. And I want to tell you a funny story too. So I was on the Today Show a couple months ago, and apparently they intro-ed, my mom watches every day. And so apparently she saw them intro my segment on the day before and they were like, TikTok finance star shares her whatever. And apparently I love her, but Savannah Guffrey was like, oh yeah, because I get all of my financial information from TikTok and eye-rolled it. And I’m like, because that’s the criticism I get a lot too, is it’s like, oh, it seems it’s less legitimate, especially TikTok where it’s like, oh, isn’t that cute and TikTok?


And I’m like, I am going where people are. I am creating accessible content for this thing that’s very inaccessible and intimidating where people are already hanging out. Why wouldn’t I do that? Why wouldn’t I use a platform that is more accessible and also where people already are than trying to reinvent the wheel or trying to be jargon hoty tody this is very serious and should be taken very seriously?

Kiersten (00:27:36):

Yes, yes. Yes. That’s what smashing the patriarchy means. It means de hierarchizing. I made that up. Un-hierarchy.

Tori Dunlap (00:27:45):

No, I got you.

Kiersten (00:27:46):

Removing hierarchies.

Tori Dunlap (00:27:47):

I don’t de-hierarching. Yeah, I don’t think it’s a word, but we got you.

Julien (00:27:50):


Kiersten (00:27:50):


Tori Dunlap (00:27:57):

So your book again titled Cashing Out. I would love to have you both share what cashing out actually looked like in your own life. First, what was the moment where you’re like, I need out. Second, how’d you prep for it? And third, what was that moment of actually cashing out? What have you been able to do with that?

Julien (00:28:15):

So I cashed out first in the summer of 2018, and it was really after years of feeling really disillusioned about what the job was doing, what we actually stood for, but then also just seeing bias play out in very real time. There was a point where I was the typical corporate loyal person. I described myself as this personally. This is who I worked for. I was super duper proud of what the work that I did. My father had worked for the company years before. And so it felt like a part of who I was until shit got real and they started, company was hurting a little bit, which led to downsizing. Then it just became a very toxic dog eat dog kind of environment where everybody was out for themselves. I survived the first couple of layoffs and actually got promoted as a result of it.


But it was one of those BS promotions where you get promoted, but we not going to give you any more money, but we’re going to give you an opportunity to prove yourself to do the job that you’ve already been doing for three years. So did that. And then the final straw for me was when I had a manager who was hired above me who was completely clueless. She had no idea what she was doing and she knew that things were failing, but she wanted to fail with people that she was comfortable with. And so she really set me up and tried to hit me with a one two punch to try to get me out of here. And instead of me sort of accepting this sort of mistreatment and quite frankly bullying and racist behavior, I said, you know what? I don’t, at that point, I don’t really need to deal with this.


Our son was one years old. I was losing sleep. I was losing more sleep due to stress from work than I was trying to be a supportive partner or parent to my son. And I mean, literally I could not lower my heart rate. I developed this sort of eye twitch when you’re super stressed out. I was gaining weight. All these physical symptoms and mental and emotional issues were sort of popping up. And I realized, wait a second. I’d been on this road of financial independence at that for 8 years. We’d paid off our mortgage in 2017 on Kiersten‘s birthday.


At that point, we were literally saving more than half of our income. We had a rental property and the property that we were in, we were going to convert into our second debt free rental. We were thinking about launching Rich And Regular, but we weren’t quite there yet. But at the time, we had already launched it was 2018, and we were seeing so much great momentum and we were learning about this new creative economy. And I was like, why am I breaking my neck to try to make something happen over here when, one, I don’t need to accept this kind of treatment. And two, what woul
d my life look like if I decided to just pour all this energy into, and skill, into my own ideas and into my own wellness?

Tori Dunlap (00:31:23):

Well, you’re building somebody else’s house as opposed to building your own.

Julien (00:31:26):

Correct. And so that was the trigger for me was to be the person that I described on LinkedIn. And I always tell that to people at the time, do you believe that you’re that person or not? And I had to ask myself that question, say, yeah, let’s see what happens. And I think at least by my standards, I fulfilled that mission. And then Kiersten decided to follow suit a couple of years later.

Kiersten (00:31:48):

In 2020. So it was about 18 months, almost two years later. And my reasons were kind of twofold. One, he had the nerve to be super happy as an entrepreneur. He was spending his days writing at the Whole Foods and enjoying our neighborhood. And it was… Yeah. And so there was a gap between our relationship. There was tension in our relationship because I would come home wanting to vent about office bullshit, which is how we built our relationships. So many relationships kind of function around misery and being like commiserating in that. And it just sounded like a foreign language to him when I would talk about, she didn’t even respond to my email. It just sounded like, are you talking about, yeah, that’s a babe, don’t worry about it. It’s like, what do you mean don’t worry about it? Yeah.


So that was part of the issue was just the tension that it was creating or the space that it was creating because we lived in two completely different worlds. I was still very stuck in a scarcity mindset. I had this identity around being very proud that we were living off of my income and I had kept getting promoted and it was… I had a sense of pride of being like, I’m a strong modern woman who retired her husband or whatever language you want to use. So that floated me for a while but then there was a reorg and I got placed in a different team. And so I had done all this work to pick this exceptional boss and set myself up for really flexible work but then the company restructured as they do. And I got under someone who was again clueless to the business that I was running internally. They demanded a lot. They were micromanager. I had to be on far more meetings. They expected me to be in the office at this time and leave after this time.


They wanted me to manage my team a certain way. And that’s when I started asking myself different questions. So instead of like, are we financially prepared? What are we going to do for money? It’s like, will making this leap make me a better wife, a better mom, a better sister, a better friend? What is this job that I’m in teaching me? Who is it teaching me to become? Is it teaching me to become somebody who just sits in scenarios that aren’t ideal forever and ever because of whatever reason I’m telling myself? So I started asking myself different questions. And I remember telling Julien, I think I’m ready. I think I’m ready to put in my notice. And he was like, hell yeah, it’s about time. I been waiting on you. So it was a number of things. It was like there were things that were circumstances that were happening outside of us. And then there was an internal shift within us to decide, actually I think I don’t have to do this. I don’t think I have to do this anymore. And that decision was so instant and it changed everything.

Tori Dunlap (00:34:40):

And I think what you’re calling cashing out, I would probably call financial independence, is it’s like the ability to again, have any choices you want. And I’m listening to both of these and I did the same thing. I was in toxic situations where I was like, nope, don’t want to do this anymore. Built the thing on the side to the point where I could quit. Some people can’t do that. Or for some people, maybe they actually like their job, maybe they feel compensated well. How can we define cashing out in our own lives besides just the, nah, I’m done. I’m going to go work for myself. For you guys, do you feel that there’s other definitions for cashing out?

Kiersten (00:35:18):

Yeah, I think that’s why we created the cashing out as this ongoing process versus some outcome. Typically, when people think about financial independence, especially if you’re goal oriented or ambitious, you tend to be outcome focused. When I hit this number, that’s when I’m financially independent.

Tori Dunlap (00:35:37):

Or when I’m debt free.

Kiersten (00:35:38):

Versus cash… Yeah.

Tori Dunlap (00:35:40):

We interviewed the Debt Free Guys who literally paid off their credit card debt and then went back into credit card debt after because they didn’t have the habits of how do we make this sustainable. They were just like, okay, we’re debt free, yay. And it’s like they didn’t have, what happens after that? They didn’t have that.

Kiersten (00:35:55):

Yes. And you also see this with emergency fund savings. People work hard to save that emergency fund, but then they’re pissed and they beat themselves up because then emergency happens and they got to use it. And it’s like, well, yeah, that’s the point. And so the point of cashing out is to really focus on outcomes. The book goes over what we call these rituals, which is an ongoing practice. There are some rules, I don’t like rules in general, but there are some evergreen financial rules. Things like spend less than you make, always consider inflation. Things that these are hills that we’re willing to die on to say, you know what? This is likely going to be pretty tried and true advice for the next couple of generations.


But then there are these rituals, these moments where you’re supposed to check in with yourself and ask yourself certain questions to make sure that things haven’t changed. It’s not… Financial literacy is not set it and forget it. We tend to think that it’s very similar to a college degree where it’s like, oh, I learned calculus back in freshman year. Instead, it’s an ongoing relationship that you have to keep asking yourself different questions to make sure that the way that you’re spending your time, investing your money, your strategy, your diversification, whatever is aligned to the life that you still want.

Tori Dunlap (00:37:06):

Well, in the relationship piece too, again, we talk about that all the time, defining it as a relationship. And any relationship, whether that’s parent to child, partner to partner, friend to friend, coworkers, that relationship is going to look different over time. And if you phone it in, it won’t work. Like it will not work. So your relationship with your money and your money’s relationship to you will grow and change. And also we call it financial self care here at Her First $100K, but it needs to be maintained and it needs to be checked in on regularly or else to your point, it’s not going to work.

Kiersten (00:37:44):

And a lot of us are avoidant, we’re conflict avoidant. Again, these are not things that I’m saying as negative. This is how we were conditioned to be. This is how we were taught in small ways and big ways from the time we were little up until now to be avoidant. And so when there is a trade off that needs to be made and there is always a trade off that needs to be made within your budget, within your finances, within your prioritization, we just avoid it. We just hope it’ll go away instead of actively getting in that thing and engaging with it and welcoming it. To me, financial independence and financial freedom is the point where you start to welcome a little risk in your life. You start to welcome a little emergency that allows you to think quick and move money and figure out what are your options. It’s like doing a crossword puzzle, but with your finances. And that takes the edge off of it when you can see it as a creative pursuit or just a challenge versus this thing.

Tori Dunlap (00:38:42):

Almost like you’re married. Spend a lot of time together. I love it.

Kiersten (00:38:48):

Do I rant a lot? Yeah. It’s not a thing that determines your moral worthiness. It is a thing that you can play with. Let’s be playful up in this… I almost said hoe. Unless I can on this podcast. Yeah, let’s be playful in this hoe.

Tori Dunlap (00:39:16):

You can say whatever you want.


Okay, I want to take a… It’s a very hard shift. I’ve interviewed you about this previously, not on the podcast, but you don’t know the… You know stats over and over. I don’t need to tell you again. But we know statistically Black families have less generational wealth. They’re paid less. They’re also among the most under banked populations. Under banked meaning either unbanked, meaning they don’t have a bank account or don’t have access to a bank account. Under banked meaning that they’re not taking full advantage of the banking services or their bank is too far out of reach. So what struggles are you seeing that are facing the Black community when it comes to finances? Besides, I mean, racism, obviously. Where is the traditional financial education missing the mark? Solve racism for me, please.

Julien (00:40:03):

Where is traditional finance missing the mark?

Kiersten (00:40:08):

I mean, I think for one, traditional finance advice does not include the Black tax. So again, this focus on rules always do this, never do this, doesn’t apply if the rules are different for you. So traditionally real estate might be a good investment, but if you buy real estate in a Black neighborhood because that’s where you can afford or that’s where you prefer to be, to send your children to school, the likelihood that your real estate is going to be valued at the same level as a white counterpart across town is rare. And even if you do all the right things, even if you buy that big beautiful house in a white neighborhood, in great school system, if you get the wrong appraiser, you’re fucked.

Tori Dunlap (00:40:49):

We talked about that I think episode four with Tiffany Alicia, literally had that experience where she’s a Black woman, financial expert and had her house appraised, I think she said like $300,000 less.

Kiersten (00:41:01):

Yeah. Yeah, that’s crazy. We’re going to look back at this time and be like, yo, why was this acceptable? Right? It’s the same way I look back at my grandmother. My grandmother just turned 90 last year or this year, and she was born on a sheer cropper field, and she was just so happy to be there. She liked going to the field. She tells me the story. She used to cry when her dad would leave her back at home. She didn’t know any better. She didn’t have anything to compare it to. So when we look at the stats today and they’re dismal Black women making 67 cents to a dollar. White women, women in general making 80 something cents to a dollar, you start to realize this shit makes absolutely no sense, and it doesn’t have to be this way.


And so I think in the interim, what personal finance advice needs to be doing is selling us like, yo financial independence, these aggressive savings rates, these big goals, this push that we’re trying to get y’all to sign up for is really just to remain on parity. Yes, the traditional advice is to save 10%, but when you make 40% less, you got to save 30%. You got to get a side hustle. You might need to start a business. You might need to look at a different type of investment. And it doesn’t do that. Instead, it defaults to it being personal finance advice, defaults to the easy, clean math that comes with being at the top of the social food chain, so to speak. You don’t encounter nearly as many hurdles or barriers as you would if you were a woman or a marginalized person.

Julien (00:42:36):

This is the third time that we’re going to reference calculus. I don’t know why, but literally in our book, we talk about the math being simple, but Black life isn’t, it just isn’t that simple, right? And so the math is the same. You’re right. It’s not as if compounding interest works differently for people of color, or women than anyone else, but there are forces outside of the math. All of these other things you talked about, all of the boogeymen, all other bad isms out there that are just impacting our lives. And that’s really where things get a little bit complicated. So yeah, I think it’s really, really difficult. And I think as people who I would consider us to some extent, leaders in the space with respect to that community, sometimes it almost feels like you’re that cliche scene in a Marvel movie where there’s a train that’s running off the tracks and you’re standing there, whether you’re Hulk or Batman or whatever it is, and you’re trying to stop this thing before it falls off the track and it’s just you’re getting beaten up and tattered.


But this thing is moving really, really fast. And wealth decline and wealth inequality is a massive, massive and complicated thing. What we’re trying to do is not be the superhero, actually because I’m not. I’m literally not a superhero, but what I can do is, as someone that’s on that train with you and say, all right, well what can we do? There’s this much runway, look, there’s an escape route up here. There’s our options over here, which will require us to think a little bit differently. We might need to tap into some bite size of courage to move a little further to maybe delay this thing. Give us some time to think. So that’s the way that we kind of think about it, a bit more creatively but the reality is, policy got us into this shit, policy is going to get us out of it.

Tori Dunlap (00:44:21):

One of the things I struggled with most, I struggle with most in my work, and specifically with writing my book, is it was… I don’t like capitalism. I don’t want to win capitalism because that means deep suffering for somebody else. I’ve exploited somebody. If I have billions of dollars, I’ve probably exploited somebody. But I also can’t afford to lose capitalism because that means deep suffering for myself and my family and my community. And I imagine as Black people, you feel that 10 times harder. How do you reckon with that? Because I’m struggling with it too. I mean, my answer is I have to teach you how to get your groceries and pay your rent and then once you’re taken care of, then we fuck the system up but I also don’t want to participate but you kind of have to, unless you’re going off the grid in Alaska somewhere and getting a Discovery Channel show. But that’s like, that’s it, right? It’s either you have to participate and hopefully, I guess, do the least harm you can. What are your thoughts with it? Because it’s something I’ve deeply struggled with.

Julien (00:45:32):

I struggle with it. Kiersten will tell you, we both do. But I think it’s in my nature, and I’ve always been that way because I came from the mud. You know what I mean? The way that I think about it is the same way I think about if I were climbing a mountain. Even if it’s just one of them fake mountains at a rec center or something like that. If you’re climbing a mountain and you try to strap on a couple weights on your back, you tie some things to your ankle, it’s really, really hard. There are other ways to do this.


You could say, you know what? I trust that you’re going to be good where you are. I’m skilled. I’m able. I have resources. I’m probably best suited to climb this mountain, but when I get up there, I’m going to use my resources to do something. I can throw a rope down, I might be able to rent a helicopter. I might be able to write something and send it back down to you. But I think too many of us, members of marginalized groups, are afraid of sort losing that point of connection because the higher you climb, the further away you get from your community.

Tori Dunlap (00:46:39):

Well, and the guilt.

Julien (00:46:41):

100% survivor’s guilt, I call it success guilt is something we struggle with, but it’s really just helping people like us to redefine what help looks like as well. It’s like, listen, when I get there, I need you to trust that I’m going to do everything that I can. And in fact, you might be able to do a much better job. You might be able to bring far more people with you when you get to the top.

Tori Dunlap (00:47:04):

Or maybe I hike back down the mountain, but I know the path now and I can help you back up.

Julien (00:47:07):

Correct. Correct. And that’s really how we think about the book. It’s like, listen, the math is simple, right? The process is simple. All those things are simple. But here’s what you will have to navigate as you’re going up. You’re going to see some bears, once you hit this point. This is when the weather is going to change. This is when the oxygen levels are going to adjust. And so you might want to pause a little bit. You know what I mean?

Tori Dunlap (00:47:28):

The things you can’t control, the racism, the sexism, the wage gap, the… Right.

Julien (00:47:32):


Kiersten (00:47:33):

The capitalism.

Julien (00:47:35):


Kiersten (00:47:36):

It’s another ism.

Julien (00:47:38):

So that’s the way that we think about it. It’s not easy but I do have to remind myself that that is far more effective of a tool than just committing to shop everyone on your back and to carry the weight of that responsibility with you while you’re climbing, because that can be detrimental to yourself, your own physical wellbeing. And it’s the old cliche of putting on your mask first. I think it’s what we, it’s relevant.

Tori Dunlap (00:48:02):

Literally. And financial oxygen mask finances, have you got to put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others. Yep.

Julien (00:48:09):

And by the way, as a student of Black history, this is not a new issue. You can go back to studying Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois are two major historical figures in the Black community, and they butted heads on this issue. They have very different points of view on how we wanted to move the race forward. And so this is not new. So if anyone else is dealing with these issues or struggling with that, I’m confident that if you study history, you’re going to find other leaders that were before you, struggled with the exact same thing. And so you have the benefit of looking at that, maybe reading some of their autobiographies and things like that to see what they were thinking. And I think using that as a bit of a guide or a cheat code to help you process what you’re feeling.

Kiersten (00:49:00):

Yeah, I would just echo everything you said. We’re all, as Burner says, we’re all compromised under capitalism but my theory is to focus on the areas that you find to be problematic in your life. There are lots of things that I’m annoyed by. There are lots of things I don’t like and have opinions about, but my time and my energy goes to the areas that are problematic in my life. And to quote another creator, Rachel Rogers, it’s really hard to be a feminist if you’re broke. Right. It’s hard to take the actions that you need to walk away from situations to support causes, to raise hell and use your voice without feeling like you’re risking your livelihood. It’s really hard to do that thing, those things. If you don’t have this underpinning in the United States, movements require funding. Becoming elected as president requires billions of dollars.


It’s not great, but that’s what we’re living in right now. Doesn’t mean that it can’t change. There was a time where tulips were the most valuable thing on earth, and bananas were a super important export or import. Things will eventually change. Again, if you’re a student of history, you know that there were wonky beliefs that we’ve always held as a country that we eventually get rid of. And to me, that’s why I’m bullish on the creator economy because somebody has to put the idea out there. We can’t just keep depending on
politicians to create these ideas and push society forward. We got to, like you said, meet people where they at. If they own TikTok, well, let me go on TikTok and introduce you to this new concept and what you could be doing and how this has a ripple effect. So it’s a hard question to answer, but I think if we start to think smaller, if we start to think about our neighborhoods, the communities that we can create, whether they’re digital or in real life, we can start to build momentum.


This is what grassroots organizers have been doing. It’s a long fight. They absolutely knew that Roe was going to be under attack. Why? Because they’re grassroots organizers and because the opponents have been saying the same thing for the last 30 years. They just got the stamina and the financial resources to fight a fight for 30 years until they get that shit overturned. We need to be in the same position to do that as well for the things that we care about. You got to have the stamina. You got to have gas in the tank, which requires the financial wherewithal to take breaks as you need them, or to walk away from situations that diminish your light.

Tori Dunlap (00:51:22):

Well, that’s cashing out, right? That’s the idea. My neck hurts from nodding incessantly. Yeah. One of the most powerful episodes we’ve ever done on this podcast was an episode with Amanda Litman, who runs Run for Something. And she worked on Hillary Clinton and Obama’s campaigns and now runs this organization around getting liberals, getting progressive candidates elected in the small elections that actually matter. And we have a whole conversation about presidential election, yeah, it matters, but not really. It’s not really going to affect your day to day, but your schools and your roads and your healthcare and how they’re handling COVID and the police, that all matters on a daily basis. And that’s the shit, the smaller elections, she literally explained to us, the coroner is sometimes elected. And so what happened was like if you elect a coroner who won’t say that COVID-19 was the cause of death, they get less ventilators, they get less funding. Right? It’s like something like that where you’re like, I don’t even think about that. And to your point, it’s the small stuff. It’s the small things.

Kiersten (00:52:34):

Yeah. It’s really getting under the hood of how the country works. When you do, you start to understand, oh, okay, entrepreneur, small business owners, creatives, whether you’re an artist, a musician, someone who runs a media company online, whatever it is, you got a lot of power. You just have to realize it. Right? That’s the mind fuck is to realize like, oh, shit, there’s a reason why groups like the Beatles changed the fabric of culture and what people valued and what people thought was beautiful. So aim to create that.

Tori Dunlap (00:53:16):

There’s so much I want to talk to you about. One of my last questions, if somebody is listening, and I mean, I’m feeling like hyped. I’m like, yeah, I’m going to go lift a car. If somebody’s like, yes, okay, well we’re going to do it right? I’m going to overcome these narratives, I’m going to do all these things. Yet you’re also looking at the mountain of capitalism and systemic oppression and you’re like, how the fuck do I climb this mountain? What do you say to them?

Julien (00:53:48):

One of two things. One is so much of what you’re feeling, I would say the good news is that this is not a matter of your intellect. This does not require you to develop expertise. I know specifically as it relates to politics. I have friends who have studied politics and have worked in government and it’s always been a point of insecurity for me because it’s like, I don’t really know how any of that stuff works. That is not where I spent my time. You know what I mean? And I think a lot of people feel the same way when it comes to money and or entrepreneurship and that sort of thing. But I think it’s just reminding people that courage is far more of a valuable sort of characteristic and power source to tap into than figuring out all of the intricate details or understanding of how any of this stuff works.


Courage. And I think once you muster up that courage, you’ll realize that time, just having the time to go deep, and when I say deep, it really doesn’t even require that much. Just this much deeper than on a given subject than where you are is enough to create massive change but you need the time to do that. You need the weekend to just read the book that you’ve been wanting to read, to watch the film, to go to the library, to attend that conference. And you need money. So it’s just not nearly as complicated as you’re probably thinking. And then the second thing, even though this is 2A, I just get like 1C. The second 2A is to be the anonymous donor. It’s very similar to what Kiersten was saying. We always tell the story about Dr. King and this time where he got locked up and he was supposed to spend a week in jail and he only ended up spending two or three days because he was bailed out by anonymous donors.


And this would happen on a regular basis. And in this particular story, he was bailed out and I think the bail was like $78, which in today’s dollars would’ve been something like $1,200, $1,400. So when you look at that and then you think about the percentage of Americans who couldn’t even afford a $400 or a $500 expense without putting it on the credit card, you really have to think about a different use case for financial empowerment. It’s not just so that you can be able to do what you want and go to the gym and travel and do all those things, it’s so that you can create the world or the community that you want to be in. There were a few people who could afford to pay attention to Dr. King, who could afford to do all of the things that he was preaching and really go deep, who could afford to speak the truth without fear of income loss or someone negatively impacting their quality of life.


And so all of those things I think are justifiable reasons for why you should go a little bit deeper and prioritize financial sort of wisdom and courage in your life. And I think it’s especially important for women. There are very few issues that I think are bigger than empowering women. Again, just the income gap alone is an issue that can be solved. And if we solve for that, it will fundamentally change the fabric of America. But we need more women to be actively involved. We need more women to be role models. We need more women who have already achieved it to also be sort of warriors and fighters and in the forefront. And so all of those things I think are really great reasons. Again, aside from all the that you see on CNBC and…

Tori Dunlap (00:57:17):

Well, and we need male allies, we need men who are…

Julien (00:57:21):

Yes, absolutely.

Tori Dunlap (00:57:22):

You know, they’re the ones unfortunately in the rooms where the decisions are being made. The same…

Julien (00:57:28):

In the locker room when the real shit is happening, right? So you need people, you need men to be able to speak up and to enforce some of those issues and to help create a new standard amongst their cohort.

Tori Dunlap (00:57:40):

Or us as white people, bringing Black folks into the conversation and making sure that there’s space for that, that’s on us. That’s not on you and that’s on us. Yeah.

Kiersten (00:57:49):

Yeah. I think my answer’s slightly different, but if you’re the person who’s staring at the mountain and you’re like, holy fuck. One, recognize that there are already people on the mountain. It ain’t going to just be you and the bears out there. Get climbing and trust yourself. Trust your abilities to develop a community or a comradery or the ability to decipher what kind of decisions you need to make once you’re already on the mountain. It doesn’t matter how many books you read about boxing or climbing mountains, that’s not how you learn how to fight or climb. You got to get your ass up on that mountain.

Tori Dunlap (00:58:26):

Back to the financial literacy thing, we’re back there, aren’t we?

Kiersten (00:58:29):

Yeah. You got to build that trust with yourself. When I’m up there, I’m not just going to give up. Once I’m on it, I got to either go up or go down, one or the other, but I can’t just stay there. And then I think the key to coming to that kind of clarity is really, and this hopefully does not sound woo woo, but really focusing on mindfulness, really centering yourself and asking yourself the hard questions. Whether it’s through journaling, meditation, yoga, whatever your thing is, you really have to uncover what your money beliefs are. And they’re tricky because they’re hidden below the surface. People will say things like, oh, how is this realistic for me? I only make $40,000. And it’s like, well, buried into that sentence is the premise that you think that that’s a fixed spot. That’s a fixed identity.


I am somebody who only makes $40,000 versus asking something like if I needed to make an extra $20,000 to accomplish what you’re talking about, what are some ways I can do it within these schedule constraints? That’s a very different question that unlocks far more answers versus you trying to stay in this fixed place and ask a question that’s kind of in defeatist, in the sense that I don’t have enough money to do what you’re saying, so I must not be able to do it. And it’s like, no, the answer is that you got to find money. So if you have the belief that you can’t find money, that’s one of the things that you have to work on once you get on that damn mountain. But get your ass on the mountain.

Tori Dunlap (01:00:01):

And that’s something that’s always frustrated me a little bit is Her First $100K’s origin story was my own a $100K journey of saving a $100K at 25. And that was the headline. That’s still the headline in a lot of the stories. 25 year olds save a $100K and so many people are like, well I’m not 25 so I can’t do that. Right. Or a $100K is so much money so I’m not going to do that. Yes, valid. Right? But you can take part of what I’ve learned and part of what I’ve done, compound interest works regardless of your age, regardless of the amount of money. And so…

Kiersten (01:00:35):

Timeline may be different but the technique…

Tori Dunlap (01:00:37):

Everybody’s timeline different and talk about privilege is part of that story. And I acknowledge that a hundred percent. But there’s other things that I did. I negotiated my salary, I started investing, I had a side hustle. These were all things that you could potentially do in your life. Now it might be a, it’s going to look different, a hundred percent, it’s going to look maybe on a micro level, but you can apply that to your life potentially.

Kiersten (01:01:01):

Yeah. Absolutely. It’s understanding that those actions compound as well. Once you’ve asked for more money, it changes the way that you view everything. If you ask for more money and get it, your brain changes. And so now you’re like, all right, well what else can I ask for? I’m going to ask for no cheese on this burger. I’m going to ask for, I’m going to send this food back because it’s not hot and I’m not satisfied with my purchase. And it just becomes a little thing that empowers you over and over and over again. And so instead of thinking linearly like, oh I could never save a hundred thousand dollars because I don’t have the skill set, know that if you start, those skills compound and it’s not linear. You might struggle the first two years, but the next two years and the next three years are gangbusters.

Tori Dunlap (01:01:49):

When my first date shows up on the phone, I don’t have to see him for a second date because I know my worth. Definitely not something that happened to me recently. No. Yeah. It’s like… Again, I talk about this so much in my book, but everything is unlocked when you have money and it’s not just options financially of what you can do with that money, to your point, it’s you know your worth in every… I’m like, I need a fucking gavel or something. I’m like you know every single situation, you don’t have to be in if you don’t want to. You’re like, I don’t have to do it. And I mean that’s cashing out again, right? It’s like I don’t have to do that, I don’t have to do that.

Kiersten (01:02:31):

All the shame that comes with things like cutting a cable bill or returning something because now you need the money back. You don’t feel that anymore. I mean you might feel a little bit, but you know it’s a fleeting feeling. You know that there’s something on the other side that’s worth going through the fear part.

Tori Dunlap (01:02:48):

Oh, I can buy organic bananas as opposed to… Yeah.

Kiersten (01:02:52):

Yeah. We still remember the first time we started shopping organic, we were like, damn. Okay.

Tori Dunlap (01:02:55):

Actually, let’s make that our last question because I’ve been thinking about this. What is the thing growing up that you’re like, oh, rich people do that? And I’m not even like yachts, but for me it was like, oh, rich people get appetizers. We were a no appetizer family. If you went out, you had dinner and you had water. No appetizers, no side dishes, no. And I remember the first time ordering an appetizer and being like, what is this? It was the height of luxury. I was like, oh my God, I’m ordering mozzarella sticks before my actual dinner gets here. I was like, could not believe it. I was like, holy shit. This is so exciting. So do you have one of those of oh, rich people do this shit? Even if it’s not real.

Kiersten (01:03:41):

I have several of them. One is taking walks in the middle of the day or sitting at a restaurant for lunch like in a restaurant.

Tori Dunlap (01:03:51):

And not taking it and eating at in your car or, yeah.

Kiersten (01:03:54):

Yeah. You’re just at a restaurant during the day. That’s where you had lunch. I’m used to drive throughs and shit.

Tori Dunlap (01:04:00):

It’s so funny you say that because I will go to Costco at 11:30 and I’m like, what are these people doing here? Don’t they have jobs? And then I think to myself, wait, don’t I have a job? I feel like I’m 80. What are these people doing? Don’t they have jobs? Like wait, what am I…

Kiersten (01:04:20):

Yeah. What am I doing here? Traveling in the middle of the week is another one. Just leaving on a Tuesday instead of waiting till the weekend and cramming your trip in. I got a bunch of them.

Julien (01:04:35):

Mine was restaurants.

Tori Dunlap (01:04:36):

Oh yeah. And mine was red eyes, not having to take the red eye because my parents were like, we’re taking the red eye every time. I remember the first… Again, I remember the first time I actually flew on a plane that was at a reasonable time and we weren’t waking up at two in the morning. Yeah.

Kiersten (01:04:50):

My mom just stopped doing that. She used to take 6:00 AM flights.

Tori Dunlap (01:04:53):

My parents did too because they’re like, we’re too old for this shit. And I’m like, about time.

Kiersten (01:04:57):

Yeah. She lives an hour and a half from the airport. So she was waking up at 3:30 in the morning to save $37 on Southwest. It’s like, ma, just take, what are you doing? But it’s again, ingrained you’re not even, not until somebody checks you and is like you know that don’t make no sense. I mean, it might have at one point in your life and it still might in some of the listeners’ lives, but there comes a point where somebody has to shake you if you’re not doing it yourself to be like, you could do something a little different. You deserve to sleep in.

Tori Dunlap (01:05:37):

I appreciate and love you both so much. Thank you for your insights. Where can people find you?

Kiersten (01:05:42):

You can find us. Where can you find us?

Julien (01:05:48):

I felt like that wasn’t going to go well too. I was like, oh, jumped the gun.

Kiersten (01:05:52):

I did jump the gun. Okay. So Cashing Out, you can get anywhere books are sold. Amazon, Barnes and Noble Indie stores, wherever. You can find us at richandregular.com. We are also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube under Rich And Regular. We have a TikTok but we haven’t used it. So maybe you can convince me after this call.

Tori Dunlap (01:06:18):

You were like the TikTok, the early 2020. Yeah.

Kiersten (01:06:23):

So we’ll see.

Tori Dunlap (01:06:24):

Are you still doing Money On The Table? Are you guys doing another season?

Kiersten (01:06:28):


Tori Dunlap (01:06:28):

Please check out. Y’all, go to their YouTube. They have this incredible show that it’s like, because Julien‘s a fucking incredible chef and they sit down and they make a good meal and it’s like half cooking show, half money show. And it’s just, it’s so brilliant. I love it. It’s my fucking favorite.

Kiersten (01:06:42):

Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Julien (01:06:45):

Thank you so much. We appreciate you. We’re proud of you. Keep fucking crushing it. And we look forward to seeing what’s next for you.

Tori Dunlap (01:06:51):

Thank you. Cool. A huge thank you again to Rich And Regular for joining us. Please make sure to follow and support them. Maybe grab their book for a holiday gift and pair it with another copy of Financial Feminists. I don’t know. Just saying, two is better than one. Thanks again for listening to Financial Feminists, the podcast. Please make sure to leave us a review if you’re enjoying the show. And don’t forget to grab your copy of Financial Feminist. The book out everywhere you buy books in e-book, physical book and audio format on December 27th. And can’t wait to see you back here soon. Catch you later, financial feminists. Have a good holiday.


nk you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap, produced by Kristin Fields, marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Olivia Conning, Charice Wade, Alina Hilzer, Paulina Isaac, Sophia Cohen, Valerie Eresco, Jack Conning, and Anna Alexandra. Research by Ariel Johnson. Audio engineering by Austin Fields. 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, episode show notes, and our upcoming book also titled Financial Feminist, visit herfirst100k.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.

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