31. I Wrote a Book!

July 14, 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.

We’ve been keeping a secret…

Tbh, not very well, you probably already know what’s coming.

Over the past year, Tori has been hard at work writing and researching, and compiling what would soon become her very first book. And now, Financial Feminist (the book) is finally (almost) here!

Financial Feminist: Overcome the Patriarchy’s Bullsh*t to Master Your Money and Build a Life You Love is now available for pre-sale! 

In today’s episode, Tori shares about the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the writing of this book and why it’s so special. She also shares some wisdom she’s gathered over the last few years as a celebration of her birthday this month.

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Tori Dunlap (00:16):

Hi, team. Welcome back. Welcome back to Financial Feminist. As always, I am so, so thrilled you’re here. Today is a special day. We’re recording this in June, but this is my birthday episode. I turn 28 on July 10th. And also very significantly, my book, Financial Feminist, that I have worked incredibly hard on is now available. It is available for presale. We’ll link it in the show notes. We’ll talk more about it. But I’m just going to say it, I get sad on my birthday. I get a little sad on my birthday every year. I know actually now that this is not a unique phenomenon because I’ve seen TikToks about it. But if you’re one of those people who also get sad on your birthday, a little melancholy, please know that you’re not alone. I look forward to my birthday every year, especially when I was a kid, it was the thing.

Tori Dunlap (01:08):

I would not sleep for a week. I would stay up and just be so excited to see my friends on a birthday party. That was just my favorite and I would get so… It was like Christmas. And then as you get older, your birthday’s just… It’s hard to make it a distinguished day, right? It’s hard. You have to like purposefully plan to make sure that it doesn’t just feel like another day. The thing that happens for me is that when my birthday does arrive, I’m excited to get texts from friends. I’m excited to celebrate, but I end up feeling sad and I don’t exactly know why. If I had to guess, I think it’s just the realization that like, oh, I’m aging, which is not inherently a bad thing, but I’m another year older. What does that mean for me? You have to kind of grapple with your own mortality.

Tori Dunlap (02:01):

The fact that there will be a time when you don’t have birthdays anymore. And when your time on… This maybe is too depressing. I don’t know. But when your time on earth is temporary, right? What I end up thinking about on my birthday that both makes me a little sad, but mostly optimistic is I reflect not only on the past year, but also on childhood me. I’m thinking like Tori whose seven, maybe eight years old, who like is decked out in leopard. I went through a leopard phase. That’s all I wore was like leopard literally head to toe. My mom has all of these photos of family trips. We went to Vegas, we went to New York, and I look like an 82 year old woman. I have fluffy leopard hat. I have a leopard coat. I went through a leopard phase. She’s like wearing jelly shoes, and she’s got these really dorky glasses because she just started wearing glasses.

Tori Dunlap (03:01):

That’s like childhood me. I was such a dreamer as a kid, as I think all of us are. I had all of these hopes and dreams for what I wanted my life to look like. They were a lot of dreams around the kind of person I wanted to become and the kind of woman I wanted to become. What ends up happening, again, when you’re reflecting on these goals is you just realize, oh, there’s a lot of things that childhood you wanted that didn’t happen. It’s easy to feel like you’ve let younger you down when you haven’t either accomplished those things or pursued those things. I, as I’m sure you all know, love theater very, very much. I was in my first show when I was six. I started dancing when I was like two or three and started singing before then. That was the goal for many, many, many years, as I grew up.

Tori Dunlap (03:57):

In middle school, high school, even college, the goal was to pursue theater, to be an actor professionally. I want to be honest, there’s still part of me that yearns to do that. It’s easy, especially on my birthday, especially in these milestone occasions, right? Birthdays, like New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day, right? It’s really easy to reflect on what you thought you would be, and then to feel slightly disappointed that maybe in not pursuing that you are betraying those goals. What I’ve discovered and realized is that when you’re younger, when you’re deciding who and what you want to be, there’s a lot of information you don’t have yet. The biggest reason I didn’t become an actor is I wanted stability in my life. I realized that that was very important to me.

Tori Dunlap (04:55):

I realized I could take a lot of the things that I loved about theater, which was storytelling and being in front of people and having a community, I could take those things and make them applicable to something that was more stable, something that was “more adult.” I’m not betraying childhood me by changing those goals. Those goals just don’t serve me. They might serve me again in the future, right? Maybe I say fuck it when I’m 30 or 35 and decide I want to pursue this. Who knows, right? But I think one of the best gifts we can give ourselves anytime, but especially when we’re thinking about these milestone dates is the freedom and the flexibility to leave behind the commitments we made to ourselves that don’t serve us anymore. For me, at this moment, the dream to become an actor isn’t serving me and hasn’t served me for quite a while.

Tori Dunlap (05:52):

I also think about the goals and the intentions that childhood Tori set that I have committed to. It’s going to make me cry, but I was the most voracious reader as a kid. I loved reading. I would take a book anywhere I went. I would literally sit in the back of the car, even when we were going to the grocery store, and I would be reading. I would be reading a book. I was that kid in the summer breaks who would come with my reading list from the library full backwards and forwards, and typically go to the library halfway through the summer to get a new one. Like that was me. I was that kid. I told myself, I was probably seven or eight, I literally wrote it in a journal that I wanted to be an author. I wrote books. They never, ever got finished, but I like have half written books even when I was 10, right?

Tori Dunlap (06:43):

I was like writing about my own experiences. And then I think when I was 13, I wrote this book that I was using to manifest me meeting my celebrity crush, right? The book I wrote was him falling in love with me. I wrote books or what I thought were books. As I was growing up, that was something I really wanted to do. If you’ve ever tried to write a book, if you’ve ever tried to write anything, you know how incredibly difficult it is. But in addition, you know that the likelihood of you getting an actually published book is so slim. Most books that are produced in the world, one, of course, have to be finished, which is a huge feat in and of themselves for you to submit something, knowing it’s going to be imperfect and saying like, “Okay, it’s as good as it’s going to get, right? It’s done.

Tori Dunlap (07:41):

It’s not perfect, but at least it’s done,” because you can tinker forever. But most books are self-published. Most books don’t have a publisher, even a major publisher to put that out in the world. I think about seven or eight year old me walking into a Barnes & Noble after school, which was my favorite thing to do, and walking up to a bookshelf and seeing her name. I get to do that now. I am so excited and I’m so excited that… And now at 28 years old, I have fulfilled a promise that seven year old me kept and really, really wanted, which was to not only finish a book, but to publish it and publish it to the point where it could literally be in any bookstore you walk into. What a gift, what a birthday gift to childhood me. Now, did she think it was going to be a finance book? Fuck no! Fuck no!

Tori Dunlap (08:51):

That was not the plan, right? That was not the plan. That was not the idea. But that’s the thing, right, is your goals and your dreams change. They take shape as you grow older. The thing I realize as I grew older is seeing women win was my fucking favorite thing. I knew it even then. I knew it when I was a young kid. I knew it when I was a girl. But I didn’t know how that would look as I aged. My goals and dreams have changed. They’ve evolved. I’ve let some go, and I’ve also doubled down on others. It’s not what I pictured. I pictured it like a YA fantasy novel as my book. That was the initial plan. Instead, it’s a book to give you the financial confidence you need to be able to live an incredible life. I’m so excited. I’ve spent literally four years producing this book.

Tori Dunlap (09:48):

I mean, this started when I was a kid. But I was reached out to by my first publisher in 2019. I put together a book proposal in 2020. I wrote this book in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and it will be released into the world in December of 2022. I’ll spend a good chunk of 2023 also marketing this book. This will be four plus years of work manifested in a physical thing that you and I will get to touch. For somebody who runs a digital business, it is an incredible thing to be able to have something… I can’t touch this podcast, right? This podcast lives in the cloud, but this book is going to be a physical thing that generations, hopefully beyond me, I don’t know, will maybe find in an antique store. I don’t know, someday, right? But like it is a physical thing. I mean, seven year old me would be thrilled walking into a Barnes & Noble.

Tori Dunlap (10:51):

I’m not kidding. Every time I walk past a bookstore, I get teary because I am anticipating the moment where I get to walk into a bookstore and see my book. I was on a flight yesterday. I passed by a Hudson Bookstore and I was like, “Oh my God, what if I’m going to be able to walk past this and see my book?” Seven year old me’s dream is realized in a book that you can now pre-order. When I tell you that the best way to support us is by pre-ordering this book, I truly, truly, truly mean it. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, at least professionally, the hardest thing. I fully think I blacked out for four years. That’s the only way this got done. I wrote a 300 page book, an 80,000 word book. I don’t know how I did it exactly. Truly, I don’t know, but it happened.

Tori Dunlap (11:53):

And in addition, I actually wrote it. Now, if you don’t know the behind the scenes of the book publishing universe, you’re like, “Well, yeah, of course, you wrote it.” But here’s the deal, a lot of the more public people that you’ve seen who have written books, they have not actually written the book. Way more than you think have not actually written the book that their name is on. They have hired ghost writers. Now, I did have support with this book. I had my team being able to help with research and help with citations. We also have incredible expert interviews throughout the book. However, I wrote this book and I’m really proud of that. I wrote this book, not somebody else writing on behalf of me, not somebody writing and putting my name on it. I wrote this book, and it is the physical manifestation of this movement of our hard work.

Tori Dunlap (12:48):

Honestly, the best fucking birthday present you could give me is pre-ordering this book anywhere you get your books. The title, Financial Feminist: Overcome the Patriarchy’s Bullshit to Master Your Money and Build a Life You Love. I love that subtitle. One more time. Financial Feminist: Overcome the Patriarchy’s Bullshit to Master Your Money and Build a Life You Love. I’m so excited. I am so excited. In reflecting on the past year on my birthday, it has largely been colored and influenced by writing this book. When I think about how this book got actually written, how this book got done, I think about all of the locations I’ve written this book in. I wrote part of this book in my original one bedroom apartment, the same apartment I grew Her First $100K in. That was in Seattle.

Tori Dunlap (13:40):

I packed up that apartment to travel. I wrote part of this book in Ireland. I wrote part of this book in France, in a Tuscan Villa in Italy. I wrote this book on airplanes to and from New York, Los Angeles. I wrote part of this book in New York and Los Angeles. I edited part of this book in Hawaii. I edited other parts from my new house in Seattle that I literally just signed the leaves on a couple weeks ago. This book is a global book, both in its content and also literally because I’ve written it in so many different places. When I think about the last year, a good chunk of my time, both personally and professionally, especially my headspace, was dedicated to finishing, to writing, to editing, to making this book the best it could be. It was also something that I treasure the time that I spent researching this book, learning more, challenging myself.

Tori Dunlap (14:44):

I have become so much more aware of frankly systemic oppression, but like the depths of our financial system through the research and writing of this book, how money affects women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people, how money affects us differently. I learned a lot of that from researching and putting episodes together for the podcast. But I really learned it for the book because something about writing a book feels incredibly personal. This podcast obviously is a huge personal endeavor for me, but of course, I have team members at HFK who help make this podcast happen. Something about the book though, it’s so unique specifically because not only, again, is my name on it, but I’m telling personal stories. I’m talking about my own personal experience navigating these issues.

Tori Dunlap (15:44):

I’m also reckoning with personal finance education, financial feminism, in a society that isn’t focused on feminism, unfortunately, and isn’t focused on amplifying women and other minority groups. When I reflect on the last year, I reflect on how this book has changed me as a person, not just about how it was like pulling teeth sometimes to actually get words on the page and how I feel incredibly accomplished for writing this book, but also how I hope I’m a better feminist because of it and how it’s forced me to reckon and settle with my own privilege. And also, how to give you the best finance advice, the best way to navigate a financial system in a way that isn’t, of course, shameful or judgemental and acknowledges systemic oppression and talks about various issues that people are going to face.

Tori Dunlap (16:47):

You will hear more about this book to come, more about what’s in it. Imagine if this podcast, our Instagram, our TikTok was a book full of rich detail, full of step-by-step actionable advice, full of stories you’ve never heard from me, full of expert interviews, a glossary with really easy definitions for a lot of these complex jargony financial terms. This book is not just a finance book. This is the self-development book that every single feminist needs in order to use money as a tool to build the life that you want. And now in my 28th year, I am just so thankful for you all. I am so thankful for your support. You have changed my life and will continue to change my life and continue to confirm for me why this work is so god damn important, because I’ve seen you all use this work and use this advice to change your life.

Tori Dunlap (17:53):

I’ve seen you take the advice from this podcast and the advice that will be in this book to escape abusive or toxic marriages. I’ve seen you use the advice to pay off thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars of debt. I’ve seen you negotiate 2,000, 5,000, $30,000 raises. I’ve seen you be able to take the vacation that you’ve always dreamed because you’ve been able to save enough money. I’ve seen you have simple wins, like increasing your credit score 30 points, or saving your first $1,000. That is the power of financial feminism. Because when you have money, when you have resources, you have choices. You’ve heard me say it a million times. When you have money, you have options. This book is my manifesto for all of that. I so as always appreciate your support of the Financial Feminist movement.

Tori Dunlap (19:01):

And on my birthday, I would love, love, love to have you pre-order the book, wherever you get your books. There’s a link in
the show notes. And if for whatever reason that is not in your budget at this time, tell your friends about it. Get it from your library when it comes out. And yes, it is available in both a physical book, as well as an audiobook. Yes. Read by me. I’m not going to let anybody else read this book. I wrote it. I’m reading it, and an e-book. If you’re a Kindle reader, if you’re an e-reader kind of person, it’s available for pre-order all of these different places. Thank you. Thank you for your support of the show. I can’t wait for you to read this book. I cannot wait for you to read this book. All right, have a great rest of your week. I’m going to go drink a mimosa or some shit and sit out by a pool and maybe get those like obnoxious Instagram balloons and a little 28 thing.

Tori Dunlap (20:00):

You know what I’m talking about. I will talk to you later. Thanks as always for being here, Financial Feminists. We’ll catch you next week.

Tori Dunlap (20:09):

Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K Podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap. Produced by Kristen Fields. Marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Olivia Coning, Cherise Wade, Alina Helzer, Paulina Isaac, Sophia Cohen, Valerie Oresko, Jack Coning, and Ana Alexandria. 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 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.

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