100. The 10 Things Holding You Back From Your Financial Goals

July 11, 2023

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.

These common behaviors may be holding you back financially

Before we dive in –– we did it! We made it to 100 episodes! A huge thank you to everyone in our financial feminist community who listens to our show and shares it with their friends and family and coworkers and whoever else you’ve shared our content with. Back to the show notes.

In today’s episode, Tori is walking you through 10 habits or beliefs that might be holding you back from your biggest financial goals. From lack of systems to not surrounding yourself with community, these small blocks can add up to some big frustrations.

Here’s a quick sneak preview of a few:

  • Why your all-or-nothing mindset is killing you

  • How to make sticky goals (without getting TOO sticky)

  • Why you need to stop calling money “evil”

Our Community Stories

Meet Scout

Scout Morgan is an environmental scientist in upstate New York. Currently at the start of her career, she specializes in adaptability and honing her openness to learn everything she can. When she’s not outside for her job, she’s usually outside in her new garden or discovering a new (to her) public park.

Meet Irene

Irene Oseguera is a fulltime Clinical Therapist in Southern California. She also works parttime as a Medical Social Worker, and volunteers as a board member for a local nonprofit. Irene also recently started her own Hispanic inspired athletic line, called Guerra Athletics. When she is not working, Irene enjoys: traveling, hiking, spending time with dog Sophie, and reading a good book!

Meet Johanna

Johanna Albertsson is an LA-based public relations professional with a strong passion for storytelling and cultivating strong, meaningful relationships. Throughout her 7+ year career, she’s represented brands including Blue Bottle Coffee, Audi, Taco Bell, Swiffer, Lexus, Our Place, and more. Johanna specializes in media and influencer relations, event coordination, media hosting, and press copywriting. In her spare time, Johanna enjoys attending concerts and exploring the country with her cavapoo, Skjei (@skjeilavie). She graduated summa cum laude from Chapman University and currently lives in Los Feliz in Los Angeles, California.


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Tori Dunlap:

Copyright is going to get mad at us in a second. Hey, it is our 100th episode. Woo hoo. I am so excited to see you all. Krista is shaking her head at me, which means we’re having a good time. Team, I’m so excited. We could not have done this without you. We would not have hit a 100 episodes. Crazy to think that we’ve done that many episodes of this show, and I’m excited to do a 100 more if you’ll have me. I’m also about to go on a trip and some, I’m out of breath. I haven’t moved. I’m really excited. I’m just excited. It’s going to be a little loopy today. We are both celebrating, and also in honor of the 100th episode of Her First $100K podcast. We are going to dive into all of the things that are standing in your way of your own 100K, and also thanking you so much for being here.

We’re going to give you all of the action packed goodness, all of the actionable advice you know and love, while also starting with some cool in the gang and some out of breath dancing. Truly, we’re so excited and thankful that you’re here. I get a little emotional every time we record an episode thanking you all, so I’m not going to go super sappy, but please know from me, from the Her First $100K team, from our entire Financial Feminist movement truly could not do this without you, and we’re so thankful you’re here, and we’re so excited to celebrate this 100th episode. So, couple housekeeping things. One, we are running a birthday sale from July 10th, my birthday, to July 14th for our job interview package. It is our bestselling product, all about how to land a job, how to revamp your resume and cover letter, how to stand out on LinkedIn, how to answer common interview questions. We have all of that in there. And in honor of my 29th birthday, we are doing 29% off through the 14th.

So, you can use code birthday to take advantage of that. That is my birthday gift to you. You always know that the way to support the show is by subscribing, rating and reviewing. We so appreciate it, and it allows us to do a 100 more of these episodes. So, thank you, thank you, thank you. In honor of our 100th episode today, we’re doing something a little different. We’re going to do the celebrating. We’re going to offer you some actionable advice of ways that you can better your financial journey, and what sort of self-sabotaging behaviors, what sort of bad habits might be standing in your way to a 100K. But, most importantly, we’re going to hear from you. Producer, Kristen, did some incredible interviews with Financial Feminist listeners, with members of the Her First $100K community about their financial wins, about their money journeys, and so interspersed, you’re not just going to be hearing from me, but you’re going to be hearing from real life people who are trying to navigate this financial capitalist hellscape just like you, and their tips and tricks along the way in addition to mine.

So, when you hear other voices, that’s who you’re hearing from, and I’m really excited to try this new format as a way to celebrate this whole community as well. We’re going to run through 10 things today, 10 things that are standing in the way of your first 100K, whether that’s a 100K debt paid off, a 100K earned, a 100K net worth, a 100K saved, invested, something else, and what we can do about it. So, let’s get started. Number one, so obvious, so important to talk about, the big thing that is outside of our control, but the first thing standing in your way that it’s important to acknowledge is systemic oppression. It’s not the thing we can solve overnight. It’s not the thing that’s going to be solved for you at an individual level, but it’s really important for us to acknowledge this.

The thing that might be standing in the way of you building wealth, or you earning a living wage, or you paying off debt is the very system that prevents that from happening. The system that is including, but not limited to, the system that perpetuates racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, a trillion dollar student debt crisis, lack of paid family leave, a stagnating minimum wage, a housing crisis, a climate crisis, and a bunch of other things that we spend this entire show talking about. It’s not fun, it’s not sexy. It’s why many personal finance experts don’t like to talk about it, because it is the thing that’s outside of our control. I say in my book that in the personal finance equation, about 20% are your personal choices, and we’ll spend the rest of the episode talking about what we can do. But, 80% is that circumstantial systemic oppression bullshit that is only solved through us coming together, and protesting, and voting, and supporting legislation, and volunteering, and donating, and turning the world into the kind of equitable community that we want to see.

But, the first thing to keep in mind is that, if you are not progressing financially and you’re doing everything you can, I see you, I hear you, and all of these other factors are at play. So, give yourself some slack, offer yourself some grace. All of these things are a much bigger factor in your personal finance equation than your own personal choices. So, what can we control? Numbers two through 10. Let’s talk about number two. The second reason that you might not have hit your 100K, the second thing that’s standing in your way to progressing in your financial life is not having a plan. I know that sounds so obvious, but like I say in my book, nothing changes in your life unless you change it.

I think we get so bogged down and so stressed out when it comes to money that we just think, oh, eventually somebody’s just going to hand us a staples that was easy button, but there is no that was easy button for money. Just like there’s no that was easy button for anything you want to change about your life, or about your habits, or about your goals. Nothing changes in your life unless you change it. So, we have to have a plan, and the only way we can make that plan is understanding the lay of the land. Boop, boop, boop, poet didn’t even know it. You can’t actually set goals until you figure out what the current landscape is of your money. If you are avoiding your money, if you are not looking at your bills, if you have ostriched yourself, your head in the sand and you are not trying to p
rogress in your financial life because you’re too overwhelmed, and too ashamed, and too guilty, and too fearful, nothing’s going to change.

We have multiple episodes on this show. I have an entire section of my book about how to not only create a plan, but how to get honest with yourself about the current landscape of your finances. But, the biggest thing that might be holding you back is having no plan and having no semblance of understanding what your current financial situation is because you’re too scared to look at it.

So, before we even make a plan, if you haven’t looked at your money in a while, if you haven’t checked your debt balance in a while, if you haven’t looked at your bills in a while, if you have Nick Millered that shit that and put it in a box in the closet, this is your opportunity to get a little comfortable being uncomfortable. Take a deep breath and just start looking at it. We have this idea that it will be better. Everything will be fixed if we just don’t look at it. Your [inaudible 00:08:26] going to feel better, but ultimately you’re just going to cause yourself a lot of stress. So, create a plan, but before that, understand what’s actually going on so you can make an informed plan.


I’m Scout Morgan, and I originally heard about Financial Feminist. The short version is that Spotify recommended it to me and completely changed my life. So, growing up, my parents were solidly middle class. Both of my parents lost their jobs on the same day in the recession, which definitely impacted how I looked at money, because I was still pretty young at the time, but I was old enough to get a feel of what was going on and why everyone was so stressed. But, my mom, even through all of the pretty hard times that we had, she still took the time to go, listen, money is a tool, and if you use it, then it increases your options. So, I’ve always gone into money with that kind of mindset. Before finding Financial Feminist, I was definitely in probably the lowest part of my life. I had moved across the country within the year.

I’ve always wanted to live in New York since I was about eight years old. Honestly, when I graduated from college, it was May 2020. It was still super scary. All of lockdown was still happening. It was baby’s first pandemic. I thought the world was ending. I just went, you know what? Let’s go for it. Because, the guy I was seeing at the time suggested that I could live on his family’s place in the Catskills, which is down closer to the city. So, I said, yeah, the middle of the woods sounds great. It didn’t work out, long story short, but by the time I got to Western New York, I had ended up rooming with the boy I was dating, which is a weird situation to be in. It was definitely playing back into the money gives you options thing, because I didn’t really have a ton of money at the time, so I didn’t have a ton of other options.

By the time that we broke up and the lease ended, I did find my own apartment that I was able to afford on my own. It was very seedy, a very sketchy place. I would leave earlier for work and come home later from work just so I would avoid most of the people living in the building, which was great for overtime, but it also meant that I was burning myself out of my job because I was like, oh, I don’t really want to go home. I was having a ton of mental health issues. The job that I was working was technically in my field, so it was my first big girl job more or less, but the pay was not first big girl job pay. So, the overtime actually ended up being important for me to be able to make ends meet. I was looking for ways to get myself out of this really low point that I was in and, I guess, the Spotify algorithm picked up on that, because I suggested the podcast and as soon as I listened to the first episode, something clicked in my brain.

I was like, this is one of the biggest tools that I’m going to use to get myself out of this situation. When I was having those really hard mental health days, I would just out of instinct, listen to the newest episode that came out and I would end up getting motivated to get myself back out there on Indeed or on LinkedIn or whatever. One of the most impactful episodes for me was definitely the first one with The Budgetnista herself. I was deep in the job search. I was applying for at least two if not more jobs every single day on my lunch break. I was trying so hard to put myself out there and apply for jobs, and I would just get ghosted. I would just never hear anything back, which is super discouraging to deal with when you’re already going through it. That episode was definitely double motivation and really helpful tips to stay on the grind, and keep trying, and keep putting myself out there, because I do deserve a seat at the table. And if a job doesn’t treat me that way, then I should find something better.

I love humble bragging about my life now. So, since I had started listening to the podcast, I did stay on the job hunt. I ended up getting what I now know to be my dream job. My new company treats all of their employees like human beings, which is fantastic. I am now contributing to a 401(k). I have one, and I’m putting in 10%, and I’m really proud of myself for that. My partner and I are in the middle moving right now. We’re about to move into a house that we’re renting together, which I’m very excited about, and we are actually saving up for a down payment on a house.

One thing I would like to share, especially with anyone who was struggling to find a new job or find their place in the world, is to definitely keep on it. It’s not always linear. I had a lot of really big ups and downs in this process, and navigating through the high points and especially the low points is what gives me the confidence now to know that I can handle this dream life that I’ve built for myself essentially. So, definitely keep at it.

Tori Dunlap:

Number three, if you’re not negotiating both in your work and in your life, you are losing a valuable opportunity to get a step closer to your first 100K. We have made, again, many episodes on this show about negotiating. We will link them all down below. Negotiating your work, your pay, is what is expected. Companies expect you to negotiate. They expect to have a conversation with you about compensation. So, every time you don’t do it, you not only lose the money that you could be earning temporarily with your salary, but you lose out on your earning potential for the rest of your life. On average, women who do not negotiate lose a million dollars more over the course of their lifetime than women who do. And as I mentioned in my book, are you willing to lose out on a million dollars just to avoid an uncomfortable conversation?

Are you willing to lose out on a million dollars just to avoid an uncomfortable conversation? The answer should be hell no. In addition, there’s other things we can negotiate. We can negotiate our bills, we can negotiate our interest rate on our debt, we can negotiate to get a better hotel room when we check in for a work trip. Again, we’ve talked to many episodes about this. I have an entire chapter on negotiating in my book, Financial Feminist. If you’re still holding out from negotiating because you’re too scared to do it, I don’t want you losing any money. I don’t want you losing your career potential, your life potential because you’re so afraid of having an uncomfortable conversation. The way we get more comfortable negotiating is by negotiating in low stake scenarios. If you have children, I’ve said this before
on the podcast, if you have children, you are a master negotiator.

Oh, your partner wants sushi, but you had sushi last night and you say, hey, can we try something different? That’s a negotiation. Call Brenda at Capital One and ask for a lower interest rate. That’s a low stakes negotiation. She doesn’t know you. She doesn’t know your name. She doesn’t remember. If you fuck up or you say something weird, it doesn’t matter. Start building the muscle of negotiating. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will feel and the stronger that muscle gets. Do not lose a million dollars because you’re afraid of a little uncomfy conversation.

All right, number four, maybe you’re letting other people’s opinions be the thing that dictates your own. Maybe you’re allowing your family or your friends to dictate the kind of life that you’re going to have. I did this for many years. My parents had certain expectations of the life that they wanted for me in order to make them proud of me, and in order to please them. I made decisions that didn’t feel right for me and for the life that I wanted. And in doing so, yep, I kept my parents happy, but I was unhappy, and not just financially, personally, this is not the life I want for any of you listening. I don’t want your friends’ opinions of you showing up on social media and trying to build a business. If they think you’re cringe, too bad. You’re building a business, you’re doing something scary.

As Brene Brown says, you’re in the arena. If your family is nervous when you talk about money at the dinner table, cool. You’re bucking the status quo. On the same thread, maybe you’re so concerned about what, not just your friends and family think, but maybe you’re concerned about just what society views you as. Whether that’s a woman, a person of color, a queer person, a disabled person, there is a certain expectation of what we should be. I’ve talked about this, again, on this podcast, in my book, when women have money, when any member of any marginalized group has money, society gets really uncomfortable with that. You start getting the questions like, why aren’t you just grateful for what you have, or why aren’t you donating more, or you’re being really braggy. Because, they see you standing in your power and that makes them uncomfortable. Or maybe you’re allowing the opinions of somebody else or somebody else’s life to dictate your own.

There’s this idea of Keeping Up with the Joneses. I think the modern version is like, keeping up with the people you see on Instagram as it’s like, live the life you want to live. As long as your head can hit the pillow at night and you feel good about your decisions, that’s what matters. As long as you are doing right by people and that you are living the life that you want, that’s great. So, if others’ opinions, or perspectives, or judgment about you or your life is keeping you from building the life that you love, or if you’re so focused on trying to chase somebody else’s life instead of figuring out what that looks like for you, if you’re so focused on chasing somebody else’s success instead of determining what success looks like for you, or contentment looks like for you, or what satisfaction looks like to you, I encourage you to dig into that a little bit.


My name is Irene Oseguera and I am currently a clinical therapist out of Fontana, California, and I am 27 years old. My money story is I think pretty traditional for a lot of minority communities. We didn’t really talk about money. It was something that was kind of hush, hush. All I knew was grandma had a little stash under the bed somewhere, and she carried it around in this safe that, she still has it to this day, and everywhere we go she still carries that safe, that’s like her little life savings. I was actually raised by my grandma and my aunt. Both of my parents were drug addicts. When I was about seven years old they got addicted to illicit substances and lost custody of both myself and my older brother.

So, it’s just a little bit more of an understanding that sometimes not only cultural factors or other things, but actual family dynamics can cause a real difficulty in the way we understand finances is, like when I had met a good friend in college and she had told me her dad was paying for her housing, and her food, and all these things. I’m like, this is a thing? People do this? Do you actually have enough money in your bank account to support your child? What is this? I was 18 when I ended up at UCLA, completely unaware of how to manage loans, and my finances, and all of these things that were now smacking me in the face as an adult. I ended up getting to the point where after college, I found myself in a ton of debt, student debt. I had credit card debt accumulating itself over that time of being poor, broke college student.

And then, I got out of college, ended up at a little nine to five job, and I was like, this is not working out for me. I’m barely floating by. So, I decided it was time to really make that change. I found a better job, which increased my income, which was amazing, and then the pandemic hit. I was considered a mental health provider, so we worked in the field. I worked serving individuals that were experiencing homelessness at the time, so I was not affected financially by the pandemic. If anything, it actually helped me quite a bit, because all the money that I was earning, I had nowhere to spend it. We weren’t going out, we weren’t doing anything, so I chipped away at that credit card debt like nobody’s business, savings accounts. I finally opened my first retirement account, just really finally got the ball rolling, and within a year and a half, I had paid off my $6,000 credit card debt, and then I saved about $19,000 in just various savings accounts.

When I originally started off getting into the financial education and knowledge space, I came across Dave Ramsey. It was the very first big person that I encountered that was doing personal finance. I bought his book and I was reading through this thing and watching his videos religiously. To a certain degree, I did feel like it helped me. It helped me get an understanding of finances in a way that I had never experienced before. I started realizing something doesn’t feel quite right, especially coming from a Hispanic family, being a second generation. So, now having this person tell me that if you inherit money, I’m like, who inherits money? That’s a thing? All these millionaires that he’s interviewing, they’re being extremely frugal, and they don’t buy birthday gifts for their friends. I’m like, that’s not me. That’s not my culture and how I grew up. So, it felt like there was definitely a disconnect between what he was teaching and how it could apply to my life in particular.

I started listening to the podcast. I put the book on order immediately. And then, when it did come out, I just really felt like even though Tori isn’t somebody from my community in particular, I felt she respected the differences in other people’s communities and backgrounds, and she understood that she does have a privilege that other people don’t. So, it really did help me to understand and bring a more full cultural understanding to my finances and how it would work best for me, not this is a cookie cutter plan. You’re just going to take it and run with it. I actually did invest in starting my own business to be able to be my own girl boss. We work for other people and we do the job that we’re told to do, but being able to step outside our comfort zone and actually be able to do the things that we want to do, we dream about. I think it’s highly needed to have people that ar
e there to encourage us to do that.

The thing that I would say to other people starting their journey in their finances and trying to get themselves set up is really be patient with yourself. Unless you were born into this world, you really weren’t taught how to do these things, so have some grace and some space for yourself to really be able to process each step and start small. We often compare ourselves to other people, and it’s extremely difficult to manage those expectations, so be kind to yourself. Reach out for support, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talk to people, communicate with others, ask friends that you might not have thought that they’re doing the same thing, and feel comfortable starting those conversations. That’s what I think is really important when you start this journey.

Tori Dunlap:

Number five, maybe you’ve believed the narrative that a finance Chad needs to save you. I just gave a workshop about this this week, but we have been actively told that money is intimidating, and scary, and that we don’t have enough knowledge about any of this to do it ourselves, so we believe that somebody else needs to do it for us. We have been told this for two reasons. One, we have been told this by the multi-billion dollar finance industry. The multi-billion dollar industry that is Wall Street and traditional finance has told you that money is too scary, has told you as a woman or as a member of a marginalized group that money is intimidating, so that they can make money managing your money. But, as I mentioned in my book, mentioned on this podcast, they are bad at it. Only 25% of professional stock pickers outperformed individuals who invested for themselves in diversified investments.

I’m going to say that again. 75% of you are better at investing than even the professionals. They’re building a multi-billion dollar industry off of telling you basically that you’re too dumb to understand, and we know that’s fucken bullshit. And number two, if they tell you it’s too intimidating, if they tell you it’s too scary so that you hand over your money to a Wall Street, Chad, you don’t do it. If you’re told it’s too scary, if you’re told investing is scary, and gambling, and you can lose all your money, you don’t do it. So, the very people who are gate keeping wealth, the patriarchy, right? The patriarchy has the money and the power, and the more they tell you it’s scary, the more that they can gatekeep it, the less money, therefore, you will have and the less power you have. So, you definitely need somebody to help you.

This is really complicated. I’m here to help. There’s many people out here who are here to help, but don’t believe a 100% of the time that you need somebody else to do this for you because you’re scared. That is a lie that you have been fed. That is a lie you have been fed to prop up this multi-billion dollar traditional finance industry and to make sure that the patriarchy stays in power. Next one, maybe you don’t have any accountability. Maybe you don’t have a community to support you. One of the reasons that I was so public about my own 100K journey, right? Her First $100K, yes, is this financial media company, is this feminist company who talks about money, but the impetus around it was, yes, all of those things, but also my own journey, my own journey to save a 100K. And when I went public with it wasn’t just to build a business, it was also to keep myself accountable.

It was to hopefully walk the walk and talk the talk around, let’s have conversations about money. Let’s not make this as taboo, but it was also so that I could stay accountable towards my goal, and that maybe I could inspire other people around me to set similar goals, and maybe we could build this community of support for each other. That is fucking powerful. As a group of women supporting each other, nothing more powerful. So, maybe that is sharing your pay with your coworkers, being transparent about your salary. Maybe that is showing up in our Facebook group. We have an entire free Facebook community that literally has multiple posts a day from people all over the world talking about money. It’s entirely free. We’ll link it down below. Maybe it’s a book club around my book or another personal finance book. Maybe it’s a DEI group at your company.

Finding community is really, we are biologically wired to do it as human beings. We need it as human beings. And if you have communities for other aspects in your life, but you don’t have a community to talk about money, to talk about your career, to talk about the debt, to talk about all of the wins and concerns that you have about navigating this financial journey, I would encourage you to find it. We’ve created a community here at Her First $100K that is shame free, judgment free, jargon free, finance bro free, and I would love to have you join it if you haven’t already.


My name’s Johanna Albertson. I’m a PR director based in Los Angeles, and I’m 29 years old. My relationship with money was always very contentious. Growing up, there was a lot of sensitivity around money. There were definite moments where I felt like, and other, because people around me had more things, I felt left out. I specifically remember an early memory where I went to the mall with my mom and really wanted to get something from Abercrombie, because that was the hot place to get your clothes, and she straight up told me, we can’t afford that. One of the things that impacted my finances greatly was my father’s role in our house as the seeming head of our financial future, but giving some advice that was not even factual. It wasn’t something that was accurate to the realities of money.

One thing in particular that I remember was I was filling out my very first W-2 form for my first job out of college, and I called my dad for some financial advice and he said, for me to claim seven on my W-2. And I was like, oh, well, that doesn’t make sense, because I don’t have a child. I don’t have these other things, so why would I do that? And he explained that’s how I got the most money back on my taxes, so that’s what I should do. I hung up the phone and my boss is next to me and she said, please don’t do that. That’s not accurate. I started finding out more about money out of true necessity. I was not someone who moved to Los Angeles and had parents that could help me with rent or anything like that, so I was really navigating my personal finance future alone.

There weren’t a lot of resources to help me do that effectively, and I found myself leaning on a lot of friends to be transparent, asking them for advice. My best friend actually made me a budget spreadsheet for the first time, and I use that same template to this day. I was a former Dave Ramsey person, and I am so glad to have found Financial Feminist to get me out of that, because there’s also other realities that are not accurate, like not needing a credit score, where I had a credit score of 540, because my dad had forged some financial forms in my name and had tanked my credit.

I didn’t even know what a credit score was, and the first apartment I applied for told me my credit score was 540 and I wouldn’t be approved. Having to find that out and then luckily to be grounded in some of Tori’s reality is like, you do need a credit score. And being able to recognize what that is and build myself back by getting a secured credit card, making sure my payments were hit on time, and then building myself back up to now a credit score of 800. So, there’s things that have happened through this podca
st and before or through friends that have absolutely changed my financial future, and I could not have done it without them. I think it’s so easy to feel hopeless, especially as someone who’s young just graduating, feels like they have no resources at their disposal, that they’re always going to be four steps behind. Just wanting to share that, there’s such a strong community around you wherever you need it.

So, just not being shy about asking for help, because there’s people in your life. It might not be your direct parent. In my case, it was an uncle that helped me and stepped in with some great advice, but it could be a friend or a neighbor. So, not being shy about asking for some advice and a leg up in order to reroute yourself and get your footing, because it just takes that one person to want to help in order to completely set your path in a different direction. I would also say too, don’t let your financial situation or seeming lack of knowledge set you back from doing things that would make you happy.

An example that I have is, I got my dog when I was 24 and I was in a better financial position than I was when I was say 22, but the positive mental health impacts like getting like a dog had on me absolutely helped me succeed in ways that I didn’t even think about when I was getting him. The ability to budget better, knowing his interests are under my responsibilities now, and also just being able to have that extra positivity and encouragement. So, finding ways in your budget to add in those different things that can bring value to your every day I think is something that you should make space for. It’s not always just about that scarcity. You have to do things that will also bring you joy along the way as you build yourself up.

Tori Dunlap:

Number seven, what might be standing in the way of your 100K is this all or nothing mindset. Your all or nothing mindset might be killing you. It might be killing you. You might be thinking, I can’t pay off debt until I invest. You might be thinking, I can’t spend any money while I’m trying to save this emergency fund, or you might be thinking, I have to cut out everything I love, everything that brings me joy, these small luxuries, because I am not worthy of them, I don’t deserve them, and also I need to save that money. We’ve said many times on this show, I sound like a broken record, but here’s the thing, diets don’t work. 99% of diets don’t work, because the more you tell me I can’t have fried chicken, the more I fucken want fried chicken, and that is not a willpower thing. That is a literal psychology thing.

If you tell me I can’t have something, guess what? Not only do I want it, it is also not sustainable. So, there’s a reason we put the word crash before diets. It’s because they’re not sustainable. It’s not sustainable to cut out all joy from your life, and nor is that fucking fun. It’s also not sustainable to follow folks like Dave Ramsey who tell you that you need to have all of your debt gone before you start investing. Again, I literally just gave a free workshop. We also have a replay to that workshop. I’ll have Kristen drop it below. But, one of the common investing misconceptions is people say, oh, I need to have all my debt gone before I start investing, not necessarily, and it might be costing you millions of dollars.

If you are trying to pay off your mortgage entirely before you start investing, you are actually wasting time and you’re losing out on money. This all or nothing mindset, this feeling of, I have to scrimp and deprive myself in order to achieve my financial goals, it’s just not true. It’s not sustainable. It’s not fun. It’s not accurate. It’s not going to actually get you to your goals. It’s just going to make you miserable, and it’s going to cause you to sabotage yourself later. Number eight, maybe you don’t even know what you fucken want. When I interviewed Ramit Sethi for my book, “When I ask people, what is your rich life? The most common answer I hear is, I want to do what I want, when I want. I’ll usually respond with, that sounds great. So, what do you want? Silence.” What’s really going on here is that, most of us have never spent even 20 minutes truly articulating what our rich life is.

If anything, we’ve articulated what we don’t want to do. When I ask that question, instead, I’m looking for vivid rich details. When they say things like, I want to travel, I ask, where do you want to go? What seat on the airplane are you choosing? What do you want to eat for your first dinner in Italy? Who do you want to take with you? Tell me about that. So, if you don’t know what you truly want, how are you ever going to get there? This goes back to having other people’s opinions or lives dictate the life that you want or you think you want. Truly, what do you want? If you have not asked yourself, what do you want? Not just out of your money and not just out of your day to day, but what do you want your life to look like? What time do you wake up?

Like Ramit said, what time do you wake up? Who do you talk to? How do you spend your day? That is so powerful about every aspect of your life. You will show up better in your career. You will make changes in your relationships, both with your friends, with a partner, with yourself. You’ll demand better out of every aspect of your life, and you will start to realize that this one beautiful crazy life is all we get. If you don’t know what you want, I need you to discover it. We have many episodes that can help you figure that out. But, the first thing like Ramit says, is to start picturing, I want to travel. What does that actually look like? What does that taste like? What does that feel like? What does a typical day look like for you? Sketch that out. Again, what time do you wake up?

Do you commute into work? Do you go to work at all? Do you work from home? Do you work for yourself? What city are you in? What do you eat for lunch? How many hours do you spend working? How many hours do you spend somewhere else? Do you have hobbies? What hobbies are those? How do you take care of yourself? How do you go outside? Are you taking walks? Are you going to the gym? Are you going to workout classes? Are you spending time with your children and your family? What does that look like? Who is by your side in bed at night, if anybody at all. What does that look like for you?


My name’s Katie. I am 25 years old. I currently live in Virginia, but I’m actually from Florida, and I work in the nonprofit sector. I came from a pretty fairly tight belt situation. I always held onto my money really, really tight, and I’m still working through that to be like, you don’t need to save every penny. I had parents who would educate us fairly well on money, but I know that they were going through some kind of difficulties when we were growing up, including the 2008 housing collapse. I had always been really appreciative of all the things that they gave me and that I knew that they worked for. So, going to college, I knew where all of that money came from, because it came from them. Moving forward into adulthood I was always very conscientious of my finances. I knew how to save, and I was really good saver, but I didn’t know what a Roth IRA was and how to save that kind of money.

I also knew that I was going to go into the service sector and the nonprofit sector, which is notorious for lower wage jobs. Being able to be adaptive to that and still build a life that I could have values-based spending and build a life that I still want in a job that I want to. I started li
stening to Financial Feminist about a year ago and helped me pay down any kind of debt I had. I didn’t have a huge amount of debt, but I was operating under the assumption that you had to keep a little bit of credit card debt to raise your credit score, so my credit score got higher. I started saving for retirement, which I didn’t think that I was at the age to start doing. I’ve been able to connect to a lot of the different episodes to the work that I do, realizing the impact that financial literacy does have on people that we serve, specifically women, being able to connect that a little bit more to our work.

It’s a really neat field to be around, very skillful and passioned women. If you’re interested in getting involved in the nonprofit world, or if you’re interested in contributing to nonprofits in a way, I would say the best way to do that is to reach out to your local nonprofits and see what they need. If you want to do a giving circle, or if you want to do donations to really think locally, they’re the ones who are going to need your most help, and they’re the ones who immediately impact your community, and there’s a lot of really good ones out there.

I think it’s really helped me kind of be more stable in my own finances and pursue things that I didn’t think that I would either be able to pursue or decide to do. The biggest part is being able to step away from a situation that you don’t want to be in, which I was lucky enough to be able to do. I was at a job that just didn’t work for me, and I felt really bad the whole time I was there. I’ve had enough in savings to be able to make a transitions. Be kind, be flexible, and focus on the things that you value in your life and the kind of life that you want to build for yourself.

Tori Dunlap:

Number nine, in companionship with this all or nothing mindset, your goals might be too sticky or not sticky enough. This concept of sticky goals I talk about in my book, but basically it’s this idea that when you set, especially financial goals, they need to be a little sticky, meaning that you don’t get everything you want, but you’re not depriving yourself. So, if I am setting a goal where I want to make sure that I can spend money on eating out because I love food, and that is my life, I love spending money on food. A good sticky goal means that I’m not going out to eat for every meal. I’m not going out to eat for even most meals, but I am saying, I don’t get to go out to eat all the time, but I am also never not going out to eat.

There has to be a balance there. Your goals need to be a little bit sticky. That you’re not giving yourself everything you could have ever wanted, but at the same time, you’re not depriving yourself. Maybe your goals right now are too sticky. Maybe they offer you no freedom, no flexibility, no permission to spend money on the things you actually love. Maybe they’re too sticky or maybe they are not sticky enough. You are spending a lot of money on things you don’t really care about all the time. And you make good money, or at least are being strategic, but you have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Your goals should just be a little bit sticky.

And finally, number 10, money has no morality, and I need you to stop treating it like it does. What might be holding you back from your 100K is this perception that money or the pursuit of wealth is immoral, that people who pursue money are greedy or bad people. Here’s the thing, money is a stack of government issued paper. It is a stack of Benjamin Franklin’s face on some tree babies. It has no inherent morality. It is neutral. Now, what you do with it is where the morality starts coming in. There are plenty of people out there with money who are doing fantastic things in the world, who are making a huge impact and also taking care of themselves, and there’s plenty of people out there who have a lot of money and who are Bond villains, who are terrible.

The goal is not push away money, hit the bail button, because money will make me a bad person, or the pursuit of wealth is a bad, wrong thing, but instead to unabashedly pursue wealth as a form of protest, because here’s the thing, women, people of color, LGBTQ folks, disabled people, us having money is a form of protest in a society that does not want us to have it and does not feel comfortable with us having it. Because, when women have money and other marginalized groups have money, we get to change the world to be a more equitable, joyful, pleasurable, safe place.

That is the feeling I want for every single one of you listening. That’s a feeling I want for you, yes, you listening. And when you get that, and when you start to achieve that, you start to open up doors, open up opportunities, open up this bullshit capitalist system so that we can start changing it. My book ends and begins with the same quote which is, when you have all you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence. It’s this idea of you taking care of yourself, of using money as a tool to build a life that you love and feel safe and content with, so that you can start inviting people to a table, start helping people build their own table, and start tearing down the fences everybody else has built. Money is not morally good or morally bad. It is neutral. What you do with it has the power to change the world, either for the better or for the worse.

If you are believing that money is inherently bad or that the pursuit of money is wrong, or tacky, or gross, I need you to know that that is another lie you’ve been fed so that you don’t pursue it, so that the people who already have the money and the power get to continue having the money and the power. What’s holding you back from progressing in your financial journey might be your own self-sabotage, which is completely understandable, completely normal. I see you. Money is a tool. That’s it. Money is a tool to build the life that you love, and to create a world where everybody gets access to joy, and safety, and pleasure. Team, those are our 10 things that might be holding you back from achieving your first 100K or from progressing in your financial journey. I want to thank all of the Her First $100K/Financial Feminist community members who shared their story, shared their wins.

We literally just shared them so many times on our Slack channel with our internal team, because we were just, it’s so lovely to hear from you. We have an ability for you to leave us a voicemail. Any of these stories inspired you, if any of these tips around building your 100K struck a chord, called you out a little bit, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave us a voicemail. Truly, after a 100 episodes, I am so proud of Financial Feminist, the show. I know I speak for Kristen and the rest of our team when I say, we are so thankful that you support it, that you’re here week after week, that you share it with your friends and share it on social media and use it to actually make an impact in your life. It truly means the most to us.

And through your support, we can do a 100 more and a 100 more after that and keep giving you hundreds if that’s what you’d like. So, thank you for being here. I hope you’re having a great day, a great summer. Thank you for being here. Happy 100th episode, and I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap, produced by Kristen Fields, marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Sophia Cohen, Kahlil Dumas, Elizabeth McCumber, Beth Bowen, Amanda Leffew, Masha Bachmetyeva, Kailyn Sprinkle, Sumaya Mulla-Carillo, an
d Harvey Carlson. 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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