13. The 3 Sneaky Patriarchal Money Myths Keeping Women from Building Wealth

April 21, 2022

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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.

Financial Feminist Podcast season 2 is here!

*Our best Cardi B impression*

…you know I took a little time off to rest, but now it’s FINANCIAL FEMINIST TIME, BITCHES (IYKYK)

Shout it from the rooftops, Financial Feminist is back and here to stay! We are so excited to bring you another season of patriarchy-smashing financial advice and some incredible conversations with interesting guests. You’re going to love our new format, and we can’t wait to present you with new episodes every. single. week. 

In today’s kick-off episode, host Tori Dunlap revisits the why behind financial feminism, and gives you an ~exclusive~ sneak preview of her book, launching later this year with Harper Collins. We hope this episode gets you in the zone and excited for our next episode of season two on Tuesday, April 27th.

Make sure to check in on the show notes every week for each episode –– it’s where we’ll be linking allll the good stuff, like freebies, resources, and more goodies you won’t want to miss.

We’re so happy to be back with you, Financial Feminists. Enjoy today’s episode, and we’ll see you back here next Tuesday for our first guest episode of season two!

P.S. Please make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already, and leave us a review on your preferred podcasting platform!

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Hi team. I’m so excited to welcome you back. Welcome back to Financial Feminist. We keep calling this Season 2. However, things are a little different around here. If you tuned into Season 1, you remember that we did about six weeks of episodes and then went on a hiatus. And we’re switching things up. We’re calling this Season 2, but really Season 2 is going to last until… we get tired or Timothee Chalamet proposes marriage. I shouldn’t say that though, because I simultaneously want the podcast to continue and also I want to be proposed to by Timothee Chalamet. So let’s not make those mutually exclusive.


I’m so excited to have you back y’all. If you’ve been following us at Her First $100K or at Financial Feminist podcast on Instagram, you know this. But the success of Season 1 was absolutely crazy, even to me who is someone who sets big goals and has every belief that hopefully the things she produces succeed. But your support, the response to the show was just absolutely incredible.


And I think more than just the production of this podcast, we saw a commitment to the movement of financial feminism. We saw a commitment to the financial feminism movement, a commitment to bettering your own financial life, not just for yourself but as a form of protest, and then using those resources and tools to help others. And that has been the most inspiring part of this, for me is seeing financial feminism continue to grow, continue to gain significance, and continue to change people’s lives.


So here’s a couple of the new things that we’re bringing into Season 2. One, Season 2 is not really going to end. We will take some breaks. We want to honor both my time and my mental health as well as my team’s. But we are going to produce six episodes a month for you all. We’ll be giving you an interview episode a week, and then every other week sprinkled in with those actionable solo episodes that you remember from Season 1.


And like I said, this is going to go on for as long as you want us, as long as you want our content. And we’re so excited to be able to give you more conversations and on a more consistent basis rather than piecing out for 10 months. One of the other things that’s going to change is we’re going to put a new twist on these solo episodes. The solo episodes are of course going to be me giving you the tangible, actionable advice you remember from Season 1. However, they’re also going to include you. You have now the opportunity to leave us a voicemail with a question, a money question or something that you’re interested in learning more about. We also want to hear your money wins, your money successes, or if you happen to see Timothee Chalamet out and about, I would like to know that information as well.


So, if you go to financialfeministpodcast.com, right under the header, you will see a link to leave us a voicemail where you could record your thoughts, record your questions. And we’ll also make sure to link this in the show notes. So in Season 1, we spent time diving into subjects like multi-level marketing, cash and bail bonds, the housing appraisal crisis sustainability, and a whole lot more. Let’s talk about what you can expect out of Season 2. We have so many conversations that we’ve actually already recorded that are coming your way around redefining masculinity, talking about diet culture, and how to build a credit score, and conversations with people I’ve literally admired for a decade about how they built their career, how they manage their money. I’m so excited for you all to hear these conversations. And as you will hear in these episodes, these are people whose work I have so deeply admired for such a long time. And it’s such a cool moment for me as an individual to be able to have these experiences of interviewing these people, but als
o for you to hear these conversations.


In addition, I don’t want you to just be a passive listener. I talked about this in the beginning of Season 1. In order to get the most out of the show and really the power of these stories and connecting people in all walks of life is the best part of my job. So please again, don’t allow these episodes to just passively wash over you, become an active listener.


Okay, so let’s talk about this episode. We’re going to discuss some of the financial misconceptions or the financial narratives that get perpetuated. And then specifically for female identifying, women identifying people. How do these narratives affect us? And fun fact, these narratives are straight from the first chapter of my book. So you are getting a little taste before anybody else of what my book is going to look like and what we’re going to cover.


So before we dive into the rest of the episode, I want to share incredibly powerful testimonial from last season. “I’m on fire for envisioning my financial future after stumbling across Torys podcast when I was looking for financial podcasts by women.” My why, I left an emotionally abusive marriage in 2019 to set a better example for my daughter about what a healthy relationship looks like, about what it looks like to live your authentic life, not under the control of someone else, not living in fear. And now I want financial freedom to live my life to the fullest, to keep helping people in a way that doesn’t deplete me, and to be the best mom I can be. And I want to teach my now eight year old daughter how to handle her finances so she can have what she wants in life and live it on her terms.


I hope that she’ll have a great head start too from whatever I can do to improve my finances in my lifetime. I so wish I had found female role models for financial literacy and investing earlier. But I’m going to make the most of it now. This is it y’all. This is the power of education meeting action. And I know we’re going to have so many of these stories like that one to share. And this testimonial highlights something that’s really important to remember. We cannot smash a patriarchy, we cannot build a better society without first gaining financial stability. I’ve mentioned it before. It bears repeating. We cannot help others with their oxygen masks until we put on our own. And it’s also important to remember that personal finance is about 10%, 20% personal choices and about 80%, 90% circumstantial. So once we have our masks on, then we get to help others and we get to make change at the systemic level to make the plain field even for absolutely everyone.


So one of the common things that we hear around money at Her First 100K, one of the common things that get brought up a lot are the narratives that are perpetuated to keep us underpaid and overworked, right? And you heard me talk on the very first episode about the most common narrative, which is talking about money as taboo, right? Talking about money as ghost it’s impolite and you shouldn’t do it. And we know this is a patriarchal narrative that exists to keep us playing small, right? Because the more we feel ashamed about talking about money, the more our shame lives in shadow. The more we’re embarrassed to have financial conversations, the more the patriarchy profit. So this is the first ever look into my book. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that this is the hardest fucking thing I’ve ever done in my life is write this book.


And it has been such a labor of love for myself and for my team. And yes, I did write it. We’ll talk about this a little later. But apparently what happens is a lot of people get ghost writers for their books. That’s very common. I actually wrote it. I’m so excited for you to be able to see it. It comes out later this year. You can sign up in the show notes to be the first to hear about when it goes on sale.


So in this first chapter of the book, we’re talking about all of the emotions, the psychological trauma and bullshit around money. And we’re going to break down the patriarchal narratives that keep you from becoming financially educated, financially stable, and most of all financially confident. I name five of them in the book, but we’re going to share three today with you. The first narrative, you should just know how to money. We hear this a lot, right? We are expected to just randomly understand everything about money and everything about how to manage our money. We’re expected to be financially capable but no one taught us how. And you might remember last season when we interviewed Tiffany Aliche, she had this great quote on the podcast where she said, “No one breaks their leg and then thinks to themselves, ‘Why can’t I set my own bone,'” right?


Why do we feel that way with money? Instead of offering ourselves grace and the space to learn something new, we shame ourselves because we believe that not knowing is a failure in and of itself. We have these weirdly impossible to live up to expectations when it comes to our financial education. But we didn’t come out of the womb expecting to know how to speak Italian or know how to play the tuba. So why do we expect that we’re going to understand how to avoid debt and how to pick stocks. These are skills that we learn over time with education and with consistency and hopefully shameless plug with podcasts like this, right? So regardless of your gender identity, this kind of narrative exists.


Society expects everyone to be m
agically good with money. But for men, this expectation of being good with money is coupled with education. Men are educated about money in a way that women aren’t. It is socially acceptable, not only acceptable, encouraged for men to discuss money and to pursue wealth. And we can see these conversations happen, right? On the golf course, at the bar, the online message boards like Reddit, right? Chalk full of men trading stock tips and discussing their bonuses and their real estate wins, right? We see this all the time. And then when women are told to just magically be good with money, even though no one taught us, we are then scared to ask questions for fear of seeming dumb or naive.


If you’re a member of our Facebook group, you’ve probably seen this in action. Maybe you were this person who posted this question immediately apologizing by phrasing the question, “Sorry for the stupid question,” right? Or like, “Sorry, I probably should know this already.” And then proceeding with your question. This is so common. My queen Brene Brown talks about the act of learning something new being an incredibly courageous act, right? She says feeling unsure and uncertain is the foundation of courage. It’s like Bambi learning how to walk for the first time, right? That scenery sprawling limbs and face planning on ice, right? That’s what it feels like to learn something new. And that includes money. That includes learning about money. We have to learn the ropes with money, just like we learn anything else.


We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to have moments of deep insecurity and deep vulnerability. And honestly, that’s really a beautiful thing. So don’t feel ashamed, don’t feel embarrassed if you don’t know how to money, because you were never taught, and offer yourself the grace and the mercy that it takes to learn about how to build wealth, how to have a financial conversation, how to grow your money.


All right. Let’s talk about narrative number two. It’s all about the bootstraps theory. You’ll just be rich if you work hard enough. This one is so much bullshit, right? We’ve all heard this one. It’s like the ultimate shame tactic. The expectation is work hard, save money, don’t go into debt, and then you’ll magically be a millionaire, right? Not only is this narrative incredibly hurtful, especially when you are working your ass off, but it fails to acknowledge systemic oppression, and generational poverty, and discrimination, and so many other forces that are outside of our individual control. A single mom who works two jobs but is not able to build her savings does not need to work harder, she needs financial and societal support and change. The American dream, pull yourselves up by your bootstraps narrative is bullshit. We fill its bullshitly in our very bones. Yet this narrative creeps into our consciousness.


We know it’s wrong, but we’ve been conditioned and we’ve heard it so many times that it forces us and makes us question ourselves and our self-worth, right? It’s like those moments before I go to bed and I think, “Yeah, but what if I meet Timothee Chalamet and he doesn’t think I’m hot?” Right? Just me. Cool. But we’re being gas lit, right? We’re being gas lit and lied to. And then we’re being accused of being either lazy or crazy. Poet didn’t even know it, right? If we’re told that we should just work hard in order to build wealth and then you’re working hard but the wealth isn’t getting built, then you’re questioning yourself. You go, “Am I working hard enough? Should I take on more hours? Oh fuck, if I hadn’t bought that stupid thing, I’d be out of credit card debt sooner.” You see how this is a very slippery slope psychologically. And you should scoff at this narrative. But it doesn’t mean won’t affect you. And it seeps in whether we like it or not.


And here’s the other thing. More ironically, the primary pushers of this narrative are the very people we’ve turned to for advice about money, right? Dave Ramsey, if you have debt, the only time you should see the inside of a restaurant is if you’re working there. That’s a real thing, Dave Ramsey tweeted. “If you have debt, the only time you should see the inside of a restaurant is if you’re working there.” Oh God. Right? When we’ve tried to get our financial shit together, when we’ve tried to learn how to budget and save and invest and pay off our debt, the people that we’ve trusted with one of the most intimate parts of our lives have judged us, have shamed us. We’ve turned very vulnerably for help. And a lot of the people at the forefront are shaming us for our choices, right? And perpetuating this bootstraps narrative.


And uniquely as women, these sorts of narratives especially manifest with misogynistic quotes like, the reason you’re not rich is because you buy too many lattes, right? Or you buy too many insert gendered frivolous thing here. And again, we know this is bullshit. We know that this isn’t accurate. However, it still affects us. It still affects how we view our money. It still affects not only the shame that we feel from other people but the shame we feel towards ourselves and our choices. But please know that the reason you can’t buy a house is not because you’re not working hard enough, right? It’s stagnating wages, and a billion dollar student debt crisis, and cost of living increases, and a lot of things that are outside of your control.


All right. Let’s talk about our last and really sticky narrative, which is that money can’t buy you happiness. This is really disguising the true narrative, which is that wanting money is bad or evil. So if y’all remember episode three, we were working through overcoming a lot of financial trauma, overcoming your psychological bullshit around money. If you have not listened to that episode, please go back because it is so powerful and helpful. But this narrative I imagine came up for you or would likely come up for you if you did that journaling prompt in episode three, because we are consistently told that money can’t buy you happiness or that wanting money, pursuing money, wanting to bu
ild wealth is greedy or evil.


The general statement is true, right? That buying things or consuming things is not where you should turn for contentment. I 100% agree with that. But at its core, the statement money can’t buy you happiness is false. It is completely false. It’s meant to keep you powerless, underpaid, overworked, and financially unstable. Money has topped surveys as the most stressful part of American’s lives for decades. The American Psychology Association does a stress in America survey every year, and stress around money is the number one thing that keeps coming back. And when you’re poor or financially stressed, hearing the words, “Well, money can’t buy you happiness,” that’s the most gas lighty thing someone can say.


So just as our finances are affected by our emotions and by our mindset, our finances affect our emotions and our mindset. Being broke and financially unstable fucking sucks. And these emotions range from the kind of poverty where you don’t know if you’ll have a next meal, to being in a financially abusive relationship, to having crippling student debt. So when someone says, “Well, money can’t buy you happiness,” you think, “Want to bet motherfucker?” Because money does buy you happiness. Money provides you with your basic human needs, like safety and healthy food. It provides you with the ability to rest and nourish your body and your mind and to remove toxicity from your life. Money can buy stability and choice. And that is happiness.


Here’s the thing, I don’t want a stack of government issued paper. That doesn’t get me anything, right? We’ve decided that these things have value, this paper has value. I don’t want a photo of Benjamin Franklin on a stack of some government issued tree babies. That doesn’t get me anything. I want choices. I want what money can buy me, the ability to leave a toxic situation that I don’t want to be in anymore, the freedom to start my own business, or to marry for love rather than financial dependability, or to donate to a cause I believe in, the freedom to travel around the world and work from my laptop, the freedom to take a taxi because I don’t feel safe walking home, the freedom to buy my friend’s dinner, right? I want options.


And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be rich. I’m going to say it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be rich as long as you are doing the least harm possible in that, right? That’s a great goal. Go for it. Millions of women though, the dream of wealth is a dream of freedom. The freedom of choice, choice in where you live and where you work and where you buy your clothes. And this is the other side of all of these emotions around money and all of these patriarchal bullshit narratives. Because in addition to all of the shame and the judgment and the stress they want you to feel, we can also feel pride and awe and hope and joy. And our money can provide us with choices that make us so deeply happy.


So, let’s talk about how to combat these patriarchal narratives. It’s one part education, right? One part advocacy, and all parts action. And that’s what we’re hoping to bring to you in this season. Inspiring stories, education, but mostly a call to action with both your personal finances and to work to change the system we all share a part in. Money and the choices it’s provided have brought me so much joy, and even more powerfully it’s given me confidence. I see that with every story from the Her First 100K community. I think about Kara who saved and invested enough money to build her dream house with her husband, or Liz who had to go on a second antidepressant at her old job but now makes three times her old salary by working for herself and employing others, or the amazing testimonial I read at the beginning of this episode, a woman who was leaving an abusive marriage, an abusive relationship in order to better provide financially and emotionally for herself and her daughter.


A financial foundation changes every single aspect of your life. Having money allows you to stand in your power. You’re not financially dependent on anyone. Not an employer you don’t like, not a man or a partner or your family members, not a loan provider, not a client. You don’t have to deal with toxicity in your life anymore. And for me, I can grow my business, I can marry for love, I can donate to causes I believe in, I can live and travel wherever I want when I want, because I’m not motivated by money or lack thereof. It’s incredibly freeing. And this is the feeling I want for every single person, but really every single woman on this planet. This is the feeling and the ability that I want every single woman to have in their life. And when I think about this podcast, the episodes we have coming up, that is our ethos. That’s what we’re carrying with us. The ability to better your own financial foundation, to help control the things you can control in order to then work to change the things you can’t.


I’m so excited to share this next season with you. We have so many incredible guests who share stories that are going to make you laugh and cry and hopefully change your perspective in some really surprising ways. So we are going to be back here every single week for the foreseeable future. The best way to make sure you don’t miss an episode is to subscribe, is to follow us at Her First 100K and at Financial Feminist podcast, both on Instagram, and to consume again all of our show notes, our blog posts and all of our website resources. We have links to everything in the show notes to continue your financial journey, continuing your financial education. And we will catch you back here on Tuesday for our first interview episode of financial feminists Season 2. And here’s a hint. This Netflix star might just have some of the best travel advice you’ve ever heard. Can’t wait to see you back then Financial Feminists. Talk to you soon.


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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