Personal Stories (Without Deck)



HFK Community Stories




When Danielle found Tori in 2020, she was desperate for financial advice catered to women. Her financially abusive marriage left her shut out of all money decisions and conversations. She had to drive 45 minutes to the bank just to see a statement for an account her money was contributing to. Danielle knew enough was enough when her daughter was born, and she realized that if she didn’t get away from her situation, she would be showing her daughter that this type of abuse was acceptable. That catalyst moment brought her to Her First $100K.

When her daughter was born, Danielle was making $21,000 a year. Upon telling her husband that in order to go back to work, she felt she needed “at least $60,000 a year” to sustain herself. He told her, “no one will ever pay you that.”

Danielle left her marriage and began a new life –– starting a business that has netted over 6-figures and given herself an income of $85,000 this year, with the goal of hiring a part-time employee alongside contractors she already works with. This summer, Danielle took her “Eat, Pray, Love” style trip, where she came face to face with Tori in Florence, Italy, completely by happenstance, and shared her story.

Danielle has developed a passion for talking about money with others in an effort to help other women in financially abusive situations. Her goal is to end the cycle of abuse and underpaid women.




Tricia grew up as the daughter of a Filipino immigrant mother, where she spent her formative years in evangelical church pews and behind the counter of check cashing and bail bonds stores. As a child, she learned that money was something that came and went –– and more often went than came. Tricia realized in her 20s that she actively resented money, which led to her freezing when presented with a life insurance check that would help change her financial future.

In 2019, Tricia met Tori through a mutual friend and attended a one-day workshop where everything finally clicked into place. That same day, she took the check that had been collecting dust and deposited it –– opening both her Roth IRA and a savings account. Since then, Tricia has followed Tori’s advice and saved over $50,000, and became debt-free. She has also quadrupled her income since working with Tori –– from making $22,000 in 2019 to now making a salary of $130,000 a year — using Tori’s negotiation tips to ask for what she was worth. After the initial nervousness of learning to negotiate, she now says it’s like riding a bike.

Most meaningful to Tricia is what she can now do with her money –– including taking care of her mother, who was diagnosed with Dementia and Parkinson’s earlier this year.

“Having the capacity to care for a sick parent without buckling under the financial pressure? If that’s not a testament to HFK’s work, I don’t know what is.”




Growing up, Kara experienced finances as landmines to avoid at all costs –– when they were detonated, the damage was catastrophic. Money was the root of her parent’s divorce, and the constant dodging of financial conversations left her feeling lost and unsure how to change the narrative in her own life. At just 16, she was almost completely financially independent out of necessity.

Fortunately, Kara found a partner who was willing to communicate openly about finances –– but they still struggled. When they found Tori and Her First $100K, they were just beginning to make ends meet almost 11 years into their marriage. Kara and her husband took the Back to Basics (Personal Finance 101) course in the late spring of 2021, and what they learned changed everything.

Kara and her husband went from barely making ends meet and a $1,000 emergency fund to saving $60,000 in just seven months –– opening their first retirement and investing accounts, and now building their dream home. After taking Back to Basics, Kara followed Tori’s negotiation advice and left her toxic, male-dominated work environment, and went to work for a tech start-up that values her input and has changed their financial life for the better. She negotiated $20,000 above the initial salary offer –– an almost 40% increase from her previous role. She now holds a senior position and is building a team of her own. 

The thing Kara loves the most about her new financial freedom? The lack of guilt associated with spending on things she truly values, like weekends away with her husband.



Moji almost didn’t take a course with Tori because of internalized shame around being an adult who didn’t know how to manage her finances. Growing up, Moji lived by the “spend less than you make” motto but didn’t have larger aspirations for her money. That changed quickly after taking personal finance 101, where she realized that to build the business and the life she wanted, she had to get better at finances. Before, she never believed that she could build her business without having a full-time job to support her.

Moji now runs a successful consulting firm where she helps businesses and government entities enact sustainable practices. She went from living paycheck to paycheck on $50,000 a year in Seattle with a drained emergency savings to running a 6 figure business with six months of income in an emergency fund — in less than 2 years. Moji recently landed a coveted contract with the city of Seattle, in which she boldly stood her ground during negotiations and received her full hourly compensation using skills she learned from Tori.

Moji also speaks candidly about her experience as a woman of color in a patriarchal society where systemic racism and sexism are still rampant and how being a Black woman has impacted every part of her financial life. She recognizes that her wealth and financial stability allow her to fulfill the needs of her community and make choices that align with her values



Fresh out of college, Giselle worked 70 hours a week, balancing a full-time job as a marketing director and building her side hustle as a content creator. Her trajectory was heading straight towards burnout, and her mental health was at an all-time low. Growing up, Giselle recognized that the scales were tipped in men’s favor when it came to financial education –– even in her own home. Her father regularly had conversations about finance with her brothers, and she was discouraged from pursuing her entrepreneurial passions. Fortunately, she found Tori and Her First $100K.

After binging Tori’s videos on TikTok in 2020, Giselle decided to make a change and immediately started paying off debt, including refinancing her car for a lower interest rate (which she has since paid off in full) and started aggressively paying down her student loans. With this new fire, she went from selling clothes in college for rent money to building a multi-six figure ($200,000 in 2021) business and completely replacing her full-time income –– allowing her to pursue her dream full-time. Giselle went from an emergency fund of $1,000 to maxing out her Roth IRA and is getting ready to set up a Solo 401K and other avenues of saving –– all while pursuing her passion for travel.

At just 23, Giselle is a perfect example of how financial education can change someone’s life so quickly and the power of that education, especially for younger generations. Giselle notes that mental health has improved –– she’s actively engaging in conversations about money with her friends and family and actively seeking accountability and community in our $100K Club.




In January of 2019, Kieryn met with Tori for the first time for a money coaching session. The thriving business she started in 2018 had come to a screeching halt when all of her consistent retainer clients dropped her in December. At the time, she had no idea what an emergency fund really was, the damage her credit cards were doing, or even how to build a budget. Kieryn grew up with the belief that money was transactional and a source of constant worry, so she’d never truly spent any time talking about or evaluating her own financial situation. 

During her meeting with Tori, she realized that money wasn’t as stiff and “hoity-toity” as she thought it would be. She came away from the coaching session with her eyes opened to new possibilities and a new confidence with her money. Kieryn was most surprised at how easy it was to understand what she perceived to be complicated and mysterious financial concepts once Tori took the time to walk her through it.

Now, Kieryn has shifted into a “mindset of abundance” where it’s no longer feast or famine –– only feast. She was able to leave a toxic job, build her business again, and cultivate more generosity in her life. She now regularly has five-figure months in her business, has been able to pay for emergencies in cash without fear, take a trip to Italy, and is continuing to grow her income as she works to save her own first $100K by age 30.




Before Lizz found Tori, she had just added a second antidepressant to her regimen. Miserable at her 9 to 5 and unsure how to change the toxic patterns she learned as a child, Lizz was at the end of her rope. When she found Tori, she discovered the truth –– that she had the power to change her financial situation. To find the courage within herself to start her own business and build a life she is truly passionate about.

One of the biggest eye-openers for Lizz was realizing that she was underpaid $20,000 a year in her government job. This started her on a path to building her own business. Lizz now owns her own successful AI/tech company, where she’s built a sustaining client base in just one year. In a year since opening her business, she has gone from making $40,000 in her previous job to making six figures. Alongside her company, she works for a tech start-up where she was able to negotiate the offer up by $10,000.

Lizz shared that the reason she loved the Her First $100K community and platform was that Tori finally made it seem possible to leave old patterns behind and start fresh –– with accessible and actionable education. Lizz is making a big move to Seattle soon, and it couldn’t have happened without what she’s learned and the business she’s grown.


Tori Dunlap

is an internationally-recognized money and career expert, and podcast host. 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 two million women negotiate salary, pay off debt, build savings, and invest.

Host of the #1 Business Podcast, Financial Feminist; author of the upcoming book “Financial Feminist” (Harper Collins); and Adweek’s “Finance Creator of the Year”, Tori’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, the New York Times, TIME, PEOPLE, New York Magazine, Forbes, BuzzFeed, CNN, CNBC, and more.

Tori now travels the world writing, speaking, and coaching about personal finance, online businesses, side hustles, and confidence for women.