Smart Money Podcast: How I Got Here: Tori Dunlap of Her First $100K

Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, the place we reply your real-world cash questions.

This week’s episode is devoted to an interview with Tori Dunlap, founding father of the weblog Her First $100K and the “Financial Feminist” podcast.

Check out this episode on any of those platforms:

Before you construct a finances

Track all of your spending at a look to grasp your tendencies and spot alternatives to economize.

Our take

Think about cash as a device to get what you need from life. For some, which may imply shopping for a home. Others could be completely content material dwelling in an condo and spending their cash on journey and eating out. Understand that the way you direct your funds is a mirrored image of what you worth. Once you recognize what you worth, you’ll be able to set concrete targets to your life and your funds. From there, you’ll be able to construct the habits that may allow you to obtain your targets.

Saving some huge cash at an early age isn’t straightforward — and even attainable for many individuals. While the privilege of not having pupil loans made saving $100,000 attainable for Tori, realizing one of the simplest ways to economize helped, too. And leveraging monetary know-how is one thing that anybody can do. Start by studying tips on how to save for retirement and which financial savings accounts could be greatest for you. And then dig into your finances to see how a lot cash it can save you month-to-month. Building up an emergency fund and retirement financial savings might help you climate monetary challenges and set your self up for fulfillment sooner or later.

If the monetary business feels unfair and stacked towards you, that could be as a result of it’s. Inequity is baked into many features of the non-public finance house, from gender pay inequity to the racial wealth hole. But taking the time to study one of the simplest ways to handle your cash — together with getting began with investing, saving cash and constructing wealth — might help towards leveling the enjoying subject considerably.

Our suggestions

  • Know your targets: Understand what you worth and how one can make monetary targets that replicate what’s essential to you.

  • Save, save, save: Building emergency and retirement financial savings are paramount to having a wholesome monetary life.

  • Understand the larger image: You aren’t managing your funds in a vacuum. Know the way you match into the broader cultural and social context of monetary inequity.

More about managing cash on NerdWallet:

Episode transcript

Sean Pyles: Welcome to the NerdWallet Smart Money podcast, the place we normally reply your cash questions and allow you to really feel a bit of smarter about what you do along with your cash. I’m Sean Pyles. You could have observed that I mentioned “usually” there, as a result of it is a completely different form of episode. This is the primary in a brand new collection known as How I Got Here, the place we discuss with people who’ve constructed their monetary lives and, in a way, made it. For some context, I’ve all the time discovered it actually useful to study from different individuals’s experiences and errors. It’s that entire studying your classes the straightforward method versus the arduous method type of factor.

This episode, I’m speaking with Tori Dunlap of the “Financial Feminist” podcast and the weblog, Her First $100K, the place she presents private finance recommendation with a patriarchy-fighting, feminist bent. She additionally has wonderful TikTok and Instagram accounts the place she doles out tremendous useful private finance recommendation, typically in meme format. In this dialog, Tori and I are going to speak about how she obtained to the place she is at this time, the teachings she realized alongside the way in which and how one can enhance your funds with the purpose of creating the world a extra equitable place. So Tori, welcome onto the Smart Money podcast.

Tori Dunlap: Thank you a lot for having me. I’m so excited to be right here.

Sean: Well, I’m so excited to have you ever. So Tori, we will speak about how you bought to the place you’re, however let’s begin with the place you are actually. So the place are you geographically, financially, personally? Where are the vibes proper now?

Tori: Yeah. Oh my gosh. A number of change for all of us up to now couple of years, however particularly for me. I’m presently in Seattle, however in three days I will probably be in Los Angeles for a month. I’ve been doing the digital nomad factor since August of final 12 months, of 2021. So, I went to Europe for 2 months with my greatest pal. I’ve been in Seattle — that is my residence base — for the previous couple months, after which I’m off to LA after which New York after which most likely Europe once more.

Sean: How do you handle that with having an condo or a home?

Tori: The reply is I do not. I simply lease Airbnbs and yeah, I packed up my condo in August. My lease was up, and I put all of my stuff in storage aside from a pair Tupperware containers and a few suitcases. I’ll go away my automobile with a pal after which I’ll go to Los Angeles for about six weeks for some work tasks, after which I’ll do the identical in New York. And it has been actually enjoyable. I’m not married. I haven’t got kids. I do not personal a house. That was the right time to do it.

Sean: OK. It makes it lots simpler.

Tori: Although I need a canine very badly.

Tori: That was the right time to strive it out, and I do not need to do it for longer than this 12 months. I really feel like a 12 months and a few change is sufficient.

Sean: Right. But when else would you be capable of do it?

Tori: Exactly. And the cool factor about proudly owning my very own enterprise, and particularly it being such a digital enterprise, is I can run this enterprise from wherever I’m. So, I used to be writing my ebook for HarperCollins out of a Tuscan villa that was on a vineyard.

Tori: Yeah. I used to be doing that in October. Just been so cool. And I discuss lots about how I would like cash for the alternatives that it presents me. Having a stack of government-issued paper would not do something for me, proper?

Sean: It’s the chance you could create for your self.

Tori: Yeah, it is the alternatives. And I believe we’re informed, particularly as ladies, that you simply should not need cash or that wanting cash is grasping or unhealthy. And the reality is, I would like the choices and the alternatives that cash should purchase me. And I believe it is so wonderful that I’ve been in a position to see that change in my very own lifetime of changing into financially unbiased to the purpose the place I can reside my life how I would like. I can go the place I would like. I can spend cash on the issues that I like. I can donate to causes I consider in. I can present up for myself and for others, not solely financially, however now as a result of my funds are steady, I can present up in each different side of my life.

Sean: It sounds such as you’re in an incredible place financially, personally and who even is aware of the place you’ll be geographically by the point this episode goes reside. But you’ve got come actually far up to now few years. You graduated school in 2016, is that proper?

Tori: Yeah, that is right.

Sean: So, describe to me the place you had been again then in all of those completely different realms.

Tori: Yeah. So, I graduated school in May of 2016 and I believed I needed to do company advertising and marketing for my profession for my life. I had this very grandiose imaginative and prescient of me in a pencil skirt and heels. And that is how I knew it was a fantasy, is that I hate sporting heels. So pencil skirt, heels, stomping the pavement with my little briefcase.

Sean: Yeah. This archetype of the enterprise girl.

Tori: Yeah, precisely. And I obtained into my first job out of college a pair months after I graduated, and it was nice by way of expertise however I simply — I did not like making anyone I did not respect wealthy. It was a really misogynistic work atmosphere. I had bizarre sexist feedback mentioned to me at work. I had pals who had been ladies figuring out, who had been being undercompensated and overworked. And as I used to be navigating this primary job, I believed I’d be coming into maturity and into womanhood in a rustic with its first feminine president, as I believe many people did. And in fact, that is not what occurred.

Sean: It didn’t occur. No.

Tori: Yeah. And I noticed that the monetary training I had from my mother and father — speaking about saving, speaking about tips on how to use a bank card responsibly, studying tips on how to make investments — I noticed that that was a major privilege and with that privilege got here a duty. And particularly in a rustic the place it was simply overwhelmingly apparent, much more confirmed with the 2016 election, of how a lot of a niche there was by way of information and training round cash. I actually started to see monetary training as a type of protest. And so, in late 2016, I began the weblog that later grew to become Her First $100K. So, I used to be working my 9 to 5 in advertising and marketing after which rising my enterprise on the facet. I majored in theater communication. I haven’t got a finance diploma. I technically do not also have a enterprise diploma. That wasn’t a part of the plan, nevertheless it’s 100% what I consider I used to be placed on this earth to do.

Sean: I really feel like that is really a really nice marriage. You can take the information that you simply had rising up round private finance out of your mother and father after which additionally your skill to speak in a really efficient method.

Tori: Totally. Yeah, and be capable of current it. I believe that we see this with a whole lot of finance professionals, is that they have been in it so lengthy that they do not notice a whole lot of the jargon is jargon. They do not realize a whole lot of the methods they attempt to clarify ideas is — and that is with each business. When you are in it for a sure period of time, you simply overlook that if we will speak about asset allocation, you first have to explain what a inventory really is.

Sean: Right. You lose lots of people whenever you even say these two phrases. Eyes glaze over and so they suppose, “This isn’t for me.”

Tori: Right. Or diversification — simply fancy jargon for one thing that is really tremendous easy, which I might discuss to you about for hours about why that feels so incorrect. But yeah, I believe that that is one of many the reason why we have been so profitable at Her First $100K, is de facto giving a non-judgmental, non-shaming house to ask questions on cash, to speak about cash. And in an area the place I really feel extra like I’m making an attempt to translate these cash ideas moderately than coming to you because the specialists from on excessive.

Sean: Right. You make it extra of a dialog.

Tori: Yeah. I need to make one thing that is very inaccessible, accessible.

Sean: Mmm hmm. OK. I need to get into the title Her First $100K, as a result of this goes again to the way you saved $100,000 and this occurred earlier than you turned 30. Lots of people are going to listen to this and suppose, “That’s just not something I could do,” or “She must have hit the jackpot or had some kind of help along the way.” So, are you able to inform the story of the way you saved $100,000?

Tori: Totally. And I’m the primary to acknowledge that privilege is a part of that story. So yeah, a part of the Her First $100K origin story was the truth that I saved $100,000 at age 25. And it was a whole lot of arduous work, which I’ll get to in a second, however the very first thing was I graduated with out pupil debt. And that wasn’t as a result of my mother and father wrote an enormous test. I used to be working three jobs whereas I used to be going to high school. My mother and father appreciated to joke that they attended extra highschool soccer video games my senior 12 months than I did as a result of I used to be working a job. But my mother and father had financial savings for me for faculty, and so it was like a collaborative effort the place we labored actually arduous to see if I might graduate debt-free. And so it wasn’t, once more, like they only wrote me a test. But I need to totally acknowledge that if I did not have that parental assist, or if I wasn’t even in a position to go to varsity — that is a sure privilege for me — and so, I’d’ve hit my $100K a lot later if I had pupil debt. So, I graduated debt-free. That’s the large privilege that is a part of that story.

Sean: But there are many individuals who do graduate debt-free and likewise haven’t got the main focus and willpower to actually drill down and save $100,000.

Tori: Totally, and I recognize that. Yeah. I believe it is privilege plus arduous work. So yeah, I used to be actually strategic in investing early. I opened up my Roth IRA after I was 21. I used to be operating Her First $100K on the facet, so I used to be not solely saving a reasonably good chunk of my nine-to-five earnings — I used to be additionally placing the whole lot after taxes that I created from my facet hustle into my financial savings or into my funding account. And I actually discovered a technique to be a conscious spender. I’m nonetheless dwelling in Seattle, which is a really costly metropolis, and I did not deprive myself. I believe lots of people additionally suppose, “Oh, she must have lived at home.” I did not. “She must have eaten oatmeal every day.” I did not. There was a steadiness, and I believe private finance generally is a steadiness. It does not imply deprivation. And so, I used to be nonetheless touring. I went to Costa Rica. I went out to eat loads of occasions.

Sean: Yeah. Well, I do need to dig into the phrase “balance” as a result of that is one thing that I believe lots of people wrestle with. They suppose, “Oh, I can either pay off this debt or save for retirement.” Both aren’t actually appropriate, and you actually do need to steadiness each of those priorities. So, how did you steadiness issues like going to Costa Rica, like going out, with this bold purpose of saving $100,000?

Tori: Yeah. My pretty pal, Paula Pant, says, “You can afford almost anything, you just can’t afford everything.” And I actually took that to coronary heart, and I created a plan that I now educate known as the “three value categories.” So basically, I identified the three areas in my life that I wanted the majority of my discretionary money to go. And I basically spent pretty unapologetically in those three areas, but I didn’t spend much money outside of those three because for me, if I want the return on my money — my hard-earned money — to go the furthest, I wanted to spend money on things that were going to bring me the most joy. So for you, that might be coffee, it might be makeup. I had a client — fancy cheese was one of her value categories. For me, it’s travel.

Sean: It can get very expensive.

Tori: Yeah. Yeah. But basically it was like, she could stroll into Whole Foods and unapologetically buy any cheese she wanted. I love that. So for me, it was travel, food out and nesting — basically buying plants and buying throw pillows. And so, the vast majority of my discretionary money — yes, I did buy a coffee every once in a while, yes, I did buy a sweater at T.J. Maxx if they had a crazy sale on sweaters — but it was really focused on the three things that were going to bring me the most joy. And so, this is what I do with community members and with clients is I really have them identify, OK, where do they want the majority of their discretionary or their fun money to go in a way that they can still achieve their financial goals?

They can still save an emergency fund. They can still pay off their debt. They can still invest for retirement, but they also, of course, are not depriving themselves. We know that 99% of diets don’t work. If you tell me I can’t have fried chicken, all I’m going to do is want fried chicken, right? So, if you tell me I can’t spend money, if you tell me I can’t go to eat, you tell me that that $5 latte is the reason I can’t afford a house — it’s just, it’s not accurate, right?

Sean: Nor is this sustainable.

Sean: I think that’s also so important to this, is you have to focus on your values and then create these sustainable habits that you can work at on a daily basis — maybe sometimes just a weekly basis — to continue to make that gradual progress.

Tori: And again, I don’t want you to hate your life. I don’t want you to hate your life now because you’re trying to take care of 65-year-old you. You can take care of whatever age you are now, right? You, and 65-year-old you, and the you who wants to maybe buy a house or wants to start her own business someday. You can take care of both. And so, yeah, that’s really what worked for me, is finding that way to mindfully spend on things that I loved the most and then helping other people identify those for themselves.

Sean: Well, what challenges did you encounter along the way? I’m sure that saving that money and saying no to things while, of course, saying yes to other things wasn’t easy.

Tori: Yeah. I think the biggest challenge was I went through a period of unemployment. During that $100K journey, before I had really announced it publicly, I transitioned out of that first job and into another one, and I actually took that job for the money. I was able to negotiate $20,000 more than their original offer. And I was really excited by that and that was the most money I’d ever seen. I negotiated from $60,000 to $80,000.

Tori: And I used to be like, “Oh my gosh. It’s a lot cash,” and I ignored every red flag that was so clearly obvious during this interview process because I got distracted. I was like, “OK. Well, even when it is not nice, the cash will probably be value it as a result of I can attain my $100K purpose sooner.” And then what ended up happening is I got in and the job was so toxic that I had to quit after 10 weeks without another job lined up, and then I spent three months unemployed. So, I was not only not earning money, I was spending the money that I had already saved, right? And that’s why we have an emergency fund, and I talk incessantly about the importance of that. But I had the flexibility to be able to leave the toxic situation, which was incredible. But I thought to myself, “I do not know if this $100K factor’s going to occur anymore,” because again, I was not only not saving money because I wasn’t earning money, but I was actively spending my savings.

Sean: Depleting the money you did have.

Tori: Right. And it was a decision I’m 100% glad I made. My mental health was more important than the money I had in the bank account. And again, I had that emergency fund, so I wasn’t too worried. But yeah, it was a very stressful time trying to find not just a job, but trying to find the right job next, because I didn’t want the same situation. And then doing the math of, can I still do this? And I joked throughout the process that as long as I did it the day before I turned 26, it still counts. And so I hit my $100K — I think I was 25 years old and three months. And so, it ended up — yeah.

Sean: OK. Still incredibly impressive.

Tori: No, and it wasn’t ever by 25. I didn’t want to do it at 24. As long as I had — at 25, it felt great. So yeah, I ended up getting into — what I think will be — at my last corporate job ever. And then Her First $100K kind of blew up on the side. And so yeah, it ended up working out for me where I literally hit my $100K, was on Good Morning America and then quit my job three weeks later.

Sean: Love it. How did you bounce back after you did deplete your savings? When you got that next corporate job, you had essentially a deficit because you had dug into your savings and you weren’t able to contribute as much to your investment accounts. What did you do?

Tori: Yeah. Well, I have negotiated every job I’ve ever held. And so, I teach women especially how to negotiate. When I got into that new job, I negotiated a raise, and it was less money than I was making at that other job but I was willing to take a pay cut. But I negotiated that up and then ramped up my savings. So I think at the time before, at my corporate job before I was probably saving 15% of my income. I kept increasing it. So, I’d increased it a percentage point or two pretty much every paycheck, and then just figured out how that felt. So if I automated my savings — which is a tip — if you listen to anything I say today, automate your savings. Set aside an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account so that it happens on autopilot. And so that’s what I was doing, is I was setting aside a certain percentage of money and then would increase it until it got slightly uncomfortable. And I describe it as slightly sticky. For me, it meant that I couldn’t buy everything I wanted but I also wasn’t depriving myself, and that was the happy medium.

Sean: OK. So maybe getting the pillows, not getting the sweater.

Tori: Yeah. Maybe that. Exactly. Or buying two plants instead of six, so yeah. And I think the other thing, too, was I was just earning more money in my side hustle. When it comes down to it, and of course, the systemic oppression is a huge part of personal finance. I like saying personal finance is 90% circumstances, 10% personal choices, right?

Tori: Yeah, totally, of the stuff that’s in your control. There’s two basic issues. You either have an earning problem or a spending problem, right? So, you’re either not making enough money to be able to make certain financial moves or to take certain financial steps, or you’re spending the money you do have. And so for me, I had my spending under control. What ended up happening is if I increased my income, well, cool, now I have $2,000 more to play with, or I have $5,000 more to play with. And if I was already living comfortably on what I had before, which of course — a lot of privilege in that statement — but if I was already feeling comfortable and then I was increasing my income, well, cool, I didn’t allow my lifestyle to inflate that much and then took that money and put it into an investment account. So, that was the other part of me getting back on track with my $100K goal was not only making more money in my corporate job by negotiating and doing good work in order to earn raises, but I was also running a business on the side.

Sean: I think it also helps that you knew so much about how to do this, because going back to the knowledge gap issue, so many people don’t know how to invest and get started doing that.

Tori: No — I mean, that’s my life’s work. That’s why I’m here. I did have that privilege, and I also just taught myself a lot. I was reading. I was reading blogs, I was listening to podcasts. I became obsessed with personal finance, and I used to think that was so nerdy to say out loud but I saw it as such a powerful tool, especially for any marginalized group. For me as a woman, I now am living a life that I don’t even know if I fully dreamed about. I didn’t know if this was completely possible. And I’ve seen, even on a micro scale, what happens when you give women actionable resources and financial guidance in, again, a non-judgmental safe space. Everything changes. When you give. When we give.

Sean: It can completely change their lives.

Tori: Yes. Yeah. And we get literally messages. It’s going to make me cry. I can’t talk about this without crying. We get messages every 10 minutes from a woman somewhere in the world that our advice is making a difference in changing her life. And that’s why I do what I do. And so, I think when we get money into marginalized groups’ hands, everything starts to change. And it has to be coupled with that actual systemic change. So it’s not only, how do we give you resources to learn how to pay off debt and to learn how to save money? But also, how do we call our representatives? How do we vote? How do we donate to causes we believe in? How do we protest and how do we couple not only personal growth and personal finance, but also with systemic change?

Sean: Yeah. I think that’s a really interesting point because there’s such a strong, still to this day, bootstrap mentality in the face of structural issues of vast inequality between the finances of different genders and people of color in marginalized groups, and you can’t pull your way out of that. There needs to be a balance of systemic change and also providing information and resources to people so they can better their lives.

Tori: Yeah. And that’s what I really think financial feminism is, is seeing, again, money as a form of protest. And not only using these tools to better your own money and to better your own life, but then to go out and share this information and change the systems to be more equitable.

Sean: Yeah. Well, that brings me to a question that comes from your podcast. So in one of your episodes you say, quote, “The very act of getting your monetary stuff,” censored word there, “collectively is feminist. Having a strong monetary basis in and of itself is an act of protest towards a corrupt society,” which I think is a very bold and true statement. Can you tease apart what you mean by this?

Tori: In a society or a system that oppresses you and does not want you to have money and does not want you to have choice and wants to actively control you, the easiest way to do that is to tell you that talking about money is taboo. The easiest way to do that is to tell you, “Well, investing’s not for you. Investing’s only for males,” or, “Investing’s too intimidating, so do not do it.” Right? Or, we were talking about this just a second ago, “You will probably be wealthy for those who work arduous.” These are all narratives that we’re told, and we believe, that actively keep us oppressed. They’re patriarchal narratives that silence us and therefore, they profit off of our silence. So if this society or system is telling you, “Well, do not speak about cash as a result of that is taboo,” you’re going to be underpaid and overworked, right? Or if they’re telling you, “Well, you simply must work arduous and then you definately’ll be wealthy and then you definately’ll be financially steady,” and then you work hard and that doesn’t happen, well, of course you feel awful. Right?

Sean: And you’re taught to blame yourself for that.

Tori: Exactly. And so for me, again, any marginalized group — women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, disabled people or neurodivergent people, any group that is marginalized — society actively does not want you to have money because they don’t want you to have choices. Because if you don’t have money and if you don’t have that financial stability and those choices, you can be controlled.

Sean: Right. Well, I mean, I think the example of people on Medicaid not being allowed to have more than $3,000 in assets is a perfect example of this. It keeps people in poverty because they have some sort of disability or other need.

Tori: Right. And when you learn that 99% of domestic violence cases have some sort of financial abuse tied to them, this is so obvious, right? A perfect example of if you’re in an abusive relationship, your finances are probably also being controlled, so it’s not just the physical or emotional abuse. It’s also the financial abuse because we see so many, especially women but again anybody can, and of course, horribly be in an abusive relationship. But the biggest reason that somebody is not able to extract themselves is they don’t have the financial resources to do so. So when I think of these kind of examples, it’s so obvious to me that this is the key to bridging those equality gaps of how do we give these marginalized groups not only resources, but money and support? Both a societal standpoint but also from a governmental standpoint, how do we give these marginalized groups support in that?

And so again, I’ve said it already three times, but that’s what I believe I was put on this earth to do. It’s so obvious to me. This is my life’s mission because we see firsthand just the amount of confidence and the amount of life-changing impact that just having an emergency fund has, and not living paycheck to paycheck. And it’s just, it’s incredible what ends up happening in every aspect of somebody’s life when they are financially stable.

Sean: Mmm hmm. What do you see as one of the most effective ways people can begin to get their financial stuff together?

Tori: Yeah. I mean, I said it before but automating your savings, even if it’s just a really small amount of money. I think a lot of us think, “Oh, we’d like a ton of cash to speculate,” or, “If we will not save greater than $20, we simply should not do it.” And the answer is, I need you to save something if you can, even if that is $20 a month, or maybe that’s $100 every quarter. Even starting small is absolutely massive. And setting that up on autopilot so you’re not waiting to do it last. Plenty of people wait till the end of the month to save money and then they look at their account and they’re like, “Where the hell did my cash go?” Right?

Sean: Yeah. It’s the idea of paying yourself first.

Tori: Exactly. And that’s what we say in the personal finance community, right?

Tori: And if you are giving Netflix more money than you are giving future you, I need you to give yourself the $14. And that doesn’t mean cancel your Netflix subscription but it’s like, if you are paying Netflix or Hulu or I don’t know, HelloFresh, more money than you are paying yourself, you are worth that money. You are worth that financial stability.

Sean: One thing that’s been super helpful for myself and for a number of people that I know is setting up what we call savings buckets, which is essentially, you have automated contributions to different savings accounts with different goals. I have one that is just a fence fund for a fence around my house. Pretty boring, but it helps me save for it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t want to put aside money every month to do it. But then I have my fund money and my emergency money, and even my life-happens money, which is for lesser emergencies, and the money goes into there before I even see it in my regular debit account. And I see it grow every month, and it’s nice to watch that happen, but I kind of don’t think about it as my money to interact with. It’s there if I need it, but otherwise I’m not going to touch it.

Tori: Right. And that’s exactly what I tell folks. You can name your savings accounts. So instead of 24601, it’s a lot easier to name your savings account after the goal. So, maybe it’s Croatian vacation 2023, or yeah, new fence fund, right?

Tori: Or emergency fund. Psychologically, we know that if you attach meaning to it you’re more likely to want to save money and you’re less likely to take money out, in the same way that actually moving your savings to another bank that’s slightly separate from your everyday money. Again, it’s easily accessible. You can access it if you need to, but it’s less tempting to move money back and forth. That can also be hugely impactful.

Sean: Oh, yeah. When I first got started saving, I can’t tell you how many times the three- to five-day buffer of not being able to move money from one account to the other prevented me from actually moving those funds. So, I want to touch on something you talked about earlier, which is negotiation. I think this is something a lot of people are thinking about and wondering how they can leverage it, especially in the face of the “Great Resignation” and people finding new jobs right now. You were able to negotiate some pretty hefty salary increases. Can you talk about how you approach negotiations, particularly job negotiations?

Tori: Negotiations are collaborations, not conflicts. We go into negotiations thinking we are going to have to fight to the death and unsheathe our sword and battle it out, and it makes us very negotiation afraid, right? It makes us very fearful of that. At the end of the day, you are just having a conversation. You and this other person are on the same team trying to solve the problem of you not being compensated fairly. And you’re a great problem solver. That’s probably why you deserve more money. You solve problems probably every day at your job. And so, all you’re doing is you’re working with your boss or your potential boss to find a solution to the problem of you not being compensated well. And so, you are on the same team. You’re not on opposing teams. You’re not trying to fight each other. It’s a collaboration, it’s a back and forth. It is not a conflict. So, that’s the first thing.

The second thing is that the two of the most valuable things in a negotiation, and the two things you really need to demonstrate: your data and your value. So the data is, what are other people getting compensated at for a similar role? And we can start with places like Glassdoor. Payscale is another great one. They’re also from Seattle, so I like repping them. But go even further than that. If you can, have conversations with colleagues. So, I worked in marketing. If I’m trying to negotiate for a marketing job, I’m talking to previous bosses. I’m talking to recruiters. I’m talking to other marketers that I’ve met at networking events. I’m asking them, “Hey, primarily based on what you recognize and primarily based on my expertise and my abilities and what you recognize about me,” and then I’ll hand them the job description and say, “What do you suppose I ought to be compensated at with this function?” Or, “Based on these abilities and primarily based on these necessities for this job, what do you suppose this function ought to be priced at?”

Because Glassdoor, Payscale — again, great places to start, but you are a three-dimensional person and we need to see all of your skills and your certifications and your years of experience in a way that just typing “social media supervisor in Seattle, Washington” is not going to exactly give you. So, you need to come armed to these negotiations with data because you’re talking to very data-driven people. You can’t just be like, “I would like $1 million as a result of I believe I deserve $1 million.” We all want $1 million. You have to come with specific data of what you should be compensated at based on what the market’s saying. So, that’s the first thing, and then the second part is your value. It’s obvious, but what value are you bringing either to this new organization or that you’ve brought over the past six months, a year or two years? And at the end of the day again, you are showcasing why you deserve to be compensated at this rate. And so, if you can showcase ways that you’ve saved the company money, ways that you’ve brought the company money in, ways you’ve contributed to the company culture.

Sean: It seems like you’re saying that it can be helpful to think holistically about everything that you’re bringing, beyond your day-to-day job functions that are in your job description.

Tori: Totally. And especially, I hear from a lot of younger people who are like, “Well, that is my first job out of college. I can not negotiate,” or, “I’m switching jobs or altering careers or altering industries,” and the answer is you can 100% negotiate, should negotiate. You just might have to get a little creative on what you demonstrate as value.

Sean: There’s also nothing wrong with going to a new job if that’s the best thing for you. It’s been shown that for people, especially early on in their career, they can get the biggest and most rapid salary increases by going to a new position rather than waiting for years where they are.

Tori: 100%. I really appreciate you saying that because especially I see women and people of color being on the short end of the stick, is that this whole concept of loyalty, right? Unfortunately, a job is not loyal to you. They will lay you off. They will fire you. They will cut your hours. Although, of course, you want to show up and do good work, I need you to have the same ruthlessness of — if a job is no longer working for you, I need you to find something better, whether that’s negotiating a raise at your current job or finding a different job. And yeah, the whole staying in one industry or staying at one job for decades, that just doesn’t happen anymore. And you’re exactly right, where you have more power when you’re first coming into a job than you ever will, even if you’re there for 20 years. You’ll have more negotiating power when you’re coming into a new job than you will ever have again, so take advantage of it.

Sean: Great. Well, Tori, thank you so much for talking with us. This was awesome.

Tori: Thank you so much for having me. This was a great conversation.

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