Tori Dunlap is changing the way millennials think about money. She is an outlier in a generation saddled with student loan debt, and often struggling to make financial progress.
Dunlap, 25, set an ambitious goal for herself right out of college — save $100,000 in three years. Here’s how she did it — and how you can, too.
It’s All About Priorities
The first key to her success, Dunlap says, is focusing on her priorities. She lives by the motto “You can afford anything, just not everything.” When she started tracking her spending more closely, she realized she was spending on many different categories — clothing, dining out and travel. She picked one, dining out, as her occasional splurge and ditched the rest.
Next she focused on growing her money by investing. Dunlap opened her first Roth IRA at 22-years-old because she knew the importance of compound interest. Since then, she’s been able to max out her Roth IRA contribution every year, and even open up a separate non-retirement investment account.
Graduating without student loan debt also helped Dunlap start her financial journey off on the right foot. Though her parents contributed significantly to her college education, she also worked several part-time jobs to contribute about $30,000 to her tuition and other costs.
Dunlap’s Tips For Financial Success
In addition to investing early and developing a budget that works for you, Dunlap also suggests making savings automatic. Even if it’s just $20 or $50 a week, setting up direct deposit to pull money from your paycheck and put in a savings account makes the process simple and easy. It also makes saving something you don’t even have to think about because it happens automatically every month.
Dunlap also suggests negotiating a higher salary during job offers, and asking for raises during performance reviews. “Negotiating, while scary, should be a collaboration, not a confrontation,” she writes on her Instagram. After achieving a 20 percent pay increase at her first job, she negotiated $20,000 more and then $10,000 more at her next job.
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of a side hustle, Dunlap says. While working first full-time job, Dunlap also offered social media marketing services on a freelance basis, diversifying her income and raking in thousands she could immediately stash away.
Dunlap now helps other millennials reach their financial goals with tips on budgeting, saving and investing. While saving $100,000 may seem daunting to most, Dunlap wants other millennials to know it’s possible.
~Here’s To Your Success!
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