Geek of the Week: Tori Dunlap’s ‘First $100K’ turned into a movement to empower women financially

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Tori Dunlap. (Jon Cárdenas Photo)

When Tori Dunlap was 9 years old, she started running her own business — a vending machine company, in which she learned the ins and outs of managing machines, candy and money. She rolled enough quarters over the ensuing years to contribute to her own college fund.

The financial discipline stuck with Dunlap, and by 25 she had saved her first $100,000, quit a corporate job in marketing and jumped full time into her own business called Her First $100K to fight inequality and help women achieve financial independence. It’s now a global, six-figure business and movement — and Dunlap is our latest Geek of the Week.

“Everyone can hit their first $100K, and they get to decide what that looks like,” Dunlap said. “Maybe it’s $100K saved like me, or maybe it’s $100K earned, debt paid off, invested, or something else. I’m the first to acknowledge that hitting my $100K was a combination of not just hard work and good strategies, but also privilege.”

Reaching financial independence was one of Dunlap’s biggest priorities in life, and she owes much of that drive to her parents, who made sure that she had a strong financial education. She saw her father on the phone with the cable company, negotiating the bill and witnessed her mother balancing the checkbook on the 13th and the 21st of the month. For some time she thought everyone knew how to save, invest, and negotiate.

(Photo courtesy of Tori Dunlap)

“It wasn’t until after college I realized most women are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to their money and career knowledge,” Dunlap said. “I watched female friends get paid less than their worth. I read stories online about women being denied career opportunities because they were seen as ‘less.’