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How a finance expert saved $100,000 at age 25

Bustle’s Personal Best is a series about how to identify — then shamelessly pursue — what you really want, by learning from people who’ve done it before.

In her early twenties, Tori Dunlap set herself a goal: By age 25, she would have saved $100,000. And she succeeded, reaching her goal just weeks after her 25th birthday.

Now, at 27, Dunlap considers herself a “shameless feminist” personal finance expert, and she’s passionate about helping women with their finances, both via social media (she has 2.2 million followers on TikTok) and through his company, Her First $100K

Dunlap clearly sees this first savings goal as an important benchmark in her personal finance journey, given that she named her business after it. Here she tells Bustle how she did it.

What made you choose $100,000 as your goal?

I read an article in 2016 about someone who had a net worth of $100,000 at age 25. It’s always been my goal to start saving at a young age in order to gain more financial security, flexibility and freedom – but when I read this I thought, “Maybe I can do better.”

How long did it take you to save money?

It took me a little over three years to hit the $100,000 mark, but I did it, and by the deadline, I was 25 and only a few months old.

How did you make this happen?

I’ll be the first to admit that it wouldn’t have happened so quickly if I had had student loans to pay off, and if I hadn’t worked three jobs in college, received tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships, studies and had contributions from my parents.

The need to hustle was obvious. I worked 9 to 5 in marketing, never making more than $80,000 a year (I made $55,000 a year with my first job out of college), and paired it with a freelance work on the side, which was a contract role in social media marketing for six months.

I was working 15 hours a week as a freelancer, with my job from 9am to 5pm, but it was worth it, because my freelance income, plus 20% of my company salary, was spared. My scramble was pivotal to reaching $100,000 as I won a nice amount of money which I immediately saved up.

I have to admit, I got lucky with my first client who honestly overpaid me – the reach turned out to be less than I had imagined. Moreover, I was bold and confidently negotiated a higher rate, refusing to limit myself out of fear and not asking, in order to see what was truly possible.

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