Archives for November 2020

Working Moms Will Run Biden’s All-Female White House Communications Team

hugh margot joe biden

Six out of seven members of the all-woman team are moms of young children.

The incoming White House communications team is groundbreaking for several reasons—here’s why it matters.

Chrissy Teigen’s Call to ‘Normalize Formula’ is Just What New Moms Need to Hear

Audrey Kingo Pumping

The celeb got real about her breastfeeding struggles, and it’s so damn relatable.

The celeb mom shared her breastfeeding struggles in a relatable Twitter thread.

How Tori Dunlap Is Using TikTok to Teach Financial Feminism

In one of Tori Dunlap’s most popular TikTok videos, she calls out her male University of Portland classmates who never thought she’d be this successful.

“To all the finance bros at my college — this one’s for you,” the video caption reads. “What are you going to do with a *theatre* degree?

For a moment, Dunlap looks thrown by the question. Then she drops the act. She smirks as she points to a list of accomplishments popping onto the screen.

“Become the youngest manager at my company.

“Quit my day job and go full-time entrepreneur.”

At the end of the video, the fingers Dunlap’s been using to point to her various achievements go down. She throws up her two middle fingers instead.

The 26-year-old founder of Her First 100K, a money and career platform for millennial women, currently has 5 million likes on her TikToks as of November 2020. She credits being a communication and theater major with teaching her both how to be a good storyteller and deal with setbacks.

“For theater, it’s like you’re hearing 99 ‘no’s to one ‘yes,’” Dunlap said over a video call from her home in Seattle. “So you’re constantly going in and trying to pitch yourself or pitch who you are — your story or your talents — and then also being OK with hearing ‘no.’ I think that that’s a lot of what theater taught me, putting yourself out there and sometimes getting turned down, and getting back up and doing the thing anyway.”

After graduating in 2016, she moved back to her home state of Washington to be a social media marketing manager. Within two weeks, she knew the 9-to-5 life wasn’t for her.

So, she started a side hustle. She founded Her First 100K, a website dedicated to helping women become financially independent. The name reflected her personal goal of saving $100,000 by the time she was 25. Technically, she reached that goal when she was 25 years and 3 months old.

How She Became an Entrepreneur at 9

Dunlap started her first business when she was 9. At the suggestion of her money-conscious dad, she started purchasing candy vending machines. She had 15 machines by the time she was in high school. All the proceeds went to her college fund, which is part of the reason she doesn’t have any student loan debt. After 11 years, she sold that business to a 10-year-old girl.

Her journey to save $100,000 was her next biggest financial milestone, but a much more complicated one. She found a new job and negotiated a salary that was $20,000 higher. It seemed less than perfect, but she got more money. But the extra money turned out not to be worth it.

“I had a boss who was not very supportive,” Dunlap said. “It was just really a toxic work environment, so I ended up having to quit after only 10 weeks without another job lined up, and then I spent three months unemployed looking for my next job.”

For the next three months, Dunlap had no idea if she’d make her $100,000 goal. She lived off her emergency fund and wasn’t sure how long she’d have to stretch it for. The anxiety was worth it. She learned that loving life was worth more than a $20,000 raise.

Dunlap eventually found work as a digital marketing manager. But in November 2019, she left her day job to focus on Her First 100K. In her first eight months of full-time entrepreneurship, the venture made $250,000 in revenue.

How She Became a TikTok Money Expert

Dunlap’s audience finds her via seven digital platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn and her website. Her favorite platform — and the one she’s found the most success on — is Instagram, but in mid-July, she decided to make her personal TikTok account into a space for sharing her best money and career tips.

With video titles such as “Things you should NEVER do in a job interview” and “How I made $37K in July working four hours a day,” Dunlap amassed 400,000 followers and earned $60,000 in revenue on TikTok in six weeks.

Dunlap is a marketing professional, not a financial adviser, so it’s fair to wonder how she can call herself a “money expert” on TikTok. She said it all stems from growing up with a dad who used to renegotiate the family’s cable bill every six weeks.

“I got a masterclass from my dad,” Dunlap said. “I watched him do that and I wanted to feel confident doing that… I say to my clients that negotiation is a muscle. So the more that you can do it, the more confident you’re going to feel.”

A woman holds a phone while standing in the middle of downtown.

One of the best moves she made early on was using the app’s live function to answer people’s questions. That was a simple way, she found, to build trust and credibility through direct communication. In addition to answering basic personal finance questions, she’s then used the app to promote her online courses so people can learn more. She has affiliate partners that have started to switch over to TikTok as well, so she’s excited about future monetization possibilities.

Dunlap also follows TikTokers who aren’t in the personal finance space and are doing interesting things with trends. Then, she’ll “kind of do that trend, but with the personal finance spin on it.” She does this most often with sounds that go viral on TikTok, such as a “Stop Complaining” remix of Ariana Grande’s “Successful” that she used in a video as a dig at money management expert Dave Ramsey.

Her best advice for anyone interested in making money off their TikTok is to watch plenty of videos first. “I understood what worked and what didn’t just because of what I consumed,” she said. “So I didn’t just dive in.” She’s also learned that just like on Instagram, hashtags are huge on TikTok — especially when you’re first getting started. She recommends researching hashtags and then testing them until something sticks.

Dunlap gets her fair share of haters. “I posted a video that apparently people did not like,” she said. “I was just wearing a dress and I didn’t have a bra on and people roasted me for it. People really were like, ‘You show too much cleavage’ or ‘You don’t have enough cleavage to show,’ just objectifying my body. So it’s a constant battle.”

But Dunlap knows she’s providing value to people. “I know because I get messages literally every day from women saying I’m changing their lives,” she said. “So that’s what I focus on.”

Niki Kottmann is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Home Gifts to Make Your Surroundings Cozy

As we’re all spending more time indoors this year, sprucing up our surroundings brings some extra needed comfort. This holiday season, shop for your friends and family  from our 10 deals on home gifts that will bring warmth and even a little luxury to their abodes.

10 Home Gifts to Dress Up Decor

This list includes tools, sheets, cleaning equipment and more to help you keep your home cozy.

1. 25-Piece Flashlight Toolbox Set

A toolbox is the ultimate housewarming gift. This set consists of a seven-inch flashlight that opens up to reveal a 25-piece set of tools for home repair. Save 72% and get it for $24.99 — that’s about a dollar per tool!

2. Sleepletics Celliant Performance Sheet Set

There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep, and this sheet set is optimized with premium mineral-infused Celliant fabric and cotton to restore the body throughout the night. These sheets are designed to promote blood flow and regulate body temperature for better sleep, faster recovery and increased energy. Regularly priced at $149, the set is available now for $99.99.

3. JASHEN V18 350W Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

While cleaning may not be the most fun part of keeping a healthy home, it’s definitely one of the most important. This smart-cleaning vacuum is on sale for $189.99 (regularly $350) for a limited time.

4. LUFT Cube Portable Filterless Air Purifier

This small, stylish cube will reduce indoor air pollution and keep your home smelling fresh. Get it for $109.

5. Tucker 16.5″ LED Desk Lamp

Perfect for reading or late-night work sessions, this desk lamp offers six levels of brightness and warm light. You can get it for $54.99.

6. Saniwise Bidet Toilet Seat with Dual Nozzles

The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 isn’t the only reason to get a bidet. This device, available for $89.99 (regularly $132), is easy-to-install and perfect everyday luxury.

7. Plug N’ Heat Personal Space Heater

Stay warm and cozy throughout the cold months with this safe, efficient and stylish personal space heater. It’s on sale for 58% off, knocking the $79 price tag down to $32.99.

8. The Luxe Pillow®

Treat yourself and your loved ones to true sleep luxury minus the allergens with this waterfowl feather pillow. It’s available for $129.99.

9. Voluspa Sparkling Rose Reed Diffuser

Spread notes of rose infused with sparkling wine into your home with this Voluspa diffuser. You can get it for $34.

10. Serta Sherpa Electric Heated Warming Mattress Pad

Bring coziness to the next level with a heated Serta Mattress Pad that will provide comfort and therapeutic relief to your entire body. Regularly $129, it’s on sale for a limited time for $79.99.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

How Biden’s Tax Changes Could Affect Your 401(k)

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We knew even before the election was over that whatever the outcome was, it would have an effect on our finances. And regardless of who won, some people would fare better than others.

Our retirement savings are not exempt from that, so we took a look into how proposed tax changes from President-elect Biden could affect your 401(k) — and what you can do to make sure you get the most out of it.

Current Retirement Savings Tax Benefits

As the current tax code is written, people saving for retirement in a 401(k)-type plan are able to contribute and watch their savings grow tax-free. When they take out their money in the future, they’ll pay taxes then, and they’re subject to tax benefits based on their income bracket. Higher tax brackets receive higher benefits and vice versa.

For example, someone in the highest income bracket — 37% — will receive $37 in tax breaks for every $100 they contribute. Someone in the 10% bracket will receive $10 worth of tax breaks for every $100 they contribute.

About two thirds of the $200 billion available for workers’ retirement benefits each year goes to the top 20% of earners, according to the Tax Policy Center. And the way the tax code is currently written has often deterred middle-class workers from contributing more to their retirement funds. Biden’s goal with this plan is to address the inequality in retirement benefits.

Biden’s Proposed Changes to Tax Benefits

Under Biden’s Plan, new tax benefits are proposed to be equalized across the income spectrum — with some analysts suspecting the number to be around 26%. This will allow lower-and-middle-income workers to benefit from the tax breaks given when they contribute to their retirement. But it will lower the tax benefits that people in higher tax brackets currently enjoy.

For example, someone who makes $40,000 a year and contributes 10% of their income to retirement savings, currently gets a $480 tax credit. Under Biden’s proposed plan, they would get $1,080 in tax credit.

But someone making $200,000, also contributing 10% of their income, currently gets a tax credit of $6,400. With Biden’s proposal, they would get a lower tax credit of $5,200.

Another proposed change is to provide a tax break for small businesses who provide a 401(k)-type savings program for their employees. So people who haven’t had access to an employer retirement program would be able to save for retirement that way, a problem that has disproportionately affected lower-and-middle class workers.

What You Can Do About Retirement Savings Right Now

It’s important to remember that a proposal is just a proposal until it makes its way through the House of Representatives, the Senate and eventually to the President’s desk for approval. Parts will be added, removed or changed while our government finds a compromise — so don’t get your hopes up (or down) based on this plan.

That being said, it’s important to remain focused on your savings, regardless of the outcome. Keep contributing to your 401(k) as much as your budget will allow. All it takes is a few hundred dollars a month to get you to hundreds of thousands (or millions!) when you retire.

If your budget needs some breathing room to accommodate your retirement contributions, consider cutting unnecessary costs. You’re likely overpaying for your monthly bills and could save nearly $1,000 each year if you made a few switches. An easy place to start is with your car insurance.

A free website called Savvy will help you find the best rates — in just 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826/year.

All you have to do is connect your current insurance, then Savvy will search hundreds of insurers for a better price on the same coverage. It’ll even help you cancel your old policy and get you a refund from your current insurer. Best yet: This is totally free.

If you find a better deal, you can switch right away and don’t have to wait for your next renewal or even your next payment.

By taking that found money from switching insurance carriers and putting it into your retirement savings, you could make a real impact on your future. And if your employer matches your contribution, that could be an extra $1600+ in your retirement account each year.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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