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Friday, September 29, 2023

How I used Empower’s tools to reach my goal of saving $100K by age 25

How I used Empower’s tools to reach my goal of saving $100K by age 25

Tori Dunlap

How I saved my first $100K

Last fall — after over three years of work — I successfully completed my goal of saving $100,000  by 25.

Saving money has always been one of my biggest priorities. I owe that mindset to my parents, who made sure I had strong financial education at a young age. I started my first business when I was just 9 years old, and I put all the profits into my college tuition fund. Starting to learn how to save at such a young age gave me the foundation to meet the ambitious goal of saving $100,000 by age 25.

I’ve been very lucky, and I’ve also worked really hard. I graduated college without student debt by paying for large chunks of it with my own money and merit-based scholarships, and also having parental assistance. When I wasn’t in class or studying, I was working.

When I started my first corporate job after school, I was also growing my then side hustle – and now full-time business — Her First $100K.

My goal was to save $100,000 before I turned 26 years old, after reading about someone who had done something similar. I wanted the freedom and security that kind of money allowed. And knowing I wanted to eventually be my own boss, the money was my ticket to quitting my steady job to run my business full-time.

When I first set the goal, I wasn’t 100% confident that I could actually accomplish it. And when I had to quit a toxic job in early 2018 — without another one lined up — I thought it might be over. Not only was I not able to save money during my 3 months of unemployment, I was also spending my emergency fund.

But I rallied back, getting a job I loved and growing my side hustle into a business. I was able to hit that goal nine months early, largely due to:

  • Consistent investing into my tax-advantaged retirement accounts
  • Being able to track my investing progress through the Empower Personal Dashboard™

It takes a lot of sacrifice, hard work, and responsibility to maximize earnings. Being able to graduate without student debt gave me the confidence and drive to meet my savings goal on time.

Now, as a money coach and speaker, I constantly tell my clients to invest for their future selves in retirement and visualize their finances to help them along the way. It’s valuable to see your hard work paying off by getting a complete picture of your personal finances. The Empower Personal Dashboard is the tool that I used daily to keep track of my journey to my first $100,000.

If you can see it, you can do it

It’s true that Empower’s dashboard lets you track your net worth. Beyond that, you can use this tool to help visualize your monthly savings goals. It allows you to set goals, and cross reference your monthly budget to ensure those goals are attainable. The tools also recommend how much money you may need to be setting aside to meet your goals.

Until becoming a full-time entrepreneur, I always had a side hustle. Although my 9-to-5 salary was decent, it would not have allowed me to reach my $100,000 savings goal.

By using a visual financial dashboard like Empower’s, I was able to understand how much more I needed to be earning to meet my goal. I had to work an extra 15 hours a week, earning on average between $20-40 per hour.

Saving at least 10% of what you earn for retirement = less stress

I invested tens of thousands of dollars from my side hustle into different retirement accounts and an additional percentage from my 9-to-5 paycheck.

Investing for retirement can be confusing, especially with so many options out there. If your employer offers financial consulting, take advantage of it. But if not, Empower’s free tools can help you, too.

For instance, Empower has a retirement tool that can help forecast how much money you’ll need in retirement and adjusts outputs based on your goals. Bonus: the tool also estimates how much money you’ll pay in fees over a lifetime. Now that’s what I call service.


Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap


Tori Dunlap is a millennial money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. A Plutus award winner, her work has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, and more. An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.


Tori Dunlap of Her First $100k (“Author”) uses and recommends the free Empower Personal Dashboard™. Empower compensates Author for providing the content contained in this article. Author is not a client of Empower Advisory Group, LLC ("EAG"). Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Empower Personal Wealth LLC (“EPW”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage ( to register with Empower and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to the Empower Personal Dashboard™. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Empower and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to EPW. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Empower as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to EPW and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by EAG will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, EPW or EAG as a result of this arrangement.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites. 

Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. Investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money. 

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