This story is part of CNBC Make It Millennium Money A series detailing how people around the world earn, spend and save money.
When Lauren Simmons introduces herself to new people, she usually says she’s into finance.
But in truth, the 27-year-old is an author, producer, podcast host, TV host, angel investor, and board member of several financial companies.
It’s a lot for one person, but Simmons is used to being in control of her career. She’s already made history several times: in 2017, at 22, Simmons became her Youngest full time trader On Wall Street, the The second merchant of African descent In the 229-year history of the New York Stock Exchange.
But while on the New York Stock Exchange, Simmons learned she was only being paid $12,000 while male colleagues with the same job and qualifications were making more than $120,000. From that point on, she committed to herself that she would never make less than $120,000 a year.
Simmons left the trading floor in 2018 and formed a limited liability company to manage all of its projects.
In the past few years, I’ve gotten deals for a book, movie, TV show, and podcast. Her most consistent income comes from speaking posts (an average of two per month), and she can earn up to six figures from brand deals.
No two days are alike Simmons works long hours and on weekends, and has meetings as early as 3am and until 11pm because she works with people from all over the world. Her most recent project is a hosting job with the “Going Public” live-streaming series, which requires filming the series itself and traveling to promote it.
In 2021, Simmons moved to Los Angeles and earned $650,000. In 2022, she’s on track to earn $1 million.
Simmons grew up in Marietta, Georgia, with her mother, twin brother, and younger sister. She credits her mother’s strict budget for how she learns Save 85% of her incomeWhich she started while earning only $12,000 in New York City. It was barely enough to pay the transportation while she was living with her family in nearby New Jersey, and she didn’t spend any money going out.
Simmons admits that her savings strategy today isn’t the most conventional, but it works in her favor.
She sends all of her earnings to a savings account and often doesn’t touch it. It also waits as long as possible to deposit its winnings. Simmons ended a few of its talk-sharing deals in January, but she’ll have her manager keep the checks even just before they expire, so you won’t actually see that income until March.
“I like my money to be out of sight, out of mind so I don’t spend it,” she says.
Sometimes you’ll transfer money to a separate checking account, which you maintain at $2,000 for daily spending. She’ll give herself a little more on birthdays and holidays, but she never allows herself to spend more than 15% of her earnings each month.
Even though she’s made a name for herself in the financial world, Simmons doesn’t feel like an expert all the time. You just started investing in the stock market during the 2020 pandemic downturn. You keep your emergency fund, savings and retirement money in one bank account. And she bragged unapologetically on Bath & Body Works candles: “Anytime they have cuts, I’m there.”
Regarding managing her own money, “I think there are days when I’m decent at it,” Simmons says, but “I know there’s a lot to learn each time I reach a different stage in my life.”
Here’s a look at how Simmons typically spends their money, as of January 2022.
- Leasing: $3850, payable for a year up front and includes Wi-Fi, water, and parking
- Transportation: $195 for auto insurance and about $20 for shipping a Tesla, which you rent under an LLC
- a pet: $200 for dog food and grooming
- available: $182 includes shopping, entertainment and household goods
- food: $165 on groceries and takeout
- health insurance: $100, paid for a year in advance
- Services: $43 for heating and electricity
- Subscriptions: $24 for meditation app Hay House, Hulu, and The New York Times
Simmons earnings fluctuate wildly from $12,000 to $150,000 per month, so they plan ahead for big expenses. You paid a year’s rent up front when you moved in, for example. You pay for health insurance annually each time and car insurance six months at a time.
Another big constant in her budget is her 7-year-old Maltese daughter, Casper. You spend about $200 on it every month between grooming and pet food. “He lives a very luxurious lifestyle,” Simmons says.
Otherwise, Simmons keeps its budget very slim. In January, I spent $182 on shopping and entertainment, $165 on food (mostly groceries from Whole Foods) and $24 on a few subscriptions. The streaming services share with the family and Hulu contributes to the pot.
Given her hectic schedule, making time for health and wellness is non-negotiable. Simmons prefers hiking, yoga, and exercising outdoors – which is a big reason for her move to Los Angeles. She meditates every morning, anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, to stay grounded and focused.
Simmons believes that taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. “I don’t want to turn into that person who spends thousands of dollars on wellness, because I think you can do it for free at home,” she says.
However, she brags about herself “once in a blue moon”: she recently treated herself and her mother to a seven-day trip to a spa as a gift.
This year, Simmons expects to earn $1 million across brand deals, partnerships, speaking engagements, and corporate ROI.
But even for someone who likes to talk about money, it can still be embarrassing to talk out loud.
Simmons knows all too well that when young women succeed in business, “we don’t get the same fame as our male counterparts.” But these reminders only make her want to talk about her accomplishments and pay more.
“That’s why we try to fight societal norms, have these open conversations, and change people’s mindset,” she says. She wants to break the stereotype that “successful young women who make a lot of money brag”.
The million-dollar sign holds a lot of personal significance, too: “I’m the first person in my family to graduate with a college degree,” she says. “My family and I have come a long way, and I am so grateful.”
Simmons could not have foreseen how much her life had changed since the first day she entered the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. But she still has big plans in the future to negotiate new projects for herself and invest in more startups.
Given the transformations in her career so far, it’s hard for her to say what she expects her life to look like in the next five to ten years. But she is hoping to own an investment property in Florida and perhaps a home of her own elsewhere.
“Far from that, I have no idea, but I’m excited to see this video five to ten years from now and to see where I stand – perhaps running for president.”
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