This 27-year-old former stockbroker earns $650,000 a year in Los Angeles and is on her way to $1 million – Stockxpo
This story is part of CNBC Make It’s Millennial Silver series, which details how people around the world earn, spend and save their money.
When Lauren Simmons introduces herself to new people, she usually says she works in finance.
But in reality, the 27-year-old is an author, producer, podcast and TV host, angel investor and board member of several financial companies.
It’s a lot for one person, but Simmons is used to taking control of his career. She has already made history several times: in 2017, at the age of 22, Simmons became the youngest full time trader on Wall Street, and the second African-American businesswoman in the 229-year history of the New York Stock Exchange.
But while at the NYSE, Simmons learned she was only paid $12,000 while her male colleagues with the same job and qualifications earned over $120,000. From then on, she pledged never to earn less than $120,000 a year.
Simmons left the trading floor in 2018 and formed an LLC to manage all of his projects.
Over the past few years, she’s done deals on a book, a movie, a TV show, and two podcasts. Her most consistent income comes from speaking engagements (she averages two a month) and she can earn up to six figures on brand deals.
No two days are alike. Simmons works long hours and weekends, taking meetings from 3 a.m. until 11 p.m. because she works with people from all over the world. Her most recent project is hosting work with the streaming series “Going Public,” which involves filming the series herself and traveling to promote it.
In 2021, Simmons moved to Los Angeles and earned $650,000. In 2022, she is 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 budgeting for how she learned to save 85% of income, which she started doing when she was earning just $12,000 in New York City. It was barely enough to pay for transportation while she lived with her family in neighboring New Jersey, and she didn’t spend money on going out.
Simmons admits her savings strategy today isn’t the most traditional, but it works for her.
She sends all of her earnings to a savings account and, for the most part, does not touch it. She also waits as long as possible to deposit her winnings. Simmons did a few speaking deals in January, but her business manager will hold the checks until they expire, so she won’t see that income until March.
“I like my money out of sight, out of my mind so I don’t spend it,” she says.
She sometimes transfers money to a separate checking account, which she keeps at $2,000 for daily expenses. She will give herself a little extra for birthdays and holidays, but never allows herself to spend more than 15% of her earnings each month.
Although she’s made a name for herself in the financial world, Simmons doesn’t always feel like an expert. She only started investing in the stock market during the pandemic downturn of 2020. She keeps her emergency fund, savings, and retirement money in one bank account. And she shamelessly splurges on Bath & Body Works candles: “Whenever they have a sale, I’m there.”
As for managing your own money, “I think there are days when I’m decent,” Simmons says, but “I know there’s a lot to learn each time I get to a different phase. of my life.”
How she spends her money
Here’s a look at how Simmons typically spends his money, as of January 2022.
- To rent: $3,850, paid for one year in advance and includes Wi-Fi, water and parking
- Transport: $195 for car insurance and about $20 to bill her Tesla, which she leases under her LLC
- Pet: $200 for dog food and grooming
- Discretionary: $182 includes shopping, entertainment and household items
- Food: $165 on groceries and restaurants
- Health insurance: $100, paid for one year in advance
- Utilities: $43 for heat and electricity
- Subscriptions: $24 for the Hay House meditation app, Hulu and The New York Times
Simmons’ income fluctuates wildly from $12,000 to $150,000 a month, so she plans big expenses ahead of time. She prepaid a year’s worth of her rent when she moved in, for example. She pays for health insurance one year at a time and car insurance for six months at a time.
Another big constant in his budget is his 7-year-old Maltese, Kasper. She spends about $200 on him every month between grooming and pet food. “He leads a very luxurious life,” Simmons says.
Otherwise, Simmons keeps his budget pretty lean. In January, she spent $182 on shopping and entertainment, $165 on food (mostly groceries from Whole Foods) and $24 on a few subscriptions. She shares streaming service connections with her family and contributes Hulu to the pot.
Given her busy schedule, making time for health and wellness is non-negotiable. Simmons prefers hiking, yoga, and exercising outdoors — it’s a big reason she moved to Los Angeles. She meditates every morning, from 15 minutes to two hours, to stay grounded and focused.
Simmons thinks self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. “I don’t want to become this person who spends thousands of dollars on wellness because I think you can do it for free at home,” she says.
That said, she’s splurging on herself “once in a blue moon”: she recently treated herself and her mother to a seven-day trip to a wellness retreat as a gift.
Become a millionaire
This year, Simmons expects to earn $1 million from brand deals, partnerships, speaking engagements and corporate returns.
But even for someone who likes to talk about money, it’s still awkward to say it out loud.
Simmons knows only too well that when young women succeed at work, “we don’t get the same accolades as our male counterparts.” But these reminders only make him want to talk about his accomplishments and pay even more.
“That’s why we try to challenge societal norms and have these open dialogues and change people’s mindsets,” she says. She wants to eliminate the stereotype that “successful, high-earning young women brag about themselves.”
The million-dollar milestone also has great personal significance: “I was the first person in my family to graduate from college,” she says. “My family and I have come a long way, and I’m super grateful.”
Simmons could not have predicted how much her life would change from the first day she stepped onto the NYSE floor. But she still has big plans ahead of her to negotiate new projects and invest in more startups.
Considering the turning points in her career so far, it is difficult for her to say what she expects in her life in the next five to ten years. But she hopes to have an investment property in Florida and maybe a home of her own elsewhere.
“Other than that, I have no idea, but I’m excited to watch this video five to 10 years from now and see where I’m at – maybe I’m running for president.”
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