Lauren Simmons was the youngest full-time female trader on Wall Street when she was only 22-years-old – and now, she makes $650,000 a year as an entrepreneur.
When Simmons started as the second female African-American trader on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), she was making just $12,000. However, after four years, she left Wall Street to craft her own brand and find success as an entrepreneur. Now, at 27-years-old, she's an author, producer, podcast host, angel investor, and advisor on track to make $1 million in 2022. Her speaking engagements, brand partnerships, and collaborations with streaming series such as Click-to-Invest's “Going Public” are her primary sources of income.
Simmons told CNBC that her mother was the one who taught her financial responsibility at a young age. Living by the philosophy that one should save 85% of one’s income (even while she made $12,000 per year), she was able to open her first brokerage account in Spring 2020. As her earnings fluctuate each month, she makes sure to pay for base, recurrent expenses, such as rent, in advance. She also shies away from cryptocurrency and told CNBC that for her, it remains "highly speculative." Additionally, she makes her physical and mental health a priority by journaling, meditating, and exercising each day.
Simmons is also cautious about investing after learning from other NYSE traders, and has cultivated a financially conservative mindset. However, she emphasizes the importance of pushing yourself to pursue a career that might be out of your comfort zone. As someone with no financial background, she studied for the Series 19 exam on her own to pursue a career as a stockbroker. Despite friends and family's skepticism, she passed and joined the NYSE.
"Go after what you want," she told CNBC. "Apply for the job — you have no idea what lies behind the door. And if you don't get the job, it's OK. Apply for the next job and move forward."