27-year-old earns $650,000 a year in LA, is on her way to $1 million

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This story is part of CNBC Make It’s Millennial Money 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 really, 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 her career. She’s already made history several times over: In 2017, at the age of 22, Simmons became the youngest full-time female trader on Wall Street, and the second African American woman trader in the New York Stock Exchange’s 229-year history.

But while at the NYSE, Simmons learned she was being paid just $12,000 while male colleagues with the same job and qualifications were making upwards of $120,000. From that point on, she made a commitment to herself that she’d never make less than $120,000 a year.

Lauren Simmons, 27, is a finance expert on track to earn $1 million this year.

Tristan Pelletier | CNBC Make It

Simmons left the trading floor in 2018 and formed an LLC to manage all of her projects.

In the last few years, she has secured a deals on a book, movie, TV show and two podcasts. Her most consistent income comes from speaking engagements (she averages two per month), and she can earn up to six figures on brand deals.

No two days look the same. Simmons works long hours and on weekends, taking meetings as early as 3 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m. because she works with people all over the world. Her most recent project is a hosting job with the streaming series “Going Public,” which requires filming the series itself and traveling to promote it.

In 2021, Simmons moved to L.A and earned $650,000. In 2022, she’s on track to earn $1 million.

Extreme savings

How she spends her money

Simmons’ earnings fluctuate wildly from $12,000 to $150,000 a month, so she plans ahead for big expenses. She paid a year’s worth of her rent upfront when she moved in, for example. She pays for health insurance a year at a time and car insurance six months at a time.

Another big constant in her budget is her 7-year-old Maltese, Kasper. She spends about $200 on him each month between grooming and pet food. “He lives a very luxurious lifestyle,” Simmons says.

Otherwise, Simmons keeps her 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 logins with family and contributes Hulu to the pot.

Given her hectic schedule, making time for health and wellness is a non-negotiable. Simmons prefers hiking, doing yoga and exercising outdoors — it’s a big reason why she moved to L.A. She meditates every morning, anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, to stay grounded and focused.

Becoming a millionaire

Looking ahead

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