Getting Comfy Managing Your Cash

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Manage your money with ease

Manage your money with ease

Lauren Simmons

At twenty-two, Lauren Simmons was the youngest woman and the second African American woman to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. But Simmons is not motivated to make history. She wants to educate people about the importance of financial wellbeing. She wants the industry to be more representative. And: “I want to make finances sexy,” says the former stock trader who has become an entrepreneur. “If I can empower a person, then I’ve done my job. But my goal is to be more empowering. “

Simmons was not at all interested in finance for most of her life. She had big plans to become an epigenetic. But they chose finances, she says. When she got to New York City after college, she met “anyone and everyone.” Richard Rosenblatt from Rosenblatt Securities gave her a chance and her world turned upside down. “After I got hired, I remember Richard saying, ‘This woman had the audacity to come to Wall Street and apply for a job she didn’t know about! ‘”Laughs Simmons. “But at the end of the day I think he admired it.”

“Did you respect me? Yes. Did you take me seriously as an employee? Absolutely not. But I benefited from this doubt – and asserted myself from day one. ”

With a warm smile, a sharp mind, and a strong dislike of pant suits, Simmons didn’t fit the shape – she broke it. And she knew she had to work harder than most to prove herself while her male coworkers were betting on whether or not she would pass Series 19 (a required test with an 80 percent failure rate). “It was about as much a boys’ club as it gets,” says Simmons. “Did you respect me? Yes. Did you take me seriously as an employee? Absolutely not. But I benefited from this doubt – and asserted myself from day one. “

Simmons knows that more is needed to change the culture of the industry. But she is hopeful. She has a TV show, lectures, and a film deal underway. Any project that she hopes will inspire more young minds to get curious.

Simmons recalls the time she wrote her name in the NYSE Induction Book alongside the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts and feels at odds. “It was bittersweet,” she says. “It’s crazy how we are still making history at two thousand with the first black president and first African-American vice president – that we still mark those historic achievements.”

In our conversation, Simmons went into everything from making changes to overcoming Cheater Syndrome to dealing with doubters and why we shouldn’t fear the market or the B-word (um, budgeting).

A Q&A with Lauren Simmons

Q How do you envision an inclusive culture in the financial sector? A

Twenty-seven, the year my story went viral, was the year of the woman. We had the women’s march after Trump’s inauguration, and because of that, we now have the most women we’ve ever had in Congress. Last year the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum and we are about to have the most diverse convention in history. So there are certain pockets in America that are actively changing. But there are other parts like the financial sector that don’t. And I’m tired of having conversations about the action steps. For me, it’s not about what we’re going to do; it’s about doing it. I’ve seen men come on Wall Street with no experience of getting the job – and after all, I was that girl too. But if reaching more diversity among women, LGBTQ + and colored people were a priority, it would happen.

Q How do you deal with imposter syndrome? A

As women, we are so quick to downplay our successes. We find it difficult to take responsibility for our successes. Number one, it’s about stopping the destructive self-talk. And number two, it’s about surrounding yourself with supportive people who will gather around you and indicate your greatness. It’s okay to immerse yourself in your successes – that doesn’t make you too proud or too big-headed. Men do it all the time.

Q You talked about how finance and opportunity go hand in hand – did that spark your interest in the industry? A

Being in control of your money means being in control of your foundation. Being in control of your foundation means being in control of your future. Even if you are married, you shouldn’t have to rely solely on your partner to make tax decisions. You can be just as clever as her. And we need more role models to open up the dialogue and keep these conversations going – especially with younger generations so that they too can feel included.

Q What is the first thing you tell people before they even consider investing? A

People often ask me: what should I invest in? And I tell them, if you don’t have a savings account, we shouldn’t talk. Credit card debt is also a big no-no. You shouldn’t have any other liabilities to stress about before investing. And you want to set up an emergency fund that today feels more relevant than ever. But I also want people to have fun. You don’t have to be the thrifty coupon lady, but you don’t have to keep up with the Kardashians either – I don’t even know if they’re great with their money. It’s about finding a healthy balance.

Q Tell us about the 50/30/20 rule that you obey. A

Fifty percent of your income should be used for daily expenses, 30 percent for your savings, and 20 percent for the future – at least. That is the basic idea of ​​budgeting. I am by no means frugal, but I am saving 80 percent of my income. When I started on the New York Stock Exchange people thought I was going to kill it, but I was only making $ 23,000 a year, and that’s not enough to breathe in New York. When I left, I started making significantly more money, but even then I saved 80 percent. I know this is crazy and I lived with my grandparents back then and they didn’t ask me for rent, but I was always very strategic. You can have fun and go on trips and be pampered on your birthday. But it’s important to have a budget.

They say you can break a habit in twenty-one days. Even if it takes three months, that will stay with you in the long run. Your lifestyle depends on the way you think. If your mindset isn’t there, you will always have trouble saving. And if you can start budgeting during a pandemic, you can always do so. Make it your new affirmation: I’m a good budgeter!

Q Best advice to someone who wants to invest but doesn’t know where to start? A

This is borrowed from Warren Buffett: Don’t be afraid of the market. If you have a fear-based mindset, don’t invest. You should put your money in and walk away – and not check it daily. If you only have five dollars to your name, don’t invest all five dollars. Whatever you type in, check it out every few months. But don’t be too amazed at what happens to it, because that way you will never win the game.

Also think about environmental social governance (ESG) investments. People are really starting to look: how is this company doing? Is it giving something back to his community? Does it have a positive effect on the environment? Does it have a good brand ethos and culture when it comes to diversity and inclusion? These are key factors in deciding which companies to look out for.

{“Sizes”: {“Handy”:[[300,250]]”Tablet”:[[300,250]]”Desktop”:[]}, “Targeting”: {“pos”: “rightrail”}, “adUnit”: ” / 55303442 / ros”} Q There are so many tools and platforms to choose from – do you think investing just keeps getting bigger? accessible? A

We’ve seen changes in the way people invest over the past year, and technology is putting people on a level playing field. There are platforms out there that allow you to set a minimum of zero dollars with no fees and no interest. But I want people to find out about the companies they want to invest in. Research. There are some great tools and there are some not great tools. Look for reputable companies that are able to safeguard your funds in case something should happen. Acorns is fabulous, NerdWallet is great for keeping an eye on your spending habits, and what Sallie Krawcheck is doing at Ellevest is amazing – they have a different business model that requires a minimum amount of fees. But there are other big companies that have been around for a long time, like TD Ameritrade, that offer incredible tutorials on investing and stock research.

Q Are there any resources you would recommend to someone who wants to better understand how the market works? A

Anything that you put your time and energy into will bring you something. During my first three months on the floor, I listened to the CNBC podcast and had Bloomberg in the background for two hours a day. I picked it up, listened to it and googled everything I didn’t understand. If you spend a few months understanding how money moves, you will be well equipped to make good investment decisions. No, you won’t be an expert, but at least you can make informed decisions.

Q There is a lot on your plate between the TV series and the cinema debut of your story – what motivates you? A

The representation on Wall Street and on television consists mostly of white men. I try to create an inclusive place where everyone can understand. I’m hosting the inaugural season of Going Public, a new show that allows everyday Americans to invest in IPOs while they’re watching, and I’m creating my own TV series in addition to a biopic film coming out with AGC Studios by Kiersey Clemons . But I still want to achieve a lot. Every time an opportunity presents itself, I go with my intuition. If it feels right, I’ll say yes. It has been true throughout my career. I didn’t know anything about finances when I started, but I thought, let’s try. I enjoy being the dumbest person in the room because there are so many opportunities for growth there. And if it doesn’t work, it won’t work either. But at least I can say that I tried.

Lauren Simmons is a former stock trader and history writer who has become a television host, producer, and entrepreneur. She is committed to helping people take control of their financial health. At twenty-two, she was the youngest woman and the second African-American woman to trade on the New York Stock Exchange in its 200-year history. Her successes have landed on Harper’s Bazaar’s Women Who Dare lists, Ebony’s Power 100 and Politico’s Women of Impact.

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