Lauren Simmons is a history-maker 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.
She was paid just $12,000 while male colleagues with the same job made upwards of $120,000.
Over the next four years, Simmons left Wall Street to build her own personal brand, and last year brought in $650,000 as an author, producer, podcast and TV host, angel investor and board member of several financial companies. In 2022, the 27-year-old is on track to bring in $1 million.
Simmons' income streams are impressive enough, but how she manages it all wows Kevin O'Leary, O'Shares ETFs chairman and judge on CNBC's "Money Court," even more.
Simmons credits her mom for teaching her to save 85% of her income, which she kept up even while earning $12,000 a year. "When you teach your children about saving at an early age, it stays with them for the rest of their lives," O'Leary says.
Simmons' earnings fluctuate from month to month, so she pays for some big recurring expenses, like rent, in advance.
"She knows she's got risk on income even though she's knocking it out of the park right now," O'Leary says. "But that might not be sustainable forever. Who knows? There's a lot of risk when you're looking at multiple sources of income and you're doing it on an entrepreneurial basis, so you want to be saving and investing at the same time."
Simmons says she's "very cautious" when it comes to investing, which she learned from other NYSE traders. She opened her first brokerage account in spring 2020 and refuses to spend money on crypto, at least for now. "I do believe a digital currency will be permanent and it will stay within our infrastructure," Simmons says. "But right now it is highly speculative for me."
Financial experts say cryptocurrency is a risky and speculative investment and that you should only put in what you can afford to lose. Given her financial position as an entrepreneur, O'Leary says there's "nothing wrong" with Simmons' more conservative investing mindset.
She also prioritizes her mental and physical health by journaling, meditating and working out every day.
O'Leary says this balance of work and wellness is key to success: "Everybody's got to find that special place to keep them sane because the world's a really crazy place. When you're doing an entrepreneurial job and working a lot of hours, you've got to stay healthy."
"You have to respect her because she's told her story in a very relevant, honest way," O'Leary says, adding that he's "really impressed" with how Simmons "built this incredible business around who she is."
Overall, O'Leary awards Simmons a score he's never given before: "I'm going to give her an 11."
"Everybody has setbacks, everybody has a hard time," he says. "It's what you do afterward and what you learn" that matters.
Watch the full video to see what else O'Leary has to say about Simmons' finances.