Lauren Simmons is the perfect example of a story about turning tragedy into triumph. 

In an op-ed for CNBC, the history-making Wall Street trader talked about how her journey was full of twists and turns — but it was her humble origins that kept her grounded.

“One thing I’ve noticed is that, in general, most people have poor spending habits and struggle to save money. It may sound intense, but I save 85% of my annual income,” she explained.

Additionally, Lauren Simmons also went into great detail about the difference between her needs and her wants. She saves money by taking care of her housing expenses upfront, splitting the cost of “treats” (like streaming service subscriptions) with other members of her family, plus ditching gym fees and taking part in free and outdoor activities to take care of her physical fitness.

She also explained how she likes to travel — and saves money by traveling during the “off-season” instead of the peak season. Sometimes, she said, she can save up to 65 percent off airfare and rentals just by traveling during the off-season.

“Even though I went from making $12,000 to $650,000, I am very clear about my wants versus my needs and still stick to the 85% savings plan,” she said, explaining that just because her income has increased, doesn’t mean that she “lives large.”

While she’s now hosting a streaming series called “Going Public,” where she has “fireside chats” with young people about their spending and saving goals and talks to them about how they can save their money and live wisely — let’s take a look at what she’s done previously.

In the past, Lauren Simmons only made $12,000 a year

As AfroTech previously reported, Lauren Simmons made Wall Street history — and Black history — when she became the youngest full-time female trader on the NYSE. She was also the second Black woman ever to become an equity trader in the NYSE’s history.

But with all her accomplishments, she’d only made a measly $12,000/year. That works out to about $1000/month.

For purposes of understanding, the US Department of Labor says the poverty threshold for a single person under 65 is, as of 2020, an annual income of $12,880 — meaning that Lauren Simmons, a history-making equity trader on Wall Street, was earning below the poverty threshold. Even more shamefully, Glassdoor says that the average annual salary for an equity trader in the United States is more than $87,000.

“While no one was overtly racist, sexist, or inappropriate to my face, it was glaringly obvious that there was an unspoken camaraderie that I would never be privy to,” she told Business Insider last year.

Now, in 2022, it’s amazing to see Lauren Simmons thriving and paying it forward with knowledge on how to live well financially.