In 2017, Lauren Simmons earned just $12,000 a year as a full-time trader at the New York Stock Exchange.
She’s come a long way since then. Now 28, Simmons is an author, producer, podcast and TV host, angel investor and board member of several financial companies. She made $650,000 in 2021 and is on track to bring in $1 million this year.
But that doesn’t mean she’s always been good with money. “In order to get into a good place with my personal finances, I had to be bad with it,” she tells CNBC Make It.
“In order to be good with money, you have to be bad with money — period.”
If you’re trying to develop better financial habits, start by coming up with money rules that work for you, Simmons says. Here are three she follows.
1. Wait to make big purchases
Before buying anything over $100, Simmons waits three to six months. “I have to make sure, am I impulsively making this purchase or do I really want this purchase?”
That gives her enough time to visualize if she can live without it or not. After waiting a few months, if “it’s something that you really want and you see that can incorporate it into your life, do it,” she says.
2. Don’t be afraid to check your bank account
“I can’t be afraid to see what is in my banking account,” she says.
If she can check her account without fear, “I can feel good on a week-to-week basis of where I’m at with my money and my finances, and where I’m growing.”
Simmons notices that people are usually the most afraid of this rule. Seeing how much you spent can be anxiety inducing, especially if you feel that you went a little crazy on that weekend trip to California or bought a new TV for your apartment.
But, “the more you can be honest with yourself and not have those fear-based emotions about what you’re spending, how you’re spending and really just check in on what your spending habits are, the better it is for you,” she says.
3. Readjust your investments as needed
Simmons checks her investment accounts regularly, adjusting her portfolio as needed to make sure it still aligns with her goals.
“Just because you invest in something today does not mean it’s going to sit with you in a year, two years from now, because your life changes,” she says.
Even if you don’t touch your investments, there are other things in your budget that may need readjusting, Simmons says.
Take a look at your subscriptions, for instance. Ask yourself, “Are you actually using all your subscriptions?” Autopay is easy to forget about. But you really should stop to take a look at it every so often, Simmons says.