Lauren Simmons, 23-Year-Old NYSE Stockbroker, Discusses Financial Literacy

Lauren Simmons is the youngest woman to be a full-time stockbroker for the New York Stock Exchange.
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Lauren Simmons, the youngest female stockbroker to work on the New York Stock Exchange full-time, sat down with TheStreet's Anders Keitz and Katherine Ross to discuss financial literacy.

Simmons said there should be courses in schools to teach children the basics of finance, such as balancing a checkbook and learning about savings and checking accounts.

"Learning credit and savings accounts and what investing can or can't do for you, that should be 1,2,3, courses that should be given at some point while you're younger -- definitely by the time you graduate high school," Simmons said. "From there, [you can use] it as a platform to learn more but it definitely is important."

Simmons also scoffed at the rumor that millennials are financially illiterate.

"People will learn what they want to learn," said Simmons, noting that one of the most sought-after degrees is in business and most people who are getting a business degree will get exposure to finance because business and finance go "hand-in-hand." 

Still, she said fewer millennials are investing compared to the older generation, largely due to a lack of financial literacy classes. 

"It should be an open conversation, or maybe an investing club in high school; [investing] should definitely be on children's radar before they go to college," Simmons said.   

Simmons said she still has plenty to learn, considering that she's only been on the job for a year-and-a-half, but her advice is to "definitely be investing your money." 

For women who are looking to be in finance, Simmons said it requires a particular type of personality but don't let fear become an overwhelming factor.

"I think fear is what holds back a lot of people, or they think 'Oh, I'm going to be working at a boys club, and I'm going to be the only female,' and if you have that mindset that is only going to remain a distraction," Simmons said.

But the trading floor isn't the boys club it used to be, as Simmons described her male colleagues as supportive of women.

"For instance, if someone said anything crazy to me, which often times they don't, I could easily say, 'That's not OK,' and that would never happen again, but not only my voice, there are eight other men saying that it's not OK to say and that's the end of that conversation,"  Simmons said. "There are a lot of check and balances down there and a lot of people who will stand up for the women." 

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