We had the good fortune of connecting with Lakisha L. Simmons, PhD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lakisha L., we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I decided to start a business to create my own income. I’ve side hustled for years and eventually went all out on my own after I became financially independent and left my full-time job as a tenured professor of analytics. Working for an employer and a large university was just too stressful. I’m enjoying working for myself. I love that I can work on my business not necessarily in my business. That allows me to have more free time to spend living life as I please.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m affectionately known as Dr. Kisha, a highly sought-after financial independence retire early (FIRE) speaker, workshop facilitator, and spokeswoman for many financial brands including Personal Capital. I retired early at 41 years old after amassing $900,000 in investments. Through my company, The Wealthy AchieveHer, I help women become financially free and early retire by budgeting, maxing retirement accounts and investing in stocks. I’m also the author of The Unlikely AchieveHer workbook, a guidebook to help women learn conflict resolution, negotiation and body language skills to level up their soft skills. You may have seen me in Good Morning America, Business Insider, and PEOPLE for budget tips and saving over $750,000 in four years.
I’m a first-generation college student. I hold a bachelor’s degree in business information systems from Tennessee State University, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in management information systems from the University of Mississippi. I also hold a Six Sigma Black Belt that was achieved during my time at Caterpillar, Inc.
I was an accomplished professor before retiring at age 41 with over 40 peer-reviewed scholarly works. When I received tenure in 2017, I was one of only 51 female African-American Information Systems business school professors in the U.S. I’ve overcome many obstacles from childhood trauma to divorce. I want people to know, that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything, no matter where you come from.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My weekends are for winding down and appreciating all that I have and all that is around me. Since I’ve always been frugal, I know how to have fun on a budget and Nashville has plenty to do for those on a budget or on a path to financial freedom. Even though I’ve reached financial independence, I still live on a frugal budget.
There is nothing more refreshing, healthy, and self-care-focused than going for a walk on a lush nature trail or riverfront on a bright sunshiny day. I spend a lot of time walking at Nashville’s beautiful greenways.
I love picnics on a sunny spring afternoon! I pack a salad, tuna sandwiches, hummus and veggies, and water bottles while my husband packs the three bikes and boys, and we head to Cornelia Fort Airpark. Cornelia Fort Airpark is a large open space that was a public use airport right here in Nashville. The tree-lined runway is perfect for bike riding, running, or roller skating.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to thank The PhD Project, specifically Bernie Milano, Marie Zara, and Myrna Varner, for their role in supporting me and my doctorate journey over the years! I don’t know where I’d be without their constant support since 2008!
Other: Dr. Kisha offers you her budget for free at https://lakishasimmons.com/how-budget-bestie-can-save-you-200-a-month