How I learned to read — and trade stocks — in prison | Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll

I was 14 years old inside of a bowling alley, burglarizing an arcade game, and upon exiting the building a security guard grabbed my arm, so I ran. I ran down the street,
and I jumped on top of a fence. And when I got to the top, the weight of 3,000 quarters
in my book bag pulled me back down to the ground. So when I came to, the security guard
was standing on top of me, and he said, “Next time you little punks
steal something you can carry.” (Laughter) I was taken to juvenile hall and when I was released
into the custody of my mother, the first words my uncle said was,
“How’d you get caught?” I said, “Man, the book bag was too heavy.” He said, “Man, you weren’t supposed
to take all the quarters.” I said, “Man, they were small.
What am I supposed to do?” And 10 minutes later, he took me
to burglarize another arcade game. We needed gas money to get home. That was my life. I grew up in Oakland, California, with my mother and members
of my immediate family addicted to crack cocaine. My environment consisted
of living with family, friends, and homeless shelters. Oftentimes, dinner was served
in breadlines and soup kitchens. The big homey told me this: money rules the world and everything in it. And in these streets, money is king. And if you follow the money, it’ll lead you to the bad guy
or the good guy. Soon after, I committed my first crime, and it was the first time
that I was told that I had potential and felt like somebody believed in me. Nobody ever told me
that I could be a lawyer, doctor or engineer. I mean, how was I supposed to do that?
I couldn’t read, write or spell. I was illiterate. So I always thought
crime was my way to go. And then one day I was talking to somebody and he was telling me
about this robbery that we could do. And we did it. The reality was that I was growing up in the strongest
financial nation in the world, the United States of America, while I watched my mother
stand in line at a blood bank to sell her blood for 40 dollars
just to try to feed her kids. She still has the needle marks
on her arms to day to show for that. So I never cared about my community. They didn’t care about my life. Everybody there was doing what they
were doing to take what they wanted, the drug dealers,
the robbers, the blood bank. Everybody was taking blood money. So I got mine by any means necessary. I got mine. Financial literacy
really did rule the world, and I was a child slave to it following the bad guy. At 17 years old, I was arrested
for robbery and murder and I soon learned that finances in prison
rule more than they did on the streets, so I wanted in. One day, I rushed to grab
the sports page of the newspaper so my cellie could read it to me, and I accidentally
picked up the business section. And this old man said,
“Hey youngster, you pick stocks?” And I said, “What’s that?” He said, “That’s the place
where white folks keep all their money.” (Laughter) And it was the first time
that I saw a glimpse of hope, a future. He gave me this brief description
of what stocks were, but it was just a glimpse. I mean, how was I supposed to do it? I couldn’t read, write or spell. The skills that I had developed
to hide my illiteracy no longer worked in this environment. I was trapped in a cage,
prey among predators, fighting for freedom I never had. I was lost, tired, and I was out of options. So at 20 years old, I did the hardest thing
I’d ever done in my life. I picked up a book, and it was the most agonizing
time of my life, trying to learn how to read, the ostracizing from my family, the homeys. It was rough, man. It was a struggle. But little did I know I was receiving the greatest gifts
I had ever dreamed of: self-worth, knowledge, discipline. I was so excited to be reading that I read
everything I could get my hands on: candy wrappers, clothing logos,
street signs, everything. I was just reading stuff! (Applause) Just reading stuff. I was so excited to know how to read
and know how to spell. The homey came up, said,
“Man, what you eating?” I said, “C-A-N-D-Y, candy.” (Laughter) He said, “Let me get some.”
I said, “N-O. No.” (Laughter) It was awesome. I mean, I can actually now
for the first time in my life read. The feeling that I got
from it was amazing. And then at 22, feeling myself, feeling confident, I remembered what the OG told me. So I picked up the business section
of the newspaper. I wanted to find these rich white folks. (Laughter) So I looked for that glimpse. As I furthered my career in teaching others how to
financially manage money and invest, I soon learned that I had to take
responsibility for my own actions. True, I grew up
in a very complex environment, but I chose to commit crimes, and I had to own up to that. I had to take responsibility
for that, and I did. I was building a curriculum
that could teach incarcerated men how to manage money
through prison employments. Properly managing our lifestyle
would provide transferrable tools that we can use to manage money
when we reenter society, like the majority of people did
who didn’t commit crimes. Then I discovered that according to MarketWatch, over 60 percent of the American population has under 1,000 dollars in savings. Sports Illustrated said that
over 60 percent of NBA players and NFL players go broke. 40 percent of marital problems
derive from financial issues. What the hell? (Laughter) You mean to tell me
that people worked their whole lives, buying cars, clothes,
homes and material stuff but were living check to check? How in the world were members of society
going to help incarcerated individuals back into society if they couldn’t manage they own stuff? We screwed. (Laughter) I needed a better plan. This is not going to work out too well. So … I thought. I now had an obligation
to meet those on the path and help, and it was crazy because
I now cared about my community. Wow, imagine that.
I cared about my community. Financial illiteracy is a disease that has crippled minorities
and the lower class in our society for generations and generations, and we should be furious about that. Ask yourselves this: How can 50 percent
of the American population be financially illiterate in a nation
driven by financial prosperity? Our access to justice, our social status, living conditions, transportation and food are all dependent on money
that most people can’t manage. It’s crazy! It’s an epidemic and a bigger danger to public safety
than any other issue. According to the California
Department of Corrections, over 70 percent of those incarcerated have committed or have been charged
with money-related crimes: robberies, burglaries,
fraud, larceny, extortion — and the list goes on. Check this out: a typical incarcerated person would enter the California prison system with no financial education, earn 30 cents an hour, over 800 dollars a year, with no real expenses and save no money. Upon his parole, he will be given
200 dollars gate money and told, “Hey, good luck, stay out of trouble.
Don’t come back to prison.” With no meaningful preparation
or long-term financial plan, what does he do … ? At 60? Get a good job, or go back to the very criminal behavior
that led him to prison in the first place? You taxpayers, you choose. Well, his education
already chose for him, probably. So how do we cure this disease? I cofounded a program that we call Financial Empowerment
Emotional Literacy. We call it FEEL, and it teaches how do you separate
your emotional decisions from your financial decisions, and the four timeless rules
to personal finance: the proper way to save, control your cost of living, borrow money effectively and diversify your finances
by allowing your money to work for you instead of you working for it. Incarcerated people need these life skills
before we reenter society. You can’t have full rehabilitation
without these life skills. This idea that only professionals
can invest and manage money is absolutely ridiculous, and whoever told you that is lying. (Applause) A professional is a person who knows his craft better than most, and nobody knows how much money
you need, have or want better than you, which means you are the professional. Financial literacy is not a skill,
ladies and gentlemen. It’s a lifestyle. Financial stability is a byproduct
of a proper lifestyle. A financially sound incarcerated person
can become a taxpaying citizen, and a financially sound
taxpaying citizen can remain one. This allows us to create a bridge
between those people who we influence: family, friends and those young people who still believe
that crime and money are related. So let’s lose the fear and anxiety of all the big financial words and all that other nonsense
that you’ve been out there hearing. And let’s get to the heart
of what’s been crippling our society from taking care of your responsibility
to be better life managers. And let’s provide a simple
and easy to use curriculum that gets to the heart, the heart of what financial empowerment
and emotional literacy really is. Now, if you’re sitting out here
in the audience and you said, “Oh yeah, well, that ain’t me
and I don’t buy it,” then come take my class — (Laughter) so I can show you how much money
it costs you every time you get emotional. (Applause) Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “How I learned to read — and trade stocks — in prison | Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll

  1. To be honest…I learned how to read and speak (english) at a young age but I CANNOT talk to a large crowd of people…What I saw is really inspiring and makes me want to improve myself.

  2. On point how many people go to drink away their paycheck or something else because of emotional decisions if you can manage your emotions you can check your finances

  3. I personally know this dude. He's fake. He reads things off his cell phone in his cell and come back and repeats what he read the day before. San Quentin busted him and found out he's a fraud and transferred him out. He gives the same speech word for word every time. He knew how to read before he got locked up. He's a pro con.

  4. Powerful..!!!
    For someone who learnt to read at 20, his delivery was incredible. It's like he was born to do this. There's a definite motivation.

  5. Although i agree with him,there is a reason why a pro is better than the average person..According to his logic everyone can be a nuclear scientist and run a nuclear plan …yeah sure bro ..keep on dreaming..

  6. More of what he said was true than not, but thinking people can be objective with their investments is false for 99% of investors. No matter what. It's mother nature. An independent advisor/portfolio manager can make better decisions that will translate to higher long term returns. I'm talking about INDEPENDENT advisors/managers with discretionary control over the portfolio. These are people who run their advisory business from their homes. They manage no more than 50-60 accounts and their fees are a percentage of the value of the accounts.

    If you hire those people you'll eventually be able to buy your own NFL team. Phoenix perhaps. Take them back to St. Louis although I don't know how that would work. Or you could open that side-of-the-road diner that you've deeply wanted since you were a kid. The kind with the old mechanical pinball machines. You know you want it! What you say doesn't matter. YOU WANT IT AND YOU KNOW IT!

  7. You remind me of this American guy who lives in Japan and teaches finance ed he breaks it all down step by step and explains things about investing

  8. When you think about it… now aside from all the dangers and stress of prison… when your sitting in a cell with absolutely nothing to do… you can learn a lot from studying and reading and practicing. Maybe out in the free world… you need to give yourself that prison cell enviroment… not prison enviroment but prison CELL enviroment. If your spending more then 3/4 of your day in a cell… count the hours of practice and reading and studying…

  9. This is the type of person we need in politics. Not someone promoting powerlessness by advocating for welfare, but someone promoting solutions to the underlying issues that are the one of the root causes of our financial issues in society.

  10. This gent is an incredibly impressive person. What a mind. What stage presence. Someone do the right thing and give this man the job he is quite obviously qualified for upon his release.

  11. Talk about taking initiatives.. Way to put your head into the game man. Stay real and never forget where you came from.

  12. Does anyone know where to find stock charts with historical minute by minute details? I can find yearly but nothing where i can go to a specific day and view the min by min…

  13. This is why education is important information and knowledge is the key to success, that's why education should be free, tuition free college just like most of Europe, they dont have over half of their citzen uneducated, therefor vote Bernie 2020 let's build a country with people that are educated it will not only help with education but with crime, suicides, mental health and many other sectors

  14. Most Bad people has a good potential to be successful, if they had guts to steal, they should have guts to learn, this is where most culture fails to do. These people have intelligence but they need a proper guide to use it in the right thing

  15. The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost
    all your money.

    Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.

    Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot
    get more time.

    That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.

    If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth
    commands us, we are poor indeed.

    The more you learn, the more you earn.

  16. As easy as trading options appear, decision making is even more confusing so you really needs someone relaible and that's where the individual broker comes in. Mr James Huntley has proven to be the best.

  17. Brilliant video. Same in the UK so many people live off debt. PE & money handling skills need to be pushed higher up the curriculum

  18. As a Romanian American, I definitely experienced the negative effects of my parents financial illiteracy, and even worse they're highly educated, high income, and financially illiterate and brush it off as "bad luck" or "not valuing money" but money is all they complain about since instead of investing in anything, they got into shitloads of debt like idiots.

  19. He couldn’t have said it better!! Our country lacks financial literacy and the results show.
    At World Financial Group we spread financial awareness, give you financial strategies to make and save money. Rapidly growing in the financial industry, and the best part is our services, our time is free!!!Spread financial literacy poverty,debt,etc. are all issues because of the lack of financial knowledge they don’t teach in schools along with the 46 states.
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  20. Amazing motivation! Let's keep moving. Everyone is going through tough times. Get up and get back to work. Never give up. Great comments!

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