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

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

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  2. Video Tile "How a democrat learned personal responsibility and became a libertarian." | Curtis "Wall Street" Carroll

  3. this man just made my MF year. this is the progress, pride and beauty that the world lacks. lets grow and be better individuals together.

  4. This guy is the Opposite of Shawshank's Andy Dufresne … Andy, on the outside was straight as an arrow who had come to prison to become a crook!! Glad to have stumbled upon this clip… loved his fluency!!

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  6. WoW!!! This guy is "POWERFUL"! He really knows what he is talking about. I can confirm this because I did a lot of time in Federal Prison. Everything he said is not only well thought out, you can see he really lives by what he says.

  7. Wall Street, you are an amazing man!!!!!!!! Good job making something beautiful, successful, and awesome out of the not-so-good hand you were dealt. You are an inspiration! You know what would be a good idea? Is if you could take your training/education company public and have it be traded on the open market.

  8. The number of people who are wasted to society because of poverty is astounding. I knew a guy from Long Beach who rigged a car's air-conditioner to siphon gas out of the big tanks under the gas station in no time. Sure, he was a criminal, and a druggie too, but what could he have been if he had a chance? That man died when he nodded off on his motorcycle during the China White epidemic, and hit a water truck head-on. Even conservatives should admit, we are losing so many gifted and creative people because of social bullshit. Why? Because all black people, poor white people, Latino immigrants, are just a waste of time? People want to contribute and succeed. The entire world suffers from the loss of those who are considered worthless.

  9. I was correctional nurse for a short term. I met some of the most inspirational men trying to better themselves. I remember crying driving home a few times because of how inspired I was to see so much hope and desire in some inmates. I hope when they are free, they continue to fight for a better life.

  10. Wait a minute. He got sent to juvenile hall at age 14 and he was illiterate? They teach reading and writing from kindergarten. wth?

  11. Archons and Reptilian soul groups work in hive minds to leverage markets in their favor and break what is foreseen out of your favor.

    They transfer their greed fear negativity and karma to you while taking your money. It is their transfer system

  12. He should have his own YouTube channel and teach people how to trade stocks, if he wants others to share his knowledge and wants others to learn to earn money differently than a 9-5 job.

  13. This is one of the smartest men I have ever hear speak. His education is the most valuable education. Hard life on the streets and financial literacy. He is a dangerous man to the establishment.

  14. Good, inspiring talk but it would have been nice if it included some tangible tools. I guess start here then google Ray Dalio for technical guidance.

  15. this is great it just clearly shows that anybody no matter what level of literacy you've attained. But for starters and those who have been I just remembered my loosing days.well go get yourselves a professional trader to take care of your trades and coach you till u can do it on your own.
    Remain happy always

  16. Taxpaying if he only knew how taxes mean slavery over your autonomy the IRS are just sophisticated experts at extortion

  17. Stock broking in prison that’s actually a really good idea they can help the world even when they are unable to physically what an inspiration making the world better in any way possible he can that’s what we need more of

  18. Anyone can do it. Make the commitment today to get on the road to better your life and future. No more excuses! Make it happen! We have access to the most massive free information amount the world has ever seen! Get to work

  19. This dude is the truth, to not have a proper education like most of us that thought we knew it all, he is a very intelligent man, they need to parten this dude from prison so he can teach ppl in prison…. Thank you sir for this speech..


  21. At no time did he ever mention TRADING STOCKS! Please change the headline to reflect his much more important message. Owning the very companies we patronize everyday has nothing to do with trading those ownership rights. He’s speaking of investing, NOT gambling.

  22. well said young man im proud and very moved by your story and your presentaion….im from the bay area also and i would love to have a conversation with you and not only congradulate you but talk business with you email me at [email protected],com thank you and i hope to hear from you but if i dont have a beautiful life and please dont stop what your doing

  23. This is such a powerful lesson. It's like the powers that be really need an underclass so we are kept financially ignorant. I'm on a journey of financial education and learning about investing. Talk like this are incredible.

  24. I am a 33 year old South African ex-con. I also read my first book πŸ“– in prison. I’m a space of 4 years, among other things I did in prison, I read over 100 books, wrote a book called, Success & Wealth through the Bible, and I learnt how to trade forex. Nice video my brother.πŸ‘Œ

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