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”

  1. Convicted felons can't get a series 7 license and trade stocks, for others, i.e. third parties .
    All he can do is manage his own portfolio.

  2. Powerful Lesson Learned … Intelligent Man who has learned and life circumstances :-(… led him to crime. Thank God he has been reformed and knowledge (he found and pursued to obtain) along with empowering himself. The knowledge he has learned and now teaches is a awesome story!! This is why HIS STORY needs to be told (MOVIE, NETFLIX, HBO) and passed on within the Prison System!! Powerful and intriguing to the point that now the movers and shakers seek him… WOW REAL TALK! You go boy!!!! This is what Strength looks like. 🙂

  3. At 38 I quit my job and decided to invest almost all my savings on stocks and crypto trading with Harvey Weinstein. With season, my stock and crypto market profits are usually up to 180% of my invested capital.

  4. The media should try to focused on black intelligent people like this guy and way less on the low life thugs who doesn't teach anyone nothing.

  5. Intellect is a funny thing. Psychologists have been known to take a Special Education class and tell them they've been labeled accidentally. They're actually all geniuses and will be taught accordingly. They convince the school staff as well. In a year's time the Special Education class becomes straight A college prep students.

  6. I was in jail in 09 and again in 2010. Wish i heard someone saying invest in bitcoin

  7. i count myself to be successful in stock trading because of the amazing strategy of Pat Brown. i always make huge profits

  8. Excellent! Still unable to realize I just made $1318 with this incredible web site here no1profits.club?851

  9. Why is he telling an audience full of white people about his accomplishments?.is he expecting a hand out from his slave owners? Stop crying to your oppressers about a situation they created for you! Cry and beg your creator, because he has a better situation and a solution for you

  10. Boss A Chat! This is what my message is 4 my future Musicians/players, add all your talents 2gether, play the drums, learn 2 write…sing in Portuguese, keep growing…

  11. America's first black billionaire Reggie Lewis wealth accumulation explained step by step by Miles Thomas.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzuXC42x3uc&t=7s

  12. first we live in a white system that is foundation, they own all the
    land or 75% of it which is the heart and sole there wealth value} mainly
    in agricultural everything, they own all the things that make products,
    like trees, iron ore, coal that makes the steel , they own aluminum,
    oil, concrete or the buy products that make concrete, and they have been
    owning these thing since 1800's … and they are organize around this
    stuff first, and all the while they was studying everything,
    experimenting with everything, and they are still experimenting and
    studying things, while black people talk about there money, there
    system, before black people can gain wealth and build real wealth they
    need a way to first make all of their products that's needed, all
    products are not needed, and it will start where they started from
    agricultural security, food security ..and how do we security food,
    first get control of each other, we are a danger to our self's … NO
    BLACK PERSON SHOULD BE RICH, NONE SHOULD HAVE AND OVER PRICE CAR OR
    HOUSE UNTIL WE START TO BUILD THESE THING WITH OUR OWN RESOURCE, JUST
    USE WHAT SOMEONE MAKE FOR US SIMPLY AND BASIC, EVERYTHING SHOULD BE
    SIMPLE AND BASIC UNTIL WE BUILD THAT FOUNDATION …

  13. first we live in a white system that is foundation, they own all the
    land or 75% of it which is the heart and sole there wealth value} mainly
    in agricultural everything, they own all the things that make products,
    like trees, iron ore, coal that makes the steel , they own aluminum,
    oil, concrete or the buy products that make concrete, and they have been
    owning these thing since 1800's … and they are organize around this
    stuff first, and all the while they was studying everything,
    experimenting with everything, and they are still experimenting and
    studying things, while black people talk about there money, there
    system, before black people can gain wealth and build real wealth they
    need a way to first make all of their products that's needed, all
    products are not needed, and it will start where they started from
    agricultural security, food security ..and how do we security food,
    first get control of each other, we are a danger to our self's … NO
    BLACK PERSON SHOULD BE RICH, NONE SHOULD HAVE AND OVER PRICE CAR OR
    HOUSE UNTIL WE START TO BUILD THESE THING WITH OUR OWN RESOURCE, JUST
    USE WHAT SOMEONE MAKE FOR US SIMPLY AND BASIC, EVERYTHING SHOULD BE
    SIMPLE AND BASIC UNTIL WE BUILD THAT FOUNDATION …

  14. Hi Curtis Carroll, I very much enjoyed your speech and your emotion. Great delivery with your life story. Storytelling is powerful. Look at this. https://youtu.be/dt8svyA113s

  15. Our Education Systems has Failed to teach a Subject required by everyone called "Money Matters." banking, INVESTING" cost of living, home ownership and cost of repairs, grocery cost of everything one will want and need sometime in their life. Nobody explains how lucky they are to be in school and how much it cost taxpayers for them to go to school and get an education. Schools just don't teach on this subject matter of how and where they will be in life without a education, job and money matters. It use to be if a Sports Team needed something Uniforms and Equipment or to Travel to D.C. they would have to work for it. They would do Car Washes, Bake Sales on weekends or after school to earn that money needed. Now these kids are taught to stand in the streets with buckets and beg for money donations. What exactly is this teaching our kids? Begging is easier than working for it? It makes our kids lazy and they are not learning to be innovative and working for what they want or need. Excellent Video here. Should be played in many schools around the country for our kids to learn from.

  16. I like this new look and style Samsung is using to introduce their new devices keep up the good job guys….lol😄

  17. Can they patron him please!! This guy could be the next big thing in helping our economic system and teaching minority the right path

  18. My credit cards got maxed out last year and I had lots of debts including tax which affected my credit score and I almost got tired of life itself. My life changed when my old friend referred me to FINANCEWEBSERVICE @ GMAIL COM and they cleared my credit card debts, money hacks and even fixed my score back to 800+. I'm very thankful to them and would boldly refer them to anyone

  19. A Diamond in the Rough! He had it automatically, he only needed to reach deep into himself and he found it. What a Blessing! I pray that Yah will continue to Bless and guide him❤❤🙏🏽

  20. I must truly commend this bright, brilliant, & intelligent man who happen to be in prison. Most people in prison are not bad at all. Many made some bad decisions that landed them in prison in the first place. Yet, others end up there because of false accusations/mal-justice. There needs to be more of this in all prisons in the entire country and beyond to help more prisoners to be truly rehabilitated back into regular society and highly functional people.

  21. I lost so many trades while trading as a beginner until i came in contact with Mrs Michelle philips who started managing my account and ever since then i have been making huge money trading. You can also contact her now to start making profits too [email protected] .com

  22. This young man has figured the "game" out. He is intelligent, articulate, humorous, and well-read. You can learn something from everybody; from the homeless to the rich man. READING is fundamental. You will NEVER beat someone who reads. He has acquired financial literacy and now has the keys to unlock to doors to wealth. Someone needs to invest in this young man and give him an opportunity to have a chance at the "American dream". He is speaking FACTS!!!!

  23. This is probably the only ted talk i watched from beginning to end. This is truly motivational unlike a lot of fake bs out there

  24. This should be taught to High school students (if not sooner) to prepare them for life after school! Kudo's to you, the penal system has always been backward & I believe designed to be dependant on recidivism!

  25. 1500 dislikes from 1500 offended white taxpayers who can't stand a black reformed, entrepreneurial and enthusiastic individual. Racism is real.

  26. Your free stock is waiting for you! Join Robinhood and we’ll both get a stock like Apple, Ford, or Facebook for free. Sign up with my link. https://share.robinhood.com/adamg2463

  27. It's not just picking up a book and reading it. It's about picking up the right book and reading it.

  28. the weight of the quarters he mentions trying to steal at the beginning of the video would have been the equivalent of carrying 37.5 pounds if he was indeed only carrying 3,000 quarters, which in turn would equal to $750. in case anyone else was wondering.

  29. Great one i love it ,i blieve the justice system must be reformed to rehabilitat inmates and give them a chance with early rekease if ever reach and Proov that they are ready,first education ,good conduct etc .i hope this inmate will be given a chance to be productive citizen again

  30. This man speaks the truth I grew up right down the road in San Jose California before it was Silicon Valley in a Gang infested neighborhood not much of an education myself watched people go in and out of prison get killed or move away there's so much more to this story not enough space to write but I to finally woke up and turned it all around I now trade with a $30,000 account have a good job 401k and a pension just recently bought me a brand new Mercedes and it feels good and yes I too am teaching others while also continuing to learn myself I often tell myself wish I would have woke up a long time ago imagine the possibilities 😌😌

  31. Someone should tell him how many times one political party wanted to have rehabilitation programs only to have the other party kill it. Do what this young man learned, follow the money right to the party that supports private prisons.

  32. When God has a bigger plan for you, no one can stop you
    Praying that he gets out soon
    Havard school of business :l hope you are saving this guy a seat when he gets out?

  33. Great advice for all black parents: help your kids with the homework even if it bothers you. Be a good role model, even if it involves hard work. And instead of robbing, goto www.franchise.com and learn how to be a business owner. "No pain – no gain." Arnold S. 😉

  34. Mom's wasn't doing crack, don't blame the u.s. for putting your mind and effort in the wrong place. Other black people are working, saving, building a life

  35. In the beginning the education system was designed to create obedient employees. Has that changed? It's not a mistake that kids and young adults aren't taught useful life skills. It's not an oversight that the education system is terrible. It's not an accident that the richest country in the world slaps the chains of debt on kids the very day they become adults and gives some of them useless "degrees" in return.

    People need to start asking the question WHY when it comes to important issues…and not accepting the answers given by the 5 corporations who control 99% of the media. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and the other two companies don't want to help you break your chains. They want to keep you enslaved.

    “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  36. 7:16 "Our access to justice"

    Probably the strongest observation of this entire video. In America you have access to the justice your money can finance. Two people could commit the same crime, but if one is wealthy and he other is not, they won't be receiving the same justice.

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