Curtis "Wall Street" Carroll: How I learned to read -- and trade stocks -- in prison
Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll overcame poverty, illiteracy, incarceration and a lack of outside support to become a stock investor, creator and teacher of his own financial literacy philosophy. Full bio
Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.
and I jumped on top of a fence.
in my book bag
was standing on top of me,
steal something you can carry."
into the custody of my mother,
"How'd you get caught?"
to take all the quarters."
What am I supposed to do?"
to burglarize another arcade game.
of my immediate family
of living with family, friends,
in breadlines and soup kitchens.
or the good guy.
that I was told that I had potential
that I could be a lawyer,
I couldn't read, write or spell.
crime was my way to go.
about this robbery that we could do.
financial nation in the world,
stand in line at a blood bank
just to try to feed her kids.
on her arms to day to show for that.
were doing to take what they wanted,
the robbers, the blood bank.
really did rule the world,
for robbery and murder
rule more than they did on the streets,
the sports page of the newspaper
picked up the business section.
"Hey youngster, you pick stocks?"
where white folks keep all their money."
that I saw a glimpse of hope,
of what stocks were,
to hide my illiteracy
prey among predators,
I'd ever done in my life.
time of my life,
I had ever dreamed of:
everything I could get my hands on:
street signs, everything.
and know how to spell.
"Man, what you eating?"
I said, "N-O. No."
for the first time in my life read.
from it was amazing.
of the newspaper.
financially manage money and invest,
responsibility for my own actions.
in a very complex environment,
for that, and I did.
that could teach incarcerated men
through prison employments.
would provide transferrable tools
when we reenter society,
who didn't commit crimes.
over 60 percent of NBA players
derive from financial issues.
that people worked their whole lives,
homes and material stuff
going to help incarcerated individuals
to meet those on the path
I now cared about my community.
I cared about my community.
and the lower class in our society
of the American population
driven by financial prosperity?
that most people can't manage.
than any other issue.
Department of Corrections,
with money-related crimes:
fraud, larceny, distortion --
200 dollars gate money and told,
Don't come back to prison."
or long-term financial plan,
that led him to prison in the first place?
already chose for him, probably.
your emotional decisions
to personal finance:
by allowing your money to work for you
before we reenter society.
without these life skills.
can invest and manage money
you need, have or want better than you,
ladies and gentlemen.
of a proper lifestyle.
can become a taxpaying citizen,
taxpaying citizen can remain one.
between those people who we influence:
that crime and money are related.
that you've been out there hearing.
of what's been crippling our society
to be better life managers.
and easy to use curriculum
and emotional literacy really is.
in the audience and you said,
and I don't buy it,"
it costs you every time you get emotional.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERCurtis "Wall Street" Carroll - Financial literacy advocate
Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll overcame poverty, illiteracy, incarceration and a lack of outside support to become a stock investor, creator and teacher of his own financial literacy philosophy.
Why you should listen
The media calls Curtis "Wall Street" Carroll the "Oracle of San Quentin" for his stock picking prowess and ability to translate financial information into simple language for his students.
Carroll grew up in Oakland, California surrounded by poverty. In 1996, at 17 years old, he committed a robbery where a man was killed. He turned himself in and ended up an illiterate teenager in prison with a 54-to-life sentence. While in prison, the stock market captured his attention, but due to his illiteracy he couldn't learn more about it. Motivating by the lure of financial gaining, he taught himself how to read at 20-21 years old, and then he started studying the stock market. Carroll's role models changed from drug dealers and sports figures to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. He wanted others to learn this new way of making money.
When Carroll arrived at San Quentin in 2012, he met Troy Williams, who helped him start the Financial Literacy Program. Together they created the philosophy F.E.E.L (Financial Empowerment Emotional Literacy) that teaches people to recognize how their emotions affect their financial decision, and how to separate the two.
Curtis "Wall Street" Carroll | Speaker | TED.com