The Oracle Of San Quentin.
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. The media gave him the moniker the “Oracle of San Quentin” for his stock market prowess and ability to translate financial information into simple language for his students.
Carroll, grew up in a life of poverty, in an interview with VladTv, Carroll says: ‘the people who told me I should be in school were the same people who sold me drugs, and of his role models they were ‘the dope dealer who pulled up in a Bentley’. Many of Carroll’s family members were addicted to crack cocaine, which led to bouts of homelessness. He says he first grew disillusioned with the world when he witnessed his mother stand in line at a blood bank to sell her blood so she had enough money to feed her children. To escape his life of poverty, instead on turning to the books, he turned to crime to ‘get paid’. He sold drugs, stole cars, burglarised homes, stole welfare checks and committed robberies. 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.
However, it would be prison that would turn the former Saul into Paul, whilst incarcerated at age 20-21, Carroll decide to combat his illiteracy and learn how to read. It’s here that Carroll finally learnt about the stock market, his role models changed from the Bentley driving drug dealer from his city to Wall Street legend Warren Buffet.
Carroll with his new-found skill of reading found out that over 60% of the American population had less than $1000 in savings, 60% of NBA and NFL players lose their millions by the time they retire and 40% of marital problems derive from financial issues. In a TED talk Carroll criticised the current economic climate most people are trapped in.
“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?”
Carroll now provides a course for inmate and members of the public to become financially free, he calls it the FEEL system. This stands for Financial Empowerment Emotional Literacy, it’s a program that helps people distinguish between emotion and finance. Carroll argues most decisions people make are heavily influenced by people frivolous spending habits. “You mean to tell me that people worked their whole lives, buying cars, clothes, homes and material stuff but were living check to check?”
Carroll’s reincarnation is a very inspirational story to those who were on the wrong path but learnt from their mistakes. Carroll never blames his upbringing for his involvement in crime, he blames himself for thinking that was the only way out when he had other options. Carroll maybe released within three years, if his parole request is granted and we could be seeing more of the self-made wall street guru.