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August, 2015


Most folks would not look for lessons in finance from a convicted murderer. Oddly enough, though, a San Quentin lifer named Curtis Carroll, in prison for killing a man when he was seventeen, now, at age 37, is teaching popular classes on money matters to groups of cons who hope to one day use their financial literacy outside the prison walls.

Carroll's story is interesting. A school drop-out, he could not read when he went to prison, but taught himself with things like candy wrappers, clothing logos, and, later, financial articles in the newspaper.

San Quentin State Prison (Wikipedia)

Having discovered that people can multiply a small nest egg into a larger one via equities, he saved up several hundred dollars in stamps from sales of cigarettes to other prisoners and, on a very small scale, began buying stocks. Those initial investment experiments panned out well enough for him that now he follows and invests in dozens of stocks at a time, helping him earn the nickname "Wall Street."

His pecuniary suggestions to fellow inmates break down into four steps from which anyone among us might benefit:

1. Accumulate savings;

2. Control spending;

3. Borrow wisely;

4. Diversify carefully chosen investments.

In my view, reading is among the most important skills we can achieve from an education. Without it our life options remain quite confined. Given that we also live in a world of financial commerce of all kinds, knowing the basics about money and how to manage it can also be crucial. "Wall Street" can never make up for the life he took in his youth. Nonetheless, what he is teaching his fellow inmates can, once they return to the normal workaday realm beyond prison walls, be a life changing service to many of them.

"Overall, the goal is to get the money to give it back to the community," Carroll says. "When I look at how Bill Gates and Warren Buffett give 90 percent of their wealth away, I thought, what better way than to go back and help the things I've destroyed?" From "Inmate with Stock Tips Wants to Be San Quentin's Warren Buffett," by The Kitchen Sisters, NPR's Around the Nation, August 14, 2015.


Larry is not a professional. Don't take him seriously!

Actually, the investment article provided here is for general information only and should not be considered as professional advice, a solicitation to buy or sell any security, or the Word of God. Investors are encouraged to do their own research while considering their personal goals and circumstances, or consult their own professional financial advisors, before making investment decisions. Neither Larry nor LARVALBUG will be liable for any losses sustained by any visitor to this site.

(Disclosure statement: Larry and Val have holdings in some of the suggested assets but do not "make a market" in any of them and do not derive any direct benefit from recommending them, except perhaps for a bit of smug self-satisfaction.)

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