Watching TED Talks is a popular pastime at CN&CO. We visit TED.com regularly to clear our heads, have a laugh or get inspired. TED Talks open our minds, spark new ways of thinking and can lead to some very interesting conversations. Each week we pick a favourite and publish it on a Tuesday, because we like how “TED Talk Tuesday” sounds. This week’s talk was posted by CN&CO digital guru Lethabo-Thabo Royds. Here’s why she chose it: it is about a person who, despite very challenging circumstances, found a way to build a better life and is now helping others do the same. Also, this person taught himself how to read and write at the age of 20.

This is a TED Talk that I discovered a few years ago but it sits on the list of my favourite TED Talks of all time. It is by a man nicknamed “Wall Street” because of his savvy on the stock market. Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll shares his experiences and how he is helping to change the lives of others in this true, funny, and informative TED Talk.

Carroll had a difficult childhood and at 20 years old, while in prison, he taught himself to read and write. “I was receiving the greatest gift I’d ever dreamed of,” he says about learning to read and write.

In the talk he shares some statistics on the financial status of most Americans, and some interesting calculations on how much incarcerated individuals can make a year. Carroll has built “a curriculum that teaches incarcerated individuals how to manage money through prison employment,” which would help when they re-enter society, he describes. This is his cure to financial illiteracy, he says.

“Financial illiteracy is a disease that has crippled minorities in the lower classes of our society from generation to generation and we should be furious about that,” he says.

One of my favourite things that he says in this talk is this:

“This idea that only professionals can invest in managed money is absolutely ridiculous and whoever told you that is lying.” He says a professional is someone “that knows his craft better than most and who knows how much money you need, have, or want better than you…which means you are the professional.”

In just 11 minutes he addresses issues of education, poverty, financial literacy, the prison system in the USA, and he shares hope for the future.

His advice is relevant for all of us; all of us should know how to manage our money appropriately so that we don’t live from pay check to pay check.

“Financial literacy is not a skill, it’s a lifestyle. Financial stability is a by-product of a proper lifestyle.” This is so true. We need to live a lifestyle in which we are financially literate and financially stable. This also resonates with the work our partner EasyEquities is doing; making the stock exchange accessible to all of us.

Check it out: