A former convict goes through a life changing experience while serving time in prison. Coming from a background of crime and illiteracy, Curtis Carroll did not know how to make ends meet. Until, he picked up the business section of the newspaper while in prison, and learned how to read it. Now, he delivers a passionate call to end financial illiteracy in America.

What I think works the most in this TED Talk is Carroll’s unapologetic point of view. He does not deny any of his wrongdoings that put him in prison, nor does he show resentment towards his troubled upbringing. What he does show is passion to solve a problem that effects millions of people in America. He calls it financial illiteracy.

 “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.”

Carroll uses stats to back up what he calls a disease. He drives home the point that Americans are driven by financial prosperity, yet many are living paycheck to paycheck. And this problem is even worse for people who have been to prison. He knows from his own experience and he now has set out a way to fix it.

Learning to read and studying the stock market helped give Carroll aspirations and hope. He began to recognize his potential and his passion for helping other gain financial stability. So, once he got out of prison he founded his program called FEEL: Financial Empowerment, Emotional Literacy. He says it teaches people how to “separate your emotional decisions from your financial decisions.” He hopes this method will help others who are leaving prison find a path for their future, instead of returning to their past and repeating the same mistakes that got them arrested.

Carroll’s tone is uplifting, authentic and inspiring. I find his view on life interesting because it is unique but relatable. He speaks with conviction and hope to bring about change, and is open about his frustrations with how far behind people are in managing their money in the most prosperous country. As a viewer, this TED Talk left me feeling empowered and hopeful that we will all become more appreciative and better aware of our hard-earned money.

More from the Ethos3 Blog:

How An Interesting Topic Can Draw In An Audience

A Way of Life Presentation: Laura Vanderkam’s TED Talk on Free Time

4 Presentation Lessons from Adam Driver’s TED Talk

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