Phillip Jamison/ Class 9: Financial Literacy

by Phillip Jamison

223. How would you gauge your level of financial literacy today?

I have a strong understanding  to the functions of finances.  I this day and age, I have to understand the concept of this, for it’s a requirement to meet my survival needs.  Possessing the knowledge on how to balance a check book, build credit, prioritize bills, etc. is an essential skill needed to build my future.  With out financial literacy, I hinder myself from balancing my life.

224. To what extent would you suppose that financial literacy relates to your probability for success upon release?

Financial literacy will have a strong impact on my future.  In order for me to be successful in today’s world.  I must understand how to manage my financial affairs.  I have a goal and aspiration to one day grow with a business and manage the company.  It would be beneficial for me to consistently educate myself on understanding the constant change and fluctuation of the financial world.  By understanding how to build more capitol, this will allow the company to grow.  Therefore allowing my success to grow with the company.

225. What opportunities exist for prisoners to improve their financial literacy?

The prison I’m currently confined to offers a financial education class with in it’s Release Preparation Program (RPP).  This would help me to understand the basic principles of budgeting my personal finances during and after confinement.  If I wish to broaden my knowledge on my financial literacy.  I can also achieve this through various distance learning classes.  There are a wide variety of colleges around the U.S. that offers a prisoner courses on gaining a stronger introspective on the financial world.  Other means of gaining knowledge around the prison can be acquired through reading books.  Books offer information on business, stocks, investing, etc.  Additionally, more knowledge can be taken away through Entrepreneur, Time or Money magazines.

226. How would you summarize the total costs of your imprisonment?

For the F.B.O.P. to house me for a 30 month sentencing.  I’m estimating a total cost of $90,000 at $100 a day.  It is my belief that this is a frivolous use of taxpayers income.  Contrary to my belief, if the F.B.O.P. offered a prisoner more opportunities to enroll into programs that consist of personal growth and behavior modification.  This would be a more valued means to invest the taxpayers income.  With in these programs/micro cosmos, prisoners can learn how to live addictive free lives and gain the essential tools to deal with life’s challenges beyond prison.  He can also learn the benefits of following values and create clearly defined goals.  In summary, he can work towards becoming a positive pro-social member to society.  The added bonuses upon completion of these programs is a sentencing reduction, for the prisoner is now ready to be released back into the world.  I believe that all prisoners who haven’t committed a crime involving harm to another should be eligible for these corrective programs.  This would be a great investment decision on the American people.

227. Describe ways in which in an understanding of the stock market may help you value investment opportunities.

I believe that if I understand the value in where I can analyze the stock market.  I can successfully expand my financial playing field.  However, I do understand the stock market to have it’s risks, for there are constant changes and fluctuations with in it’s functions.  In fact, by me understanding and studying the functions of other industries out there, I can become more diversified.  This will lead me to make more calculated investment decisions toward risks.  The willingness to meet the uncontrollable with a measure of choice and will power is to conquer with risk and triumph with glory.

228. How would improving skills to analyze the fundamentals of a particular stock lead to becoming a better small businessman?

By understanding a particular stock I will become more efficient as I decide what small businesses I can invest into.  By studying the fundamental of the stock I gain a stronger introspective toward the overall condition of the industry.  In addition, I can examine and evaluate the success and growth of the business.  This will lead me in deciding the niche market that sparks my interest and skill set.

229. Describe the level of thought you are giving to your financial future.

Although money can’t buy happiness, it certainly eliminates a lot of problems.  I say this because I’m the kind of man who believes more in having a job that I enjoy – regardless of the fact that it pays a lot or a little.  It is said, if you love your work, than you’ll never work a day in your life.  But in theory, it would benefit me more to elevate my salary wages and build a strong financial future.  For this reason, I think highly of it and continue to persist in bettering myself and expanding my knowledge on gaining a firmer understanding on how to expand my playing field.  By expanding my playing field, I expand the quality and comfort of my life and the lives of my children.

230. Describe the level of preparations you are making to prepare for retirement.

I consider myself to be a young individual still progressing in building a strong foundation for my future.  In summary, my preparation is like building a hamburger.  This includes the 3 layers consisting of the bottom bun, the meat/cheese, and the top crown.  My main focus has been the laying of my bottom bun.  This consists of my values, education, work history, etc.  When I finally meet these goal requirements, I’ll then add my additional garnishing (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, 401k, IRA, trust funds for my children, etc.) through my desired career.  Through this growth I’ll eventually be ready to lay down my crown and retire…

231. In what ways would an understanding of the U.S. tax code contribute to your preparations for release?

Understanding the U.S. Tax Code laws and regulations will help me avoid any further issues with the law.  By understanding the functions and legalities behind it I’ll be more at a financial advantage, for I’ll be capable of filing my own taxes.  In addition, I’ll be aware of my wage deductions, money owned to the government and tax returns.  All in all, by possessing the knowledge on the in’s and outs of the taxes codes.  I can live with comfort and confidence!

232. What is your understanding of entrepreneurship?

Prior to earning my incarceration, I was working toward building a small business teaching Mixed Martial Arts “MMA”.  Additionally, I wanted to sell MMA training equipment and sports nutritional products locally and through the Internet.  I have a strong understanding of the requirements needed to build and expand a business.  I understand various contracts such as bi/unilateral contracts.  Furthermore, the functions of Search Engine Optimization “SEO” and Paid Per-Click “PPC” as well as general marketing strategies for drawing traffic to my business.  After all, the owner doesn’t expand the business, the customers do…

233. What would you attribute as a primary reason for business failures in the United States, and why?

To my  knowledge and working with in the field of Internet Advertising and Marketing.  I’ve witnessed businesses fall apart due to poor management.  This constitutes in poor planning, a lack of knowledge in marketing tactics and strategies, and under capitalism.  Additionally, I’ve witnessed management fail to understand the true value of taking advantage of the wonderful world of Internet Search Engine Placement S.E.P.  The power to drive traffic to a business through Internet linking, keywords, etc gives a business the power to expand with more ease.  Like a fine wine, Search Engine Optimization gets better through time as well as the business.  Although this may be true, many times I’ve heard business owners say the words “I don’t believe in the Internet”.  The harsh reality of unplanned failure stems from the failure to properly plan, thus gaining a proper understanding on how to succeed.

234. If you were going to run your life as a business, how would you describe your preparation to succeed?

I began preparing for success many years ago in the U.S. Navy through self help, tech schooling and work experience.  Despite my current obstacle of facing an incarceration, I’m still progressing forward.  I’m taking care of business by furthering my knowledge and education on business.  But first, I’ve made it a goal in becoming a stronger and more assertive communicator, a better thinker, and greater modeled citizen by adhering to values and clearly defined goals.  I will continue enhancing my ability in becoming a better person for myself and others.  I’ve been doing this by only setting my sights of the negative aspects and liabilities of my life that have hindered my abilities in becoming a successful individual in the past.  By focusing on my negative traits and unfavorable blind-spots.  I can learn how to rectify these self defeating areas with in my life.  After I’ve successfully rectified these areas and dumped off my garbage.  I’ll then focus more on reaching for the sky – this time more objectively and with a clearer head and an opened mind.

235. What resources do you have available to you now?

An availability I’ve managed to engage myself in is the Michael G. Santos Foundation/Straight-A-Guide.  This has had a major impact on the building blocks of my future beyond incarceration.  In addition to my availabilities, I’ve successfully involved myself in a 500 hour Residential Drug Abuse Program aka R.D.A.P.  Although I’ve successfully earned a sentencing reduction upon completion of R.D.A.P.  I’ve gained something more beneficial for my future.  I’ve gained a stronger sense and understanding on how to deal with life’s challenges beyond imprisonment.  Furthermore, I’ve gained more values and tools to lead a meaningful, respectful, productive and addictive free life.  I’ve also learned how to build stronger relationships with others and how to choose my peers more objectively.  By integrating these to programs together as one.  I have enhanced my ability to achieve success after my incarceration and never again return prison.  Although this journey has rendered to be stressful and involve risk and struggles.  The greater these struggles have been, the more glorious the triumph now is!

236. What potential markets exist for you?

Over the last 12 years, I’ve been expanding my knowledge and expertise in (HAZMAT) Hazardous Material Transportation and Logistics.  This consisted of munitions, firearms, pyrotechnics and explosives material.  Occationally I’d be tasked to transport other forms of HAZMAT such as fuels, aircraft chemicals and so forth.  A high level of knowledge, responsibility and discipline comes with possessing this job field.  This experience was gained through the U.S. Navy.  Additionally, I’ve strengthened my public speaking skills and leadership qualities.  Furthermore, I’ve strengthened and accelerated my knowledge in physical fitness training and marketing strategies.  With this being said, the potential markets that exist for me and match my skill set are area’s with in the national and international shipping and transportation department.  Also the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Department of Energy (DOE).  Other avenues that exist for me are operating my own gym or starting my own personal training academy.  Although some of these marketing avenues may seem to far fetched for a felon to fulfill…  “That’s a mouthful.”  By following a strategic plan of action and strong values I can gain the knowledge to build the proper network needed to reach these heights.

237. What level of resources do you anticipate having on the day of your release?

I’m anticipating a high level of resources available for me upon my release.  In summary, throughout my incarceration, I’ve built a strong support network that has assisted me in overcoming my imprisonment safely and with more ease.  I have the faith in the willingness and care they possess to progress further in supporting me beyond prison.  I additionally have support through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for my medical needs and/or employment needs if needed.  Furthermore, I have the Internet, A/A and N/A, my church and most of all my Probation Officer.  These are resources and skilled help who increase my success rate beyond the prison gate.

238. What level of earnings do you project during your first three years after your release?

I’m looking into acquiring a job that offers benefits and a starting wage salary with in the realm of 45-55k a year.  Next to this, I plan on enrolling back into college and reactiving my Post 9/11 GI Bill with in the Bay Area.  This bill offers paid tuition fees, book fees and housing fees.  With in the time frame of 1-3 years after my release, I’m estimating a calculated figure of 65-80K a year.

239. What level of earnings do you project during your first decade after your release?

It is my goal to elevate my wage salary earnings up to $100,000 a year and beyond.  Through the future plans I’ve mapped out, I will achieve this.  Part of my plan of action is to not only focus on accelerating my own experience and knowledge with in my line of work.  I’ll also seek and discover new methods and idea’s for the company I’m with in to expand and grow as well.  Whether it’s creating a new product line and/or new platform to take on – if the company can grow, the staff members can grow as well.  Therefore resulting in the elevation of my own financial and career growth.

240. What action steps can you begin taking to increase your financial literacy?

As a prisoner, I’ll continue further my financial literacy through self-help books and magazines.  I’ve also expressed a level of humility and willingness to reach out to other prisoners with in the facilities to gain a stronger understanding of the world of finances.  In spite of this being a federal prison.  There are still individuals with in the prison who possess a high level of knowledge in area’s such as stocks, retirement and finances.  I believe it to be highly beneficial for anyone coming into a federal prison to seek out individuals of this nature – after running them through the S.W.O.T. Technique.  Many of them have a wide varity of knowledge and experience to offer…  Later, after I’ve transitioned back into the community, I plan on furthering my education through college and the Internet.

241. What relationship do academic credentials have to enhancing financial literacy?

Credentials, in summary, expresses the level of intelligence an individual has towards the subject matter at hand.  To a greater extent, if I look at persons academic credentials deeper and from a different introspect.  This conveys their level of discipline, dedication and commitment with in the persons will to learn and achieve.  The relationship between academic credentials such as mathematics, reading and writing and communication all work hand and hand with financial literacy.  Strengthening ones academic credentials sharpens a persons level in retaining the knowledge delivered, thus executing the knowledge possessed.  By possessing high academic credentials – through time, this will support them in heightening their understanding towards the functions of the monetary system to a greater extent.  The more a person commits themselves in expanding their minds, the more they master the art of understanding much.

242. In what ways would fluency with mathematical concepts and equations enhance your potential earning power or opportunities upon release?

Enhancing my fluency in mathematical concepts will open new avenues of opportunity for me beyond release.  This will strengthen my ability to gain potential employment opportunities with in area’s that involve accountability.  The ability to maintain order, stock and inventory or even payroll with in a business makes me a potential asset to the company.  Additionally, I’ll have the ability to understand the stock market and balancing out company revenue.  With is in mind, I’ll have the power to expand businesses and enhance my percentage on becoming more successful…  1 strong mind + 1ME x 2gether = 4titude

243. In what ways would developing your skill with regard to reading, writing, and speaking enhance your potential earning power or opportunities upon release?

Developing strong reading, writing and speaking skills will promote my success after prison.  This will grant me the ability to properly fill out job applications, create my own resumes and more.  Additionally, it will better assist me in properly speaking and selling myself to prospective employers.  Collectively, this will without a doubt enhance my chances in landing employment.  Looking at it from another angle, this will benefit me in communicating with authoritative members such as my probation officer, halfway house staff or peace officers.  Lastly, I can even continue building up my network of skilled help and positive peers.

244. Describe the types of books that might broaden your financial literacy and thus help you prepare for success upon release?

Books that have broadened my financial literacy are textbooks pertaining to various levels of mathematical education.  I’ve also used self-help books such as Basic Financial Knowledge and Finances for Dummies.  Furthermore, I’ve utilized magazines like Forbes, Economists and Entrepreneur.  All of these resources have assisted me in broadening my knowledge on financial literacy.  As a prisoner, there are limitations the prison has to offer on furthering their education on financial literacy.  A prisoner would need to exercise their own willingness and initiative to order their own self-help text/workbooks.

245. What resources will you rely upon to make financial decisions in your future?

The resources I can rely on when making financial decisions are the tools I’ve gained through the Straight-A-Guide and the Residential Drug Abuse Program.  I can run my thoughts through the Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats Technique (SWOT) to weigh the pros and cons of my decision.  I can even create a formatted grid utilizing the quadrant theory technique.  Furthermore, I can run my thoughts through the 5 rules of rational thinking to look ahead of the possible consequences and see if my choice will help me meet my short and long-term goals.  I’ll additionally use my support network to assist me in brainstorming my ideas.  But above all, I’ll exercise my ability to make proper valued based investment decisions…

246. To what extent do you anticipate investment decisions having a role in your future?

Investment decisions will strongly influence my life after prison.  I have a lot of rebuilding of relationships and reconstructing of my life that has to be done.  Earning this incarceration created a powerful ripple effect that destroyed many of my past relationships and trust with in society.  It will help me to understand the value of my choices.  Further, I need to understand if my decisions will only be based satisfying my short-term goals or benefit me in the long-run?  The decisions I make could dictate the success or failure of my life after imprisonment.  I want every decision I make to be one that will benefit my life, my children’s lives and our future.  An investment in the knowledge to make the right decision always pays the best interest, for a good decision could also lead to a good return on investment R.O.I.

247. Describe the resources you anticipate relying upon as you advance in age.

Resources I’ll need to depend on as I grow older are a steady flow of income.  I’ll also need medical care and dental care.  But as I advance further in age.  It would gratefully benefit me in investing income into retirement, for I can’t work forever.  So I’ll want to look into investing in a Roth IRA or 401k.  Additionally through time, I want to continue advancing my support network of skilled help and positive people.

248. What role will these resources play in sustaining your life?

All of these roles will play a strong factor in sustaining the balance of my life.  They will help me to live comfortably and worry free.  It will keep me rooted – protecting my physical health, emotional health and relationships.  Additionally they’ll help me meet my daily survival needs as well as my children’s needs.  To a further extent, it will assist me in one day being able to lay my crown-down on top of my hamburger aka retire!

249. How will you adjust your tolerance for risk as you age?

I will continue advancing my knowledge on nutrition and healthy living.  I’ll especially stay active in maintaining a well disciplined physical fitness regiment to stay fit.  Moreover, I’ll practice and commit myself in living in congruence with the “Activity Theory”.  According to gerontology studies, if I stay physically active as an adult and with in my elderly years.  This will add years to my life.  With this being said, I’ll participate in more recreational activities with my children.  I’ll have more fun with my family and friends.  I’ll even involve myself in more sporting activities as well as create more hobbies.  Other means of advancing my tolerance are to save up and build up enough income to live free of worry.  Additionally, I’ll want to have enough income invested into my IRA and/or 401k.

250. What influence would another problem with the criminal justice system have upon your financial stability?

Everything I’ve established would be meaningless if I failed to live my life in accordance to my values and it constituted in earning another incarceration.  The damaging consequences – like a wrecking ball will destroy everything I’ve worked for.  I will lose the trust and respect from family and positive peers and my support network.  I will also lose my possessions and the foundation I’ve created for my life.  Additionally I’ll be required to pay more court and attorney fees.  The ripple effect would be more devastating, for this discredits all I’ve accomplished to overcome my past failures.  But more then anything, these actions that constitute in earning time back in prison becomes an outside condition for my children…  They’ll be forced to mature without their daddy.  This could later lead them in following irrational behavior themselves and constitute in them suffer the same adversity as I did.  This linear belief window I’ve created through my own irrational actions becomes their cognition.  In spite of the fact the I don’t truly know what my future holds for me; I do know who holds my future.  Without a doubt, I plan to never again return back to prison.


Phillip Jamison/ Class 10: Leadership Training



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