Seth Ferranti/ Class 9: Financial Literacy
223. How would you gauge your level of financial literacy today?
I would say my financial situation is not great but I have family members willing to help me and I have a plan to find people to invest in my company and in my ideas. Me and my wife have a house and we have Gorilla Convict so that is a foundation but I am looking forward to working full time and over time to expand Gorilla Convict’s money making ability. I feel I will have a lot of opportunity to do this when I get out and I definitely feel that I am the man for the job. All my immediate needs should be met when I get out and with Gorilla Convict I have something to build on. I am not planning on getting rich with this company, it is a niche orientated business selling gangster and true crime books, but I believe I can bring the company to its financial potential and I believe I can make a living off this company for me and my wife. But I have more plans than just that. This is just what I will have going for me immediately.
224. To what extent would you suppose that financial literacy relates to your probability for success upon release?
I am lucky that my family is willing to help me out with my immediate needs like clothing. Transportation, communications and insurance. With the house my wife has I am good for a place to live and with the book company I am good for a job and something to pursue and build. The book company is already making a profit but with me out there working full time at it the profit can be increased substantially considering that my wife just works at it part time when she has the chance on the weekends. (she works a regular job during the week) But with the house, the company and my family helping with my immediate needs I will be straight right when I come home but anything after that I will have to work hard and long hours to insure my success and my financial literacy.
225. What opportunities exist for prisoners to improve their financial literacy?
I am looking into all different avenues including public speaking and consultation, but that is for when I get out. For prisoners you can make investments, some play the stock market, options or futures. If that is beyond a prisoners means you can work at Unicor and save money or you can hustle ont he compound washing clothes, cleaning shoes, cleaning rooms and making food for people. There are a lot of dudes in here that like to pay other people to do menial chores and tasks for them. So if youare motivated you can always make money and then you just have to save and save and save. Ihave been building my writing career and publishing house from in here (with the help of my wife) so that is another way to make money and provide for your future.
226. How would you summarize the total costs of your imprisonment?
It has been expensive, i would estimate 300-500 a month for going on 19 years now, that I have had sent in and spent. so you are looking at $3600 to $6000 a year that my family has been spending on me. Since I ahve been writing for publication and getting paid for it, since around 2005, I have eased that a bit but the burden still falls on them and I am lucky they are in the position to help me or I would have to be working at Unicor or hustling in here and might not have been able to make the progress I have with my writing career. They also paid for my college course which totaled 150 college credit hours at about $200 a credit hour plus the books so that is a lot of money there also. So like I said I am glad and lucky that they have been in that position to assist me in that manner.
227. Describe ways in which in an understanding of the stock market may help you value investment opportunities.
If you understand the ebbs and flow of the stock market and other financial markets you can better know how to invest your money to make it grow. In prison you have lots of time to learn different things and keep track of stocks and test your knowledge of them by do faux pas buys and sells and keeping records of your successes and losses so that when you get some real money to invest you will already be in practice and know what you are doing. You can go to the library and read the financial papers, there are always floating around. Its like the old saying “If there is a will there is a way.” SO by reading the financial papers, reading any books you can find on the subject and watching any shows you can on the stock and financial markets you can in effect, through trial and error, teach yourself.
228. How would improving skills to analyze the fundamentals of a particular stock lead to becoming a better small businessman?
By analyzing the market trends and things of that nature you can better situate yourself to be knowledgeable of different business ventures. By understanding the market conditions you will be able to see things in the business world more clearly. This will enable you to see what business’s might be worth opening when you get out and then you can develop a plan and proposal and have it ready so when you are released you can seek funding in a variety of ways to start your own small business in whatever field you have determined has definite possibilities for success.
229. Describe the level of thought you are giving to your financial future.
I give a lot of thought to my financial future. I have definite plans and ideas and goals that I wish to implement and achieve. I have specific things I plan to do when I get out to make money and advance my business opportunities in the world. Opportunities that are not available to me now because of my incarceration. I plan to take every advantage of this opportunity when I get out and they will have a direct affect on my financial future.
230. Describe the level of preparations you are making to prepare for retirement.
I have not as yet made any preparations for retirement. But when I get out and make money in the many different avenues and ventures I have planned I will start making a plan for retirement. But that is far from my mind right now. I have to make the first jump to making money and being a success in the world and then I will worry about retirement. I have done almost 2 decades in prison and retirement is the farther thing from my mind right now I plan to work as long as possible on the different and varying ventures that I ahve set up for myself and that I plan on doing upon release.
231. In what ways would an understanding of the U.S. tax code contribute to your preparations for release?
Understanding the tax code could contribute to my preparations for release. I would say I have a rudimentary knowledge of the tax code but I have not studied it in depth. There are certain things that I am well versed in and certain things that I will rely ont he expertise of others for and currently understanding the tax code is something that I will delegate to someone else. But I could see the benefits of knowing and understanding it. Most definitely.
232. What is your understanding of entrepreneurship?
I have a very good understanding of entrepreneurship as I have founded, started, nurtured and helped to run and grow a business from in here. I have been very instrumental in every decision for Gorilla Convict and I will continue to do so. I have learned a lot through trial and error and I am still learning. Besides books, the company has now expanded into t-shirts, posters and stickers. We will continue to put out books and the other merchandise to increase our product line and brand our company name. I will continue to do marketing and promotions as I have for the last 7 years from here. I am a tireless self promoter and I will continue to do what I have done with the entrepreneurial spirit I have developed in the launching of this company and creating something from basically nothing, just an idea and plan I had in my mind.
233. What would you attribute as a primary reason for business failures in the United States, and why?
The primary reason for business failures in the United States is mismanagement and lack of foresight. People don’t know what they are doing and that extends to the fact that they start a business in the wrong place at the wrong time without looking at the market or the long term potential or success of the business they are starting. Just because you are starting a business you want to start does not mean it will be successful several other factors come into play the most important being supply and demand. You can pent he bst restaurant in the world but if its in a bad location there is no demand for the food you are making. The same with products you can have the best product in the world but if no one knows about it how will they know to buy it or where to get it. SO the mismanagement extends to the research that you should do before you open a business up, all factors should be analyzed and put into play before the business is opened so you know what youa re facing and what your chances of success are.
234. If you were going to run your life as a business, how would you describe your preparation to succeed?
You would have to do research on the various aspects which would directly and indirectly affect you. You would have to have a plan. You would have to allocate resources. You would have to know what your doing and hire outside expert opinions to consult with on things you didn’t know. You would have to hire outside experts to do certain things. If you want to have a successful life you have to put some time and effort into your life plan. If you don’t you will be mismanaging your life as so many people in this world do going from event to event haphazardly and with no plan. I didn’t have a plan or a concrete goal before I came to prison except to make money and be the biggest drug dealer I could and look where it got me. Now I have a concrete plan and I have been doing my homework and putting in the necessary effort to bring my plan to fruition.
235. What resources do you have available to you now?
I have limited resources, but I have a company, a vocation, a loving family who will help me when I come home, a loving wife who will provide a home for me and I have the knowledge and contacts I have gained over the last 10 years or so where I have been actively working toward my eventual release and preparing myself for success upon that release. So money wise my resources aren’t much but all my other resources are in good shape. A lot of people just think of money as resources but all I have listed are my resources and I will use them to help me be successful and live a crime and drug free live on the outside and become a productive member of society.
236. What potential markets exist for you?
I believe there are a lot of potential markets that exist for me and for the products I am already producing with Gorilla Convict. I will expand Gorilla Convict, the products we offer and I will work on getting more visibility and promotion for those products which will lead to more sales and I will work on getting national distribution deals in place to increase the units that we have available for sale in stores. I will also put myself out there as a consultant and public speaker and I will get involved in other projects that I wish to pursue including video game production, documentary and film production and other literary forms of production in line with Gorilla Convict.
237. What level of resources do you anticipate having on the day of your release?
I anticipate having all the above listed resources and about $20,000 from my family to meet my immediate needs. I feel this will be sufficient to get clothes, communications, transportation and insurance that I will need. Everything else I will have to work for. I have no problem with that. I am a hard worker and I am ready to work hard and bring all my projects to the market and expand what I am doing with Gorilla Convict already and get it in more markets also.
238. What level of earnings do you project during your first three years after your release?
At first I will work whatever job is necessary for my halfway house stay and to keep my probation officer happy. But as I show that I am not bullshiting and that I am serious about life and staying crime and drug free I will ask my probation officer to let me work for my company Gorill Convict full time. I am sure that I can take this company to increased levels of revenue if I am allowed to work full time running it. After I accomplish my goals with that and take the company as far as it can go I will move on to other projects like film, dvds and video games. I will be happy to make enough to live on when I get out but I anticipate to make more in the first three years. I believe the sky is the limit.
239. What level of earnings do you project during your first decade after your release?
After my first decade of life I project to be a leader in the entertainment industry with my own production company and making big moves in Hollywood and the entertainment world including books, clothes, music, film, documentaries, video games, graphic novels and more. I believe I will be firmly in position to pursue the things I want to pursue project wise and bring my vision to the public and masses through the Internet and other multi media forums.
240. What action steps can you begin taking to increase your financial literacy?
I have already taken a lot of actions to increase my financial literacy. I have founded and started the book company and now it is branching into different merchandising options like t-shirts, posters and stickers. I have written extensively for my website at gorillaconvict.com and other magazines, websites and forums trying to establish myself as a writer and expert on prison life and urban gangsters and prison gangs and things of that nature. I have done as much as I can from where I am at with the restrictions I am faced with. When I get out I will be able to do so much more it will be like taking the handcuffs off finally. I am ready.
241. What relationship do academic credentials have to enhancing financial literacy?
It is a proven fact that people with college degrees make more than people without. It is also a proven fact that prisoners who earn college degrees are less likely to succumb to recidivism. I have earned three college degrees during my incarceration so I hope that all the statistics prove true in my favor. I will continue to work hard to insure all this. I will work hard to enhance my financial literacy from here and when I get out and continue to work hard and put in the maximum effort to the best of my abilities.
242. In what ways would fluency with mathematical concepts and equations enhance your potential earning power or opportunities upon release?
Fluency with mathematical concepts and equations would enhance your potential earning power or opportunities upon release because in business a quick mind with mathematics and equations will prevail. If you are able to understand the facts and figures and put things together quicker this will enhance your chances to do better at business and to get a better job or position wherever you end up.
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 your skill with regard to reading, writing and speaking would also enhance your potential earning power and opportunities upon release. Employers are looking for people with these basic skills so the more advanced you are in regards to these the better position and job you will be able to get. I have been working on my writing abilities for a minute now and I have gotten good but I figure I can still get better. There is always rom for improvement. I am working on my public speaking now also so that I can speak clearly and enunciate clearly and be understood as to what I am saying and the message I am trying to convey.
244. Describe the types of books that might broaden your financial literacy and thus help you prepare for success upon release?
Books that show the habits of highly successful people, self help books, books that teach different things. I ahve been reading a lot of social media marketing books and stuff about facebook and other social media sites to see how I can utilize them to enhance my books and how I can market using the social media sites and forums. I have also been reading a lot of exercise and diet books so that I can keep my body in the best shape possible as I hope to be on TV and I know I will have to look good so that I appear good on camera and in front of people.
245. What resources will you rely upon to make financial decisions in your future?
I will rely on the same resources I ahve been the last few years. I will continue to ask questions of and inquire of my family as to how they do different things financially so that I will have a foundation in that knowledge and will be able to dot he things necessary that I need to do to secure my future financial freedom.
246. To what extent do you anticipate investment decisions having a role in your future?
I will invest in my ideas and my visions rather than invest in what you would call regular investment opportunities. I will get other people to invest in my ideas and visions. I will be the one who directs the projects and oversees them and the one who puts in the work to make sure they are done and done correctly. That will be my role in investments and the decisions I will be making regarding that will be which one of my projects to bring to the table.
247. Describe the resources you anticipate relying upon as you advance in age.
I anticipate relying on whatever resources I have at hand. My philosophy is you make money to spend money. There is always more money to be made so I see no reason to save or hoard it. As long as me and my family are comfortable I am good. I do not need to live an extravagant life I just want to have enough money to make my wife happy and secure. So whatever she wants to put aside I will make sure it happens so as we advance in age we are taken care of accordingly. But for real I intend to work and pursue the different projects I will be pursuing into an advanced age or as long as I can.
248. What role will these resources play in sustaining your life?
I would say they will play a role in sustaining my life because as I see it with science heading in the directions it is heading there may be more opportunities for those with the necessary resources to live longer and healthier lives and if I am in the position to access something like that I will. I do understand that money will be needed for anything like that and I do intend to make whatever money I need. I would also like to establish trusts for my children (when I have them) and my wife, who I will always love and support with all my being.
249. How will you adjust your tolerance for risk as you age?
I will adjust my tolerance for risk accordingly. No one wants to think about aging but it is a fact of life. I intend to live a long time and I intend to accomplish a lot. I feel I am in good health and I will continue to work out and eat healthy with the objective of extending my life as long as possible and I also plan to keep working and stay busy so that my mind is always occupied. I believe the secret to a long life is to balance your mind, body and soul accordingly and give them what they need in the proper balance.
250. What influence would another problem with the criminal justice system have upon your financial stability?
I have done enough time and I don’t plan on doing anymore. I was young and reckless and didn’t reckon with the consequences of my actions. I better realize what the consequences for living a criminal lifestyle entail and I will definitely not go down that road again. I have done long enough inside that I am through with that life. It is something of the past that I satisfied my curiosity with to the extent that I have basically grown up in prison. I have literally became a man in prison. i look back now and know that I had so much ability but for whatever reason I didn’t use it. So now I am trying to live up to my potential and best ability and accomplish what I can accomplish in the time I have allotted left.