Blog post #13
People usually talk about ‘get rich quick’ schemes. The greatest scheme is the very notion that one could get rich quickly at all. As an island boy from Trinidad, and one from a ‘hotspot’ no less, opportunities are much less than say in the greener more developed pastures of a UK or the US for example. But on our small islands within the Caribbean, and Trinidad and Tobago in particular, there are opportunities which we sometimes unfortunately let pass us by.
I’m not a millionaire, and certainly don’t claim to hold the keys to riches. Further-more money is not an answer to all of our problems, but it is an answer to many. There’s a reason Benjamin Franklin’s face is on the US $100 bill. His autobiography and famous pamphlet ‘Poor Richard’s Almanac’ spoke to the virtues of frugality, thrift, and diligence in advancing one’s station in life. He once wrote to himself in his own personal journal under the heading - “Plan for Future Conduct”: “To apply myself industriously to whatever business I take in hand, and not divert my mind from my business by any foolish project of suddenly growing rich; for industry and patience are the surest means of plenty.”
Black people the world over, and especially in the western hemisphere, - as the decedents of slaves and the historically disenfranchised – have historically been economically left behind. I've viewed it in the following manner: The 19th century saw the abolition of slavery, the 20th century the introduction of civil and political rights, and the present 21st century with the new frontier being economic liberation. This begins with financial literacy, of the most basic kind.
In Trinidad and Tobago, we have something called the TTSE – Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange. Apparently it appears to be the biggest secret on the twin island Republic. It isn't a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, and like any other financial endeavor it can certainly become a ‘get broke quick’ scheme if one doesn't learn the ‘rules of the game’. Learning about money and how it operates in the 21st century is something that one should start doing from a young age, and if you're already up in age then there's no time like the present. I bought my first share in a company when I turned 18 years old. By the time I was 16, I was reading Benjamin Graham’s ‘The Intelligent Investor’ and begging my dad to buy shares in companies on the TTSE for me, on his name. He refused and insisted I did so when I turned 18. I did, and when I recently went back to Trinidad I sold some of the same shares I had bought all the way back then, on a profit. It came in handy as some much needed spare change.
Now, the intention is not to think that you’re going to get rich, but starting from young and learning about different financial instruments is placing oneself in a better position to capitalize on opportunities in the future. Believe me!
It’s not too hard to get started, all you have to do is:
I’ve used Caribbean Stock Brokers Limited from the time I started because they allowed me to start small, many of the other brokerage firms insisted on $1000TT as a minimum for starting an account.
You should read up before you get started though, ignorance isn't bliss when money is involved. I’ll recommend Benjamin Graham’s ‘Intelligent Investor’ as a good starting point & there's always the Internet.
Miks...checking in after a long time!👊🏼
Remember, the only thing to fear is fear itself…
Mikhail E.D. Byng was born in Trinidad. He is the author of Off the Island and a graduate student at the University of Belgrade. He speaks Serbian and English.
Trinbagonian. Traveler. Believer in God. Believer in Creation. Life long Student. Sports enthusiast.