1980 – 1997 – Early Childhood Years
I can remember some of my childhood very vividly. The little island boy, living on the beautiful Caribbean Island of St. Maarten. Born to Antonio and Sarafina Samuel, right there on the little 32 square mile island on the 8th day of the 8th month in 1980. The first few years of my life were fun. I was a tiny child (extremely tiny) with a loud mouth. From the time I was born, there was an energy and enthusiasm that permeated my very being – a fun-loving child that enjoyed being with people.
As a child, I enjoyed taking things apart. Anytime I got an electronic toy, like a remote control car, or something of the sort, I ended up taking it apart to see how it worked. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to always put it back together.
I was also heavily into music. I started taking piano lessons at the age of 11 or 12. However, I hated the structure of my piano lessons and decided to quite after 1 year. That didn't stop me from learning to play though. With a piano at home, I spent a significant amount of time trying to figure it out on my own. I ended up playing for a number of choirs and groups.
In High School, my favorite subjects were Science and Math. There was something about the process of the Scientific Method and the calculations involved in Higher Math Classes that really got me going.
I graduated from High School in 1997, and was excited to move on to College in the U.S.A. – land of opportunity. I was very interested in science and decided to major in Chemistry.
My Parent's Influence
I was born into a Christian family, and that played a major role in making me who I am today. My family woke up early in the morning to worship together. My parents always encouraged me to do my best and were there for me throughout it all.
My father was a banker and always trying to get my siblings and I to evaluate what were doing, always keeping the big picture in mind. Every decision he made was a calculated one, and he tried to instill this in us from a very young age.
My mother is a fun-loving person. As a teacher, she dealt well with young people. My friends enjoyed being around her. She always had a positive way of looking at things and recollected numerous funny stories that she could share at the drop of a dime.
I've learnt a lot from my parents, and they have taught me so much about life. Their encouraging words have always been in the back of my mind, convincing me that I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to.
1997 – 2003 My College Years
At the tender age of 17, I left home to move to America to pursue Higher Education. However, I was young and away from home. No more rules, I could do whatever I wanted to do (within the rules of the academic institution I attended). My official major was Chemistry, but my unofficial major was having fun.
I started making many friends from the time I set my feet on the campus of Andrews University. It was all very new to me, but making friends was the same old game. I quickly forgot the main reason I went to college and unfortunately my grades suffered significantly.
This did not last forever, but did have significant effects (as you can see it took me 6 years to graduate). A series of events (ranging from spiritual to academic) lead to me turning my life around and I quickly rose to the top of my classes, to the extent that I was the go-to guy for help in the classes I took.
My Stock Market Crash
It was in 1999 that I first felt my entrepreneurial drive. A friend of mine was dabbling in the stock market and was making a descent amount of money with it. I was fascinated by the stock market and asked him if he would teach me to do what he did.
I remember watching the stock tickers regularly, researching different companies that I would be interested in. After a while I was able to make predictions that were relatively accurate, determining which direction a stock would go based on a number of factors.
It was at this point that I made some of the biggest mistakes in my financial journey. I decided to take $6,000 of my tuition money and invested it in 1 company. I do not remember the name of the company, but I do remember that the stock symbol was QNET.
I remember watching the stock closely as my funds increased to $6,600 and then back down to $5,600, up again to $6,600 and down again a few times. On one terrible day, I remember my funds dropping to $4,800 because something terrible happened to the company.
That was a painful drop. HOWEVER, contrary to what the market was telling me, I felt so terrible about loosing that $2,000 that I decided to keep my money in that stock until it came back up. It HAD TO come back up in my opinion. Unfortunately this didn’t happen, and the value of my invested funds went down to $3,000, then $2,000 and continued dropping until it plummeted to $136.
At this point I was in a very desperate position and ended up selling my stock for $136 because I needed the money for my portion of the rent (which at that point was $162.50.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of My Journey To Freebies.