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Ron Speaker pays it forward

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Ron Speaker credits the guidance of his mentors, Tom Bailey and Michael McGoldrick, for where he is today: a successful investor and wealth manager. Now 58 years old, Speaker is looking toward his legacy.

Ever since McGoldrick, “a walking encyclopedia of financial history knowledge,” passed away in late 2021, it’s all about connections for Speaker. “Death is a great advisor,” he said. “When we lose our friends and lose our mentors, we think about our lives.”

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He’s opening the doors at 55 North Fourth Street in Carbondale, previously home to Equus Private Wealth, as headquarters for The Finance Camp, a week-long initiative to teach 10 students, ages 14-17, informed investing skills that evade many adults.

“If they can leave with a perspective of Wall Street, the jobs that are on Wall Street, what a stock broker does versus an investment banker, and then how Wall Street permeates throughout the whole economy,” it will be a success, Speaker told The Sopris Sun. He and co-educator Jay Wolitski will teach the history and mechanics of Wall Street and more.

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“I love history because history just shapes so much,” Speaker said. He will share film clips from “Trading Places,” “Wall Street” and “The Big Short.”

Running June 12-16, the camp “is not intended to be a rich kids camp,” he explained. It’s about giving tools to any kid eager for success and willing to work for it. The class will be free, but the selection process is competitive. Prospective students are encouraged to complete their application with attention to detail, thinking about how they can stand out among their peers.

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Beyond investing, the course is designed to hone professional skills for business and life. Speaker was enthusiastic to share about a business lunch etiquette component that was recently added to the curriculum. Alexandra Yajko will teach soft skills, like proper introductions and eye contact, at a formal luncheon catered by a private chef. “I think manners are really important,” Speaker said.

At the end of the five days, each student will walk away with practical knowledge and an investment account with seed funding from The Finance Camp. The initial $500 deposit will be earned through community service prior to the course beginning, and an additional $750 will be given for passing an exam at the week’s conclusion. Then, the student who has grown their capital the most by the end of 2023 will receive a $5,000 grand prize.

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“If they can keep that account alive, it will impact their future,” he said.

Speaker’s father never bought a stock, he admitted. His investment career began with a summer internship in the mail room at Janus Capital Group at the age of 20. Working his way up, he became a portfolio manager and analyst and traveled the country and world. It was 1986 when he began, before digital spreadsheets and cell phones.

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Within the trajectory of history, Speaker notes that new technologies like Robinhood are making investing easier, but also “ringing bells and flashy lights, rewarding you for taking action versus being patient … dopamine, basically.” Nonetheless, “more people interested in taking charge of their financial affairs is good.”

His style leans more toward patience than instant gratification. “Become an investor as early as you can and try to keep your hands off it, because you want your money working for you instead of you always working for the money,” he advised. “It’s not about gambling.”

Applications are stacking up, and the deadline to apply is April 15. Speaker hopes to attract a diverse cadre of “freshman to juniors, not on their way out of town.” He foresees offering future sessions every year, perhaps producing an online course and later a workbook to teach at schools.

For persons too old to apply to The Finance Camp, Speaker insists there are more resources readily available than ever before for anyone willing to learn. He recommends starting with “Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed and Happiness” by Morgan Housel. Or, for his other financial education offerings, you can visit

For interested youth, the application and course outline can be found at

Tags: #investing #mentorship #Michael McGoldrick #retirement #Ron Speaker #The Finance Camp #Wall Street #Youth
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