investing

Investing With Nickels and Dimes

Earl Crawley, 69, better known as Mr. Earl, earns $20,000 a year as a parking-lot attendant. But he has amassed a stock portfolio worth more than $500,000.

How did you get started investing? Soon after I started working for Mercantile Bank in Baltimore 44 years ago, one of the bankers took me aside and told me I didn't have enough education to go very far at the bank. He suggested I invest in stocks.

Where did you get the money? I did it with good old-fashioned nickels and dimes. My mother taught me how to budget, which made me appreciate how a little money can grow. I saved what I could from odd jobs, such as lawn-cutting and window-washing, that I did in addition to my day job. I used that money to buy one share of IBM stock back in 1981.

How did you learn how to invest? I really didn't know enough to be scared. In school I was considered a slow learner -- dyslexic, it's called now. My true gift from God is my ability to listen, and that's how I'm able to ask questions and use tips from the brokers, financial planners and bank customers I see every day.

Do you have a formula for picking stocks? When I first started out, I had to be conservative and take my time because I couldn't afford to lose money. Now I look for companies with stability that pay dividends. I read the stock pages but don't claim to know everything about them. I have a broker, but many times I'll go where my spirit leads me.

Any stocks you're excited about now? I've been buying shares of ExxonMobil.

We've heard that you're helping others invest. I started an investment club at my church. And I've been coaching a couple of young men, such as bar-and-grill cook Antawn Davenport and Dana Mouse Smith, who toured with the late rapper Tupac Shakur. They can help spread the message that people can do whatever they set their minds to do.

Crawley is featured in the current season of the PBS TV show "MoneyTrack." Watch the video.

-- Interview by David Benjamin

Most Popular

13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits
social security

13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits

You may have dreamed of a tax-free retirement, but if you live in these 13 states, your Social Security benefits are subject to a state tax. That's on…
October 4, 2021
10 Best Stocks for Rising Interest Rates
stocks

10 Best Stocks for Rising Interest Rates

The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering near its highest level in months. Here are 10 of the best stocks to buy in a rising interest-rate environment.
September 30, 2021
How Big of a Threat Does Inflation Pose to Your Retirement?
retirement

How Big of a Threat Does Inflation Pose to Your Retirement?

You might be surprised how much inflation can nibble away at your retirement nest egg over time if you aren’t prepared.
October 3, 2021

Recommended

10 Year-End Moves to Lower Your 2021 Tax Bill
taxes

10 Year-End Moves to Lower Your 2021 Tax Bill

What you do between now and the end of the year can have a significant impact on how much tax you have to pay next April.
October 19, 2021
The Pros and Cons of Target Date Funds with Tony Drake
Financial Planning

The Pros and Cons of Target Date Funds with Tony Drake

The simplicity of target date funds has made them popular, particularly among 401(k) savers. But investors may be paying a price.
October 19, 2021
Retiring in Uncertain Times? Try the Bucket Strategy!
Budgeting

Retiring in Uncertain Times? Try the Bucket Strategy!

For retirement savers who want to help make sure their money lasts as long as they do, this very basic planning method is an oldie but a goodie.
October 19, 2021
12 States That Won't Tax Your Retirement Income
Tax Breaks

12 States That Won't Tax Your Retirement Income

Retirees can save a lot of money in these states that completely exempt the most common types of retirement income – 401(k)s, IRAs and pensions – from…
October 19, 2021