The Carr Report: Earl Crawley: From parking attendant to millionaire

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine sent me a video detailing the story of Earl Crawley. After receiving the video, I have since shared his story in several speaking engagements that I’ve had over the years. His story is a story of inspiration and hope. It’s a story that states no matter how humble your beginnings are in life, you can do some amazing things.

As I was pondering on something to write about, it dawned on me that although I’ve spoken about Earl several times, I’ve never shared Earl’s story with those who read my column. You’re in for a treat. Meet Earl, the parking attendant who retired rich!

For 44 years, Mr. Earl Crawley has been a fixture at a Baltimore parking lot, working diligently as an attendant. His modest booth, a simple green shack, is more than just a place to manage the parking lot—it doubles as an informal pulpit where he shares his financial wisdom. Despite earning a humble wage, people often turn to Mr. Earl for financial advice, a testament to his remarkable journey of resilience, wisdom and the power of investing.

Mr. Earl’s earnings never exceeded $12 an hour, with his annual income maxing out at around $20,000. Yet, he managed to amass a net worth of over half a million dollars. This feat, achieved on a parking lot wage, is nothing short of extraordinary.

Earl’s financial education began early. At the tender age of 13, he worked at fruit stalls to help his family pay bills. His mother allowed him to keep a few quarters, teaching him the value of saving from a young age. This early lesson in financial discipline set the stage for his future endeavors. Remarkably, Earl is dyslexic—a condition that, in the 1950s, often relegated individuals to low-wage manual labor jobs. Despite this challenge, Earl developed a keen sense for managing money.

Earl’s journey began with small steps. He started saving using saving stamps and bonds. By 26, he was married and supporting three children on a weekly income of $80. The family made significant sacrifices, particularly when Earl and his wife, Beverly, decided to send their children to Catholic school. This decision meant additional financial strain, but Earl took on extra jobs to cover the tuition. His children recall him meticulously managing every penny, often giving them exact change for school lunches and always asking for the leftover cents.

Despite these financial pressures, Earl never stopped saving. He began investing $25 each month into a mutual fund, a habit he maintained for 15 years. By the late 1970s, his disciplined saving had grown his net worth to $25,000. As his children grew older, Earl ventured into the stock market, humorously referring to it as “playing” the market. He started with one share of stock and gradually expanded his investments.

Earl focused on blue-chip stocks, purchasing shares in companies like IBM and Coca-Cola, which paid dividends. Instead of spending these dividends, he reinvested them, allowing his shares to grow and compound over time. This disciplined approach significantly increased his wealth over the years.

Working in the heart of Baltimore’s financial district provided Earl with daily opportunities to interact with brokers, bankers, and lawyers. He listened intently to their advice, absorbing knowledge about mutual funds, blue-chip stocks, and the power of compound interest. Earl’s ability to listen and apply what he learned played a crucial role in his financial success.

Today, Earl’s stock portfolio is valued at over half a million dollars. His house is fully paid off, and he carries no credit card debt. Earl’s financial journey is not just a story of successful investing, but also a testament to his character and determination.

But Earl’s story doesn’t end with his personal financial success. He is committed to paying it forward. Earl has started gifting shares from his portfolio to individuals like Brenda Thomas, who never imagined they could invest. Brenda now proudly owns 77 shares of Coca-Cola, thanks to Earl’s advice and generosity. This act of giving is part of Earl’s broader goal: he wants every member of his church to own stock and pass it down to their family members, creating a legacy of financial literacy and security.

Reflecting on his journey, Earl attributes his success to his ability to listen and act on advice. He believes his dyslexia was a blessing in disguise, helping him develop a keen sense of listening. “I always used to say I was the dumbest thing in school, but God gave me the gift to listen and act on it,” he says. Earl’s story is a powerful reminder that financial wisdom and success are accessible to everyone, regardless of their starting point.

From his modest booth, Earl Crawley continues to inspire and guide others, preaching the gospel of investments and demonstrating that financial success is attainable through discipline, education, and consistent action. His journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and the incredible impact of small, consistent steps over time. Earl Crawley’s life story exemplifies that with determination and sound financial habits, anyone can achieve financial stability and success.

Earl is indeed a pearl! His story is amazing and impressive.

(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached at 412-216-1013 or visit his website @



About Post Author


From the Web

Skip to content