Friday, November 09, 2007

A tale of a great investor, Earl Crawley

From Eddy Elfenbein:

Ok, I’d admit I’m a sap for these kinds of stories, but c’mon...this is great. Earl Crawley, a 69-year-old Baltimore parking lot attendant who makes $20,000 a year has amassed a portfolio worth $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.

I know people who make $500,000k per year who can't amass a $500,000 portfolio. Using the Crawley multiplier of 25, such a person should have amassed $12.5 million by their 70th birthday.

Assuming a 7% average annual return the income multiplier for portfolio size by age should look a little like this:

Age - Income Multiplier for your relative Crawley portfolio size target
30 - 1 (if you're 30 and earning $60k; your portfolio should be $60k)
40 - 2 (if you're 40 earning $80k; your portfolio should be $160k)
50 - 5 (if you're 50 earning $100k; your portfolio should be $500k)
60 - 12 (if you're 60 earning $90k, your portfolio should be $1 mil)
70 - 25 (if you're 70 earning $80k; your portfolio should be $2 mil)

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