In order to be wealthy, you have to have a high salary, right?
One of the most common misconceptions about making money is that it all comes down to finding a high paying job. If that were true, then Earl Crawley would not be worth half a million dollars – after all, he’s just been a parking attendant his whole life.
So how did he do it?
The short answer: he started saving a little bit at a time when he was very young. Over time, he grew his savings to $500,000!
Early in his life, Mr. Crawley had a feeling that he would struggle to find a high paying job – he was dyslexic and struggled in school. He decided as a teenager that the only way he’d realistically be able to reach financial stability would be if he saved and learned how to be frugal.
Over the past 44 years, he’s worked at the same parking lot, making no more than $12 an hour. Despite this, he and his wife were able to send their three children to Catholic school – with the help of a few extra jobs to cover the tuition.
At the same time, Earl Crawley started looking for ways to invest a little bit at a time. He was able to invest a small amount of his earnings into savings stamps, a type of investment opportunity that existed when the US was raising money for World War I and World War II.
These special stamps were available at the post office in 5, 10 and 25 cent increments called Thrift Stamps, and could be exchanged for $5 War Savings Certificate stamps – and Earl could tell that even investing a small amount would pay off in the long run.
Once he had saved a little bit more money, he started investing in the stock market by putting his money in Blue Chip companies, one or two shares at a time.
He credits his success mainly to his diligence and self control, telling MoneyBoss that “Instead of taking the dividends and pocketing it, I let it set — or let it reinvest itself — and increase my shares. The more shares I had, the more dividends I had. And eventually, the more money I had down the road.”
Mr. Crawley is now worth more than $500,000 – which, according to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report 2017 is almost 10 times the median net worth of an American citizen while making less than half the median American income.
We wanted to share this story because it’s easy to blame our financial problems on not making enough money. While that might be one contributing factor, it doesn’t determine your financial success. Maximize what you have. Next time you want to buy something you can’t afford, or think that learning how to invest sounds boring, think of Mr. Crawley – you might just change your mind!