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If You Would Have Bought Only 100 Shares of These 10 Stocks, You Would Be Incredibly Rich

©Tesla

©Tesla

The reality of the stock market is that there’s no better tool for building your wealth over time. The average return on the S&P 500 comes out to about 10% a year, and with plenty of patience, a low-cost ETF can turn a person’s relatively modest savings into a happy, healthy retirement fund. But for many, low-cost ETFs are pretty weak tea. Warren Buffett did a little better than a happy, healthy retirement, so why can’t you?

It’s a valid question. While there’s very little chance that hand-picking your own stocks will match market returns in the long run — let alone Buffett returns — certain stocks have absolutely crushed the S&P 500 for a decade or more. Foreseeing which stocks are about to set the world on fire is not easy. But there’s always that ever-elusive chance to turn a few shrewd investments into a vast fortune.

Read: Ways Investing Will Change in the Next 25 Years

GOBankingRates broke down 10 stocks that could have taken you from a “happy, healthy retirement” to a “disgustingly rich, private-island retirement” — had you only known ahead of time, that is. Looking at the biggest market success stories in recent memory, the study determines how much you could have made by buying 100 shares at the right time. Each stock was examined over a single 10-year period when performance was exceptional. From there, the study calculated the total return to the investor over that time.

Granted, it’s generally not a good idea to obsess too much over opportunities missed. For a lot of investors, constantly chasing that big score will just lead them to miss out on all the money they could have made with the safe and simple approach. But, when even a modest purchase can yield such big returns, it does demonstrate how devoting a small slice of your portfolio to risk — every once in a while — can pay off in a big way.

So, here are 10 companies that have been very kind to investors over the years, along with how much you could have made had you bought in at the right time. Who knows? Perhaps the current market crisis is providing you an opportunity to get in on the next big thing.

Last updated: Jan. 11, 2021

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Chipotle Mexican Grill

For most Americans, Chipotle is a great fast-casual restaurant. For at least a handful of others, though, it’s much more. Bill Ackman, for instance. Ackman is one of the best-known hedge fund managers in the world for his Pershing Square Capital Partners, and Chipotle is a big part of the reason for that. Ackman and Pershing Square were lucky enough to see potential in the chain early on and made a big investment that has paid off in spades.

Ackman has made about three-quarters of a billion dollars on his investment in Chipotle. Or, to put it another way, about 100 million chicken burritos. And if the chain keeps on going the way it has, who knows? Maybe Ackman’s returns will reach 100 million chicken burritos with guacamole.

See: 50 Stocks That Have Suffered the Biggest Losses During the Coronavirus Scare

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: Jan. 23, 2010, to Jan. 23, 2020
  • Your investment: $9,777 (100 shares at $97.77)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $87,984 (100 shares at $879.84)
  • Total profit: $78,207

Check Out: The Complete Guide to ETFs

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©Netflix

Netflix

Netflix has become wildly successful by essentially being the first actor in the streaming video space — a space that Grand View Research pegged at being worth $36.64 billion in 2018 and growing to $124.57 billion by 2025. However, when Netflix first announced it was shifting its focus primarily to video streaming in 2011, it was a disaster. The stock plunged a stunning 80%, 800,000 people dropped their subscriptions and everyone was pretty sure Reed Hastings and company were fools for not sticking with their sure-fire business model of mailing people DVDs.

Whoops. Today, any investors who stuck with the company through the hard times — let alone invested at the bottom of that 80% drop — likely spend their evenings binge-watching their 401(k).

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: June 20, 2008, to June 20, 2018
  • Your investment: $449 (100 shares at $4.49)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $41,676 (100 shares at $416.76)
  • Total profit: $41,227
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Apple

The question for Apple is really which 10-year period to focus on. Clearly, plenty of money was made during its first rise to fame with personal computers. The largest 10-year percentage return likely falls in the aughts when they rolled out the iPod, iPhone and iPad. However, the company’s recent ascent into the stratosphere as they took the revolutionary products from that period and focused on turning them into a rock-solid cash machine is the one that provides the largest total profit on 100 shares.

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©Apple

What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: Jan. 23, 2010, to Jan. 23, 2020
  • Your investment: $2,458 (100 shares at $24.58)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $31,923 (100 shares at $319.23)
  • Total profit: $29,465

Learn: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Markets

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Priceline Group

If you’re looking for a bargain on a flight or hotel, Priceline might be among your first stops. If you’re looking for a bargain on a stock, though, that ship has sailed. That’s because this company, and its series of popular ads starring William Shatner, has been one of the most successful stocks to buy in the last couple of decades. While that might be surprising to some people, it speaks to how the company managed to position itself at the nexus of a few different trends: namely the internet and discount travel sites.

But that legend about Captain Kirk pulling down hundreds of millions after getting paid in Priceline stock for those commercials? Not true. Oh, he likely could have, but Shatner decided to boldly go where many men have gone before by selling early and missing out on a huge score.

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: March 12, 2008, to March 12, 2018
  • Your investment: $12,094 (100 shares at $120.94)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $220,609 (100 shares at $2,206.09)
  • Total profit: $208,515
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Amazon

Amazon’s story is fairly similar to that of Netflix. Namely, the company managed to foresee a market trend early enough to position itself as the largest player in the market before anyone else. Today, virtually everyone can agree that online retail is the future of the industry, and Amazon controls roughly half of the entire pie. That’s part of why the company that was once just a bookseller has now become the most valuable retail company in history. Amazon’s success has been so incredible that it recently crossed the $1 trillion in market value, becoming only the third company at the time to ever reach that mark, after Apple and Microsoft.

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: Sept. 27, 2008, to Sept. 27, 2018
  • Your investment: $7,070 (100 shares at $70.70)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $201,298 (100 shares at $2,012.98)
  • Total profit: $194,228

Find Out: What $1,000 Invested in 25 Trendy IPOs Is Worth Today

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Tesla

Tesla has become the premier “battleground” stock of the era. The term refers to a company where there’s strong disagreement over its future prospects, prompting considerable argument amongst analysts and investors. So, while Tesla’s stock has been on a wild tear, it also has a notable short float — that is, the percentage of shares represented by people betting the stock will fall.

But, regardless of whether or not you think it’s a little ridiculous for a car company that has yet to produce more than 500,000 vehicles in a year to be worth over $100 billion — for context, GM is worth less than half that and produces and sells about 9 million cars a year — Tesla is currently worth that. As a result, anyone who bought 100 shares at the IPO has made a mint. It’s just another example of the law of the greater fool. That is to say, no matter how foolish a purchase might seem in the present, as long as someone comes along to pay you more than you did, it’s a smart buy.

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: June 29, 2010, to Jan. 23, 2020*
  • Your investment: $2,389 (100 shares at $23.89)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $57,220 (100 shares at $572.20)
  • Total profit: $54,831

*Tesla’s IPO was in June of 2010, therefore it’s still a few months shy of 10 years as a public company. The start date is instead taken from the closing price on its first day of trading.

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Monster Beverage

The stock for Monster Beverage — yes, that Monster Beverage — has been going like it consumed a few too many energy drinks. The company has produced a, well, monster return of some 70,000% over the last 20 years. And regardless of whether or not that has you feeling deeply afraid for the general health and caffeine intake of the American public, it doesn’t change the fact that few investors have done better than those that put their cash behind this stock.

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: Jan. 26, 2008, to Jan. 26, 2018
  • Your investment: $683 (100 shares at $6.83)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $6,891 (100 shares at $68.91)
  • Total profit: $6,208
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Facebook

For anyone who’s reached this point and is cursing themselves for spending all their time scrolling through Facebook when they should have been researching stocks, well, you might have been killing two birds with one stone. That said, if you bought the stock after its IPO, lost patience when it sank and then sold, there’s not a lot to say other than you needed to be more patient.

Sure, it took Facebook over a year to get back to where it was trading the day of its IPO, but clearly that was time well spent. Since then, the stock has grown at an explosive rate.

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: May 18, 2012, to Jan. 17, 2020*
  • Your investment: $3,823 (100 shares at $38.23)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $22,214 (100 shares at $222.14)
  • Total profit: $18,391

*Facebook’s IPO was in May of 2012, therefore it’s still a few years shy of 10 years as a public company. As a result, this measures a little less than eight years of stock price growth.

Find Out: 7 Simple Ways To Tell When It’s Time To Sell a Stock

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Lululemon

If your budget couldn’t find room for Lululemon stock 10 years ago, you probably should have found a new budget. A stretchy one that could have accommodated the purchase. That’s because the athleisure brand has positively exploded across the American consciousness in that time and brought its shareholders with it. Why? Simply put, people just can’t get enough yoga pants. The company’s stock keeps soaring because its earnings keep exceeding expectations.

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: Jan. 22, 2010, to Jan. 22, 2020
  • Your investment: $1,502 (100 shares at $15.02)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $24,430 (100 shares at $244.30)
  • Total profit: $22,928
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Microsoft

Clearly, investing in Microsoft in the early 1990s is as great an investment as has ever existed. The wealth created by the world’s first software company has kept Bill Gates as a permanent fixture among the top five to 10 people in the world for net worth for decades. But if you think you missed your chance to cash in on Microsoft when you decided it was more important to get those Spin Doctors tickets, you might have missed out on an even bigger payday recently. The stock is currently experiencing a resurgence around its cloud computing business that has pushed its market cap to over $1.25 trillion in early 2020.

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What 100 Shares Could Have Meant

  • Dates covered: Jan. 23, 2010, to Jan. 23, 2020
  • Your investment: $2,279 (100 shares at $22.79)
  • Your investment after 10 years: $16,672 (100 shares at $166.72)
  • Total profit: $14,393

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