$5,450,471 from $5,000 - A Lesson in Patience
We have all heard about the great overnight investments that "could have been" over the years, but how many times does that actually happen? It may happen, but most of us are very unlikely to experience it. The old adage, "If it seems to good to be true it usually is," has withstood the test of time. However, time can be our greatest asset when building wealth.
While the opinions about Walmart stores vary from one extreme to the other, one fact remains, it you bought the stock over a couple decades ago, you would have profited nicely. In fact, if you would have invested $5,000 in Walmart stock (WMT) at the beginning of 1976 and reinvested all your dividends into more Walmart stock, 30 years later you would have over 5.4 million dollars today. Since the stock has split 8 times since 1976, your original purchase of 384 shares would be over 120,000 shares today. Even if you had invested the $5,000 in 1981 you would still have over 1 million dollars today.
Now I know you are probably thinking, "That is great," but how often does a Walmart come along? The best thing is, it doesn't have to be a Walmart. The important thing is to find solid companies that are consistently growing both earnings and dividends. For example, Altria Group, the parent company of several big tobacco companies, Kraft, and many other subsidiaries also would have made you a millionaire off of $5,000 in 30 years. This is even with all the negative associations and lawsuits surrounding tobacco companies. Another stock that could have made you a millionaire is Boeing Company, the big manufacturer of airplanes. However, this is just scratching the surface of possibilities.
The main lesson here is patience. Over time the stock market has performed very well, averaging over 10% annually. Usually, when you hear a horror story of someone losing lots of money in the market it is at least partially due to a short term mentality. Let time become your friend by picking solid companies and holding on to them. Another important thing to remember is to increase your chances of success by diversifying your holdings. They all won't be big winners, but even if you can find one, it will be very rewarding.
All examples assume all dividends are reinvested into more stock, taxes and commission have not been factored in. In addition, this is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.