3 Reasons I'm Buying Amazon.com, Inc. for My Roth IRA

Every month for the past three years, I've identified one company that I'd be investing my money in. Over that time frame, these real-life investments have yielded an average return of 37%, handily beating the S&P 500 by 14 percentage points. 

This doesn't necessarily mean I'd encourage each and every reader to follow in my footsteps. Every investor has different goals, appetites for risk, and time horizons. So instead of trying to pick stocks that would satisfy every life situation (hint: those stocks don't exist), I find it much more instructive to let you know what my life situation is, and why I'm buying what I am.

My wife and I are in our early 30s with one daughter. We currently rent and live below our means. We don't mind investing in companies that some may consider "risky" or "expensive" because we have a decades-long time horizon.

Knowing that, here are the three big reasons we'll be investing our Roth IRA money this month in Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) .

1. Jeff Bezos
I can't understate how important it has become for me -- as an investor -- to really get to know who is running the company that I own a part of. Of course, I've never met Jeff Bezos, and most of what I'm basing my evaluation on has to do with what he has done as CEO of Amazon, and what I can glean from his public interviews.

Source: Steve Jurvetson, via Wikimedia Commons.

But there are two important traits Bezos has that make me want to invest alongside him. First, he takes the uber-long view. Most CEOs would be chastised by Wall Street for ignoring short-term profits in an effort to create a company with an enormous and -- in my opinion -- impenetrable moat. Somehow, Bezos gets away with it, and the world's a better place for that.

Second, Bezos won't allow Amazon to be constrained by classifying it as just an e-tailer. Remember, at the beginning of the company's life, books were its lifeblood. And though books continue to be important, the company has blossomed well beyond that.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves; I'll talk more about that in reason three below.

2. E-commerce is still tinier than you think
It's no secret that the move to buying things online has led to monumental shifts in the retail landscape. Borders and Barnes & Noble used to dominate the book industry. But Borders is now gone, and Barnes & Noble is a shell of what it once was.

Shifts like that may lead you to believe that everyone's already doing most of their shopping online. But here's the secret: There's still room for so much growth. According to Forrester Research, only 8% of all U.S. retail purchases were made via the Internet last year. Think about that: 8%!

And if anyone wants to compete with Amazon, I say "Good luck" to them. Amazon's network of fulfillment centers makes quick delivery to anywhere in the United States amazingly easy. And the cost of these fulfillment centers is such that a company would have to spend billions before it could compete with Amazon.

3. The possibility for multiple futures
This is a lesson I learned firsthand from Fool co-founder David Gardner. He likes investing in companies that have what he likes to call "multiple futures." That means that a company's future may be tough to pin down, because it could potentially disrupt multiple industries over its lifetime.

Think about it: Amazon started with books, created an e-reader, and now you can buy pretty much anything you want on its website. But that's not all: Amazon is making moves into the grocery business, paying for original digital content, and providing cloud services for thousands of companies.

I have no idea how broad Amazon's scope will be 20 years from now, but I know that its core focus -- being the greatest company on earth when it comes to customer service -- will remain unchanged. And it remaining focused on that single priority as it expands is what excites me the most. 

Join me?
Amazon already makes up 11% of my portfolio, and has a market cap of 166 billion. But I think that could easily double or triple over the next 10 years. Of course, I could be wrong, and if I am, there are other places you could look for good ideas.

For instance, David Gardner, who bought Amazon back when it was a split-adjusted $3 per share, has six new growth stocks on his radar. You can uncover his scientific approach to crushing the market and his six carefully chosen picks for ultimate growth instantly, because he's making this premium report free for you today. Click here now for access.


Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (14)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 27, 2014, at 10:51 AM, clarkma wrote:

    I am 15% into AMZN.

    I have been an Amazon investor on and off for 13 years.

    I believe they are not only the biggest, but the best at what they do.

  • Report this Comment On March 01, 2014, at 5:48 PM, mooonguy wrote:

    Serious people problems. It's basically a tech sweat shop, which might work or might blow up in their face. Absolutely no recognition of the problem so it's a massive uncontrolled risk. I'm not saying they will fail, but collapse is certainly one of their possible futures

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 1:38 PM, HoosierRube wrote:

    Moonguy,

    Is that you Governor Brown???

    Tech sweat shop eh? How is it you know that. Do you work there or are you just parroting the gossip you've heard?

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 3:20 PM, Tonyjw wrote:

    PRIME would be in my short list of reasons to own Amazon. One click shopping and free shipping is so-o attractive. Other benefits, too.

    But this locks in customer loyalty.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 5:59 PM, idahozonie wrote:

    I have no axe to grind with Amazon, but it looks extremely vulnerable to me. The ever-growing market share has been built mainly from offering goods at a slightly lower price than others could match.

    Amazon has certainly done a great job of building a supply chain that minimizes its costs, but it also has often enjoyed a big advantage by not having to charge sales tax on sales. I think States have begun to realize that they need to plug that revenue loophole, so the sales tax advantage should shrink over time.

    Who could possibly challenge Amazon on its home turf? Apple, for one. Suppose the boys in Cupertino decide to turn the tables on Amazon. Right now, you have the Kindle Fire being sold at or below cost to provide a platform for selling other goods and services. Apple could turn that around by selling books, music, etc at or below cost to support its iPad margins. Who wins that battle?

    I have a few clients who have been looking for an online marketplace to sell their products. I researched Amazon, Ebay and others to see what it would cost my clients to sell through those marketplaces. They all declined, because of the substantial piece of the action demanded by those online stores.

    Amazon can get away with a 30% commission on its affiliates, because it gets the traffic. But Apple gets plenty of traffic too, and they already sell books and music. If Apple decides to fight a price war on that front, it would be a minor hit on Apple's profits, but what would it do to Amazon?

    Market share gained by offering products for a slightly lower price is fickle market share. It can evaporate overnight. What reason does any Amazon customer have to be loyal?

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2014, at 7:14 PM, cmalek wrote:

    HoosierRube:

    "Tech sweat shop eh? How is it you know that."

    How do we know about the other sweat shops? A little birdie told us.

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