So, now that you know that stocks are the key to long-run riches, the next step is finding the best ones you can ride all the way to retirement. With help from the advisors at our flagship Motley Fool Stock Advisor service, we've unearthed three stocks that show the different investing methods you can use to put together the perfect portfolio.
Many investors remember Internet stocks as the main cause of them becoming a lot poorer from 2000 to 2002. With the end of the tech boom, a lot of companies disappeared -- and plenty of shareholders lost their shirts.
At the time, one company seemed like it wouldn't fare much better than its peers. The company couldn't have had a simpler business model: selling things to people who wanted to buy them. It had some success in making a name for itself in one of the hottest metropolitan areas of the late 1990s, but its biggest asset was the true business visionary it had at the helm.
Nevertheless, that visionary seemed to do nothing but break well-established rules in an attempt to pull his company toward profitability. It allowed its customers to badmouth the company -- on its own website! It expanded its service from a niche market to give its users access to nearly everything they could possibly want. It even opened the door to third-party sellers who wanted to compete with the company.
But that company not only survived the plunge but thrived because of it. And through all this, the company has defied expectations to become the colossus in Internet retail, with a model that competitors have furiously (and mostly fruitlessly) tried to emulate.
The company, of course, is Amazon.com, and it has rewarded those shareholders who saw its potential during the darkest days of the Internet bust. From single-digit prices, the company has delivered gains of thousands of percentage points. Yet even with that success, it has managed to hold onto the ingredients that helped it grow from a fledging start-up to its current status atop the retail world.
Now, Amazon has moved forward with another huge innovation. The world has seen just how big an impact a new electronic device can have on customers. Apple has turned its iPhone and iPad products into must-have gadgets largely by cultivating a huge network of application programmers focused on providing new ways to use those products better, making them more attractive to customers.
Amazon did a similar thing with the initial version of its Kindle e-reader, which made it easier for its customers to buy and read books from the company. But with the release of its own tablets, it's clear that Amazon is willing to do whatever it takes to reap the same networking benefits -- and the long-term profits that come with them.
More importantly, Amazon's not worried about making money from its tablets now. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has admitted that its Kindle tablets and e-readers don't produce a profit for the company. Yet that's just another example of its bargain-providing philosophy. It's banking on enough customers jumping on board to build a base of potential lifelong customers -- and then making it as easy as possible for them to spend their money at Amazon by expanding its offerings into as many different niches as it can.
Based on its performance so far, the results have been nothing short of amazing, with Amazon claiming last August that its Kindle Fire represented 22% of U.S. tablet sales. Moreover, early reports suggest that the 2012 holiday season was also strong for the tablet line, with its new larger high-definition Kindle Fire HD model doing particularly well in standing up to Apple's iPad mini. Amazon is clearly leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to stay on top of the biggest technological revolution in years.
Growth stocks like Amazon are great ways to build up huge amounts of wealth. But growth investing isn't the only ticket to riches.
Look at the next page for a stock that even Warren Buffett can get behind right now.