There isn't a lot of love for "buy and hold" among speculators, and I get that. I won't bash that. However, some of the biggest winners in my portfolio are stocks I've held for years -- and in one case, decades. It's a strategy that works for me.
Having a "buy and hold" mind-set doesn't mean you just push out your purchase order and live in a bubble. Fundamentals and valuations change. However, there are some stocks that I own that I have no intention of letting go anytime soon. I put up with the hiccups, and sometimes am rewarded with the evolutionary steps. Let's check them out.
Disney (DIS -1.45%)
You never forget your first stock. I've owned a piece of Disney for 30 years now. My girlfriend at the time gifted me a single share of the media giant, fully aware of my obsession with all things Disney. I kept the stock. I also kept the girl. We've been married for 26 years. I take my "buy and hold" stuff seriously.
They say that you shouldn't have an emotional attachment to the stocks you own, and that is why I spent my first 28 years enjoying the the handful of shares I owned after a pair of stock splits. However, I eventually realized that I should make Disney a bigger part of my portfolio.
Disney has ridiculous synergy. A hit movie -- and after acquiring Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm this happens a lot -- can work its way through its theme parks and cable properties. This year's Beauty and the Beast box office-dominating run shows how the House of Mouse can breathe new life into properties in its growing vault of classic content.
Netflix (NFLX -0.30%)
My most successful investment -- buying Netflix in late 2002 when it had cratered after its IPO -- is bittersweet. I sold 80% of my shares after the stock began to move higher, and I wound up selling half of my remaining position several years later at a gain that seemed pretty healthy at the time. I could've fared so much better if I had held. Through splits and capital appreciation, the stock has been nearly a 400-bagger for me. I'm so glad I kept 10% of my position, but it stings to see the 90% I sold off worth north of $900,000 these days.
It's a lesson in FOMA -- fear of missing appreciation -- and I know that my money is better off betting on the vision of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings than betting against it. Even when Netflix is raked over the coals like it was for the Qwikster fiasco, its call to raise prices, or even bankroll eight Adam Sandler originals, Netflix gets the last laugh. It's closing in on 100 million streaming subscribers worldwide, giving it as insurmountable a moat as you're going to find in the thriving digital distribution business.
Camping World Holdings (CWH -1.24%)
I don't want to make it seem as I'm only willing to make a long-term commitment to stocks that I have already held for a long time, as that would be revisionist evangelizing. I bought into Camping World a few months ago, shortly after the leading retailer of RVs went public.
I don't own an RV, so this isn't me buying blindly into a passion of mine. I just happen to like its market position in an intriguing industry. Everything from the graying of America to the rumblings of tourism protectionism work in favor of RV ownership and traveling across the blue highways of the country. Camping World is cashing in as a consolidator of this highly fragmented niche.
Camping World doesn't just sell new and pre-owned RVs. It offers maintenance services and related accessories. Camping World also owns Good Sam Club, the equivalent of AAA for RVs. Good Sam Club is the industry standard, giving Camping World access to millions of owners or aspiring owners of recreational vehicles. Camping World is in a good place, and like Disney, it offers a small yet welcome dividend. I see it sticking around in my portfolio for a long time, and before long, maybe I'll add an RV, too.
Spoiler alert: I probably won't be buying an RV. However, I will continue to be on the lookout for more stocks that I am open to holding forever.