College is getting more expensive by the year, and as a father trying to save for my son's college tuition, I'm always looking for opportunities to add to his portfolio. If you're saving early, a huge advantage we have in investing for college is time. Depending on your kid's age, you could have 15 years or more to let your money grow, which allows a higher risk tolerance than someone saving for retirement may have.
With that longer duration in mind, there are three stocks that I think fit well in a long-term portfolio, and I've either added or intend to add them to my son's portfolio soon. They are Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG -1.95%), Yeti Holdings (YETI -4.02%), and Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE -2.01%). Each has the potential for huge gains.
The restaurant business is going to change a lot over the next year. Restaurants large and small are going to go out of business or restructure, and it may be years before we pack busy eateries again. Very few companies are built to transition to takeout and delivery the way that Chipotle is.
Operations will certainly be hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Chipotle's recently reported 16% decline in same-store sales in March versus a year ago shows how business is going. But it's not a 50% decline (or a 100% decline), like some restaurants have seen. In fact, an 80.8% increase in digital sales in the first quarter may show what the company's future looks like.
The number of competitors in the restaurant industry is likely to decrease coming out of the pandemic, and that's an advantage for Chipotle. And with more customers likely to demand easy takeout and delivery from restaurants, Chipotle is built to thrive long term.
Consumer product companies are in an odd position today as customers cut back spending due to COVID-19. And consumer discretionary purchases like a cooler or coffee mug may be an easy item to cut from the budget. But long term, I think Yeti will be a winner in the consumer space.
Brands are difficult to build, but once they're established and taking space on retail shelves, they can be difficult to knock off. Yeti has managed to create a unique brand that's known for quality, durability, and style in the outdoor market, and I don't see that changing. What management has done incredibly well is expand into new markets like coolers, backpacks, and kids' water bottles, and now it's become a hot custom corporate gift. That product-line expansion has helped drive revenue and earnings growth.
There will be bumps along the way as consumer spending changes, but Yeti has built a durable brand that's likely to be with us for decades to come, and that's why I think it has a great future.
Disrupting travel isn't a trivial task, but that's exactly what Virgin Galactic aims to do. The company is building a fleet of aircraft that will transport passengers from Los Angeles to Tokyo in two hours, or New York to London in just an hour. Traveling at mach 5, spacecraft will greatly reduce the barriers of travel for those lucky enough to afford such a flight.
We could talk about the $80 million in deposits the company has already generated or the $590 million in projected revenue by 2023, but results will be choppy and investors should keep their eyes on the market Virgin Galactic is disrupting.
Commercial aviation is already a $900 billion market with commercial passenger travel making up $600 billion. So the addressable market is huge. In addition, by 2040, the commercial space industry is expected to be worth $1.5 trillion per year, up from $385 billion in 2017. These are the markets that Virgin Galactic is trying to disrupt, and if it succeeds, it will be a huge winner for investors in the long term.
The long-range perspective
If you're starting early in saving for college, time is on your side. And that's what we should use to our advantage. I think over the next decade or two, Chipotle, Yeti, and Virgin Galactic have bright futures. And while the road may be rocky, I'm in it for the long haul given their high potential to disrupt their markets.