Investors often focus too much on what they think will happen later this month or next year. Case in point: In 2020, the masses flocked to stay-at-home stocks that soared as the pandemic forced people to spend more time at home.
But when you want to build wealth, you'll be rewarded for thinking long term and buying into businesses that you think will be great regardless of short-term trends. Here are three stocks to invest in and hold for the next 20 years.
Shares of Pinterest (PINS -23.64%) have jumped more than 280% in the past year. But you haven't missed out on this growth stock. It's an advertiser's dream, and the company has only started to cash in on its e-commerce potential.
Pinterest is a hybrid social media platform and visual search tool that's all about inspiration. Users known as Pinners seek out ideas for everything from recipes and workouts to planning a wedding, a home improvement project, or a dream vacation. The platform's number of monthly active users rose 37% during the fourth quarter of 2020.
Before 2020, Pinterest wasn't very shoppable, even though shopping is what many Pinners are looking to do. In April, with much of the world under stay-at-home orders, it unveiled a host of new features that allowed users to shop from boards, Pins, and searches on the platform.
Since then, it's unveiled a cutting-edge array of new shopping features, including an eye shadow try-on feature that allows you to virtually experiment with new products, and an option to upload a photo and view similar shoppable Pins.
The beauty of Pinterest is that its users actually want to be advertised to. They tend to search with generic terms like "outfit inspiration," "healthy recipes," or "kitchen remodel ideas," rather than specific brands, which gives lesser-known brands a chance to connect with new customers.
Increasing the number of international users is key to Pinterest's growth. International monthly average users (MAUs) increased by 46% in 2020, compared to 11% for the U.S. But U.S. users still generate about 18 times the revenue that international users do, and Pinterest still has lots of growth potential on that front.
Its U.S. average revenue per user (ARPU) was $5.94 in 2020. By comparison, Facebook (FB -7.62%) generated $54 per user in the U.S. As Pinterest makes it easier to spend money using the platform, there's plenty of room to increase revenue within the U.S.
Intuit (INTU -3.34%) may be best known as the parent company of TurboTax and accounting software QuickBooks. But its recent $8.1 billion acquisition of credit-monitoring service Credit Karma is what makes Intuit a stock to buy and hold.
Credit Karma offers free credit scores and monitoring for customers. It uses credit reporting data to target offers for credit cards and loans to users, and it makes money from commissions when customers sign up for an offer. In acquiring Credit Karma, the company bought 110 million customers that skew younger than TurboTax's average customer and represent about one third of people in the U.S. with a credit score. Meanwhile, TurboTax had about two-thirds of the online tax filing market in 2019, according to ProPublica.
Having access to both tax returns and credit reports for customers creates a treasure chest of data for Intuit, albeit one that may make customers a bit leery. Fintech venture capitalist Sheel Mohnot told The New York Times last year that the deal could make Intuit into a kind of Facebook for financial services.
Credit reports are key to lending decisions, but as Credit Karma CEO Ken Lin told Fortune in December, creditworthiness only accounts for about 60% to 80% of whether a customer is ultimately approved for a loan. Tax returns contain key information (most obviously income) that can help predict whether borrowers will be approved, particularly if they're in the subprime tier, and this makes it easier to micro-target offers.
Intuit has long been seeking to push its way further into the personal finance sphere. In 2009, it made a much smaller acquisition of budgeting app Mint (which also earns commissions from credit card and loan sign-ups) for $170 million.
Management recently revised its guidance for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 ahead of a Feb. 23 earnings call to reflect lower revenue and earnings due to the delayed start of tax season. But that shouldn't worry long-term investors. A shortened tax season will be a mere blip in a decade or two. Intuit's acquisition of Credit Karma makes it a solid fintech stock to own.
Adobe (ADBE -2.05%) has a huge competitive moat in the content creation and digital design spaces. The products in Adobe's Creative Cloud -- which include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro -- are the gold standard in graphic design and video editing. Not only are the products unrivaled, but there's also a huge switching cost because of the time and skill required to master them. Even content creators who have used these programs for a decade or more will tell you they're still discovering new features.
The subscription cloud-based model that Adobe shifted its creative products to in 2013 has allowed it to steadily grow its revenue. While the traditional desktop software cost hundreds of dollars, subscriptions for some of its programs cost as little as $9.99 a month, making them accessible to amateurs. Between 2017 and 2020, Creative Cloud subscription revenue shot up from $4.2 billion to $7.7 billion, a 23% compound annual growth rate.
But the continued dominance of the Creative Cloud isn't the only thing Adobe has going for it. In 2020, subscription revenue for its Digital Experience segment, which provides advertising and analytics services, rose by 14% year over year. The company is also a growing player in the e-signature space.
Analysts are forecasting sales growth of 18.2% for Adobe in 2021. Given the company's competitive advantage, its well-diversified business, and its history of profitability, its stock is one that you'll want to buy and hold for decades.