4 Stocks That Turned $10,000 Into $1.6 Million (or More) in the 21st Century

The stock market is arguably the greatest wealth creator on the planet. Though there have been short periods when other assets have outpaced equities, the broader market has been the most consistent outperformer of inflation for over a century.

Building wealth in the stock market is really an exercise of the mind. It requires the analysis to pick great companies and the resolve to hang onto their stocks for long periods of time. This patience in allowing your investment thesis to play out is how Warren Buffett became one of the wealthiest people in the world.

Had you invested in foundational companies like Amazon or Starbucks at the turn of the century (Dec. 31, 1999), you’d be up on your initial investment by around 4,000%. These are fantastic returns, but still nowhere near the returns of the biggest gainers of the century.

If you’d invested $10,000 into the following four stocks at the beginning of the 21st century, or whenever they went public, you’d have $1.6 million or more today.

A messy stack of one hundred dollar bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

Apple: $1.62 million

This may not come as a shock, but the kingpin of tech innovation has been a huge winner over the past 21 years. Investors who had the wherewithal to invest $10,000 into Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and let it grow over time (I’m talking about you, Forrest Gump) would have seen their initial investment top $1.6 million this century.

There’s no question that Apple’s iPhone completely revolutionized the company. Despite an exceptionally crowded field, Apple’s many iterations of the iPhone have maintained the top smartphone market share spot in the U.S.

Apple’s CEOs (the late Steve Jobs and Tim Cook) have also successfully kept the company ahead of the innovation curve. Cook has been positioning Apple to take advantage of growth on the services side of the business for the past couple of years. Services are home to high-margin subscription revenue, which will help reduce the sales lumpiness occasionally associated with physical products, like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Even now, as the largest publicly traded U.S. company, Apple shows no signs of slowing down.

The front of a Tractor Supply retail store.

Image source: Tractor Supply.

Tractor Supply: $1.67 million

If feel-good American growth stories are more your thing, you’ll be interested in the nation’s largest farm supplies and equipment chain. Had you bought $10,000 worth of Tractor Supply (NASDAQ:TSCO) stock on Dec. 31, 1999, you’d have almost $1.7 million now.

To partly steal a line from successful entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and the star of The Profit, Tractor Supply is successful because of its “people and process.” The company goes out of its way to hire employees with firsthand knowledge of what…

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