Apple is the most valuable company in the world today. If only you’d predicted that coming two and a half decades ago, you’d be a lot richer as well.
Thirty-five years ago this weekend, Apple (AAPL) went public. At the offering price of $22 a share, 100 shares would have cost you $2,200. Since then the stock has split four times, including three 2-for-1 splits and one 7-for-1 split, which occurred last year.
That means your 100 shares would have multiplied into 5,600 today, and your initial investment would now be worth $632,800. That’s a return of 28,663%. And that’s before dividends, which would have added another $5,936 to your return so far this year alone.
By comparison, a $2,200 investment in the S&P 500 in the same time would have netted you about $79,000. Even betting on Warren Buffett, often considered the greatest investor of all time, won’t have made you as much money. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) are up about 7,500% in the same time, turning your then $2,200 investment in to $167,200.
But you would have had to see greatness four years before the company launched the Macintosh. And you would have had to hold on to the company’s stock through the Steve Job-less years. Through much of the 1990s, Apple’s shares went nowhere. But for the faithful, the wait would have, obviously, more than paid off.