"The larger the pink circle, the more your investment is worth," according to How Much. "If the pink fits inside the blue, then you lost money. The [graphic] assumes that you took any dividend paid out in cash and did not reinvest into the company by buying more stock."
These companies largely proved to be good investments. "All things being equal, prices seem pretty high right now. In fact, most of the companies on our chart have seen significant gains in recent years," the report states.
But there are cautionary tales to be seen in the chart, too, since any individual stock can either over- or under-perform. That's why so many experts suggest that, to get started in the stock market, you consider index funds, which hold every stock in an index such as the S&P 500, including big-name companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google, and offer low turnover rates, so the attendant fees and tax bills tend to be low as well.
Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban and Tony Robbins all agree index funds are a safe bet, especially for new investors, since they fluctuate with the market, stay pretty constant and eliminate the risk of picking individual stocks.
Investing for the first time can be a big step, and it can be risky. Past returns do not predict future results. But if you find the right stocks, it can lead to a real pay off.
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