If you had invested $1 million in Amazon stocks in 2000, how much money has it made up to now?

In this blog I will list some of my top Quora answers for the last few days. 

If you want me to answer any questions on Quora or Youtube, don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you had invested $1 million in Amazon stocks in 2000, how much money has it made up to now?

Source: Quora

In 2000, Amazon was worth less than Walmart. Fast forward 20 years, and you can see the results:

It would be worth about 65m-70m today, although the price keeps fluctuating though.

Remember though that:

  1. Nobody, or very few people, could have seen this coming. Amazon’s stock was stagnant for over 10 years after 2000. Most of the growth has been in the last b5 years
  2. Those that claim they saw something happen, usually get the next bet wrong. I was watching an episode of the UK’s show Dragon’s Den, which is the US version of Shark Tank. One of the contestants boasted that he invested in Facebook shares. So, why did he need to go on the show then? Well he lost a lot of that money by getting his next bet wrong.
  3. The only time where people could have seen this coming was due to the recent rise of ETFs and index funds. As more money is going into passive investments, that was likely to push big tech higher. Yet over 5 years ago, this wasn’t a consideration.
  4. Today’s winners are often tomorrow’s losers. GE was once so mighty that the US Government wanted to break them up……a bit like Amazon today! It then needed a US Government bailout in 2008–2009. I am not saying the same thing will happen to Amazon, but over-performance won’t last forever. Already there are voices calling for Amazon to be broken up as it is seen as a monopoly. They might be succeed now, but there are 1000 risks for any company, including the biggest of them all.
  5. It is always risky to put most of your portfolio in 1,2, or 3 stocks.
  6. If you look at the stocks that have performed exceptionally well in 2020, some are start ups without big earnings or profitability. Again, then, nobody can see these things coming, so don’t think it is easy to find “the next Amazon”.
  7. Even people who believed in Amazon in 2000, would likely have given up after about ten years of stagnation until 2010.
  8. The key in investing is a good risk-adjusted return, and not the very best return in all situations. A rational investor can also only make a decision based on the information available to him or her at the time. In 2000, after the crash, tech was looking overvalued. Amazon was only focused on a few areas compared to now. Therefore, somebody who purchased Amazon’s stock in 2000 was taking a risk.

Are there any simple ways for investors to avoid unethical businesses, e.g. tobacco, coal, oil and gas, palm oil?

Source: Quora

There is. You can either:

  1. Buy individual stocks
  • Buy stocks that aren’t linked to these industries
  • This has risks, because individual firms can always go out of business unlike the general index which moves higher over time, but is simple unlike the second strategy

2. Buy specific ETFs and funds

  • This could be a technology ETF or some of the so-called “ethical ETFs” which try to avoid these industries.
  • Some funds also try to avoid these stocks

There is two issues with this,. Firstly, it some of these funds aren’t as “ethical” as they sound.

Second, where do you draw the line? Most technology firms don’t produce much CO2, but some of the supply chain does.

Likewise, many oil&gas companies are now investing very aggressively in renewables. This is especially the case with Shell and BP.

Moreover, the whole point about buying index funds or index-linked ETFs is that you don’t need to search for the needle, and instead can buy the haystack.

As soon as you try to change that, you need to be prepared to take more risks. A great example of that is many of the ESG funds and ETFs.

They could become the next FAANG, alongside renewable energy ETFs. However, they are much more risky than a broadly-diversified ETF.

This kind of thing is bound to get bigger in the future though, as more investors focus on ethical concerns.

Therefore, I do expect more “index type” funds to be created which tracks the markets whilst weeding out certain firms.

Some of those indexes already exist but it is early days.

Which type of people never get successful in life?

Source: Quora

Never say never. It is never too late for many people, even though it gets harder to start all over again after a certain age.

As a generalisation, these types of people struggle to succeed.

  1. People that don’t define success/know what they want –Success can be financial, material, spiritual or family-related. The way you define success might be different to the way I define success. Even if you dig deeper, your financial success might mean retiring at 40, and living a modest lifestyle. Another person’s financial success might be continuing to scale their business until 100.
  2. Not surrounding yourself with the right people – We can all be influenced by who we spend time with. If you remember back to your school days, playing sport with the better kids probably improved your skills as well. The same is true in business, investing or any domains. Getting rid of toxic people, and spending more time with quality people, is key.
  3. Lack of self awareness – People that haven’t succeeded, but know that they have made the wrong decisions, at least have a chance to change the situation.
  4. Looking for the wrong solutions – People who take personal responsibility for both their successes and failures, are much more likely to succeed compared to those that blame others. Waiting for a politician or somebody else to create a perfect environment isn’t rational because it isn’t something you can control and change takes years (usually at least a decade) even in the best case situation. Whereas, you can change your mindset, actions and decisions almost instantly.
  5. Allowing society and other people to define what success means to you – this is partly linked to number one. Those that don’t know what they really want, tend to just follow their friends, society and peer groups. Peer pressure takes over. Therefore, people start making decisions to please others. A great example is renting vs buying. Many people that rent feel the pressure to “look richer” by buying. Countless people also focus more on showing off on social media, than being successful in the real world. The reason is often people care too much about the opinions of others. Having a big house and luxury car and close to zero other assets “looks better” in the eyes of some shallow people, compared to having $2m invested wisely. Peer pressure also works when it comes to starting a family and having kids. Some people that don’t want to have kids feel pushed into it.
  6. Don’t use time effectively – we all have 24/7 a day. Even if you are super rich, you can just buy other people’s time or use technology to help you improve. So, using time productively is key. The 80/20 rule of productivity can be further explained by 64/4 and 50/1. 1% of your actions can lead to 50% of your results. Focus on doing things which will get you the most results. For example, leveraging money and time can be a great productivity tip. If you invest early, you will get more most likely, for investing less on average, due to compounded investment returns.
  7. Don’t take calculated risks – there is no such thing as no risk in life. In fact, doing nothing can be riskier than doing something. For example, keeping money in the bank has lost billions of people money to inflation around the world for centuries. So, compared to investing, it isn’t low risk. It is just low volatility. It is best to take more risks when you are young and/or have less things to lose. It is harder (but still possible) to try new things when you are 35 and have kids at home. I once heard Elon Musk talk about this issue. It is rational to be risk-adverse if you have a mortgage and kids. It isn’t rational as an 18 year old to worry about “losing” 1k on a business idea. You won’t care when you are 30 or 40, and you would have spent it on other things anyway.
  8. Never wanting to break norms – if you do what everybody else does, and allow industry and societal norms, you will get conventional results usually. If you take extraordinary actions, you have a better chance to succeed.
  9. Complacency – Once success is achieved, the tendency many people have is to sit back and admire the views from the top of the mountain. However, what works today in business, sport and life might not work in 2025 or 2030. If you don’t adapt, you might not survive. We have seen this this year. Some previously very successful businesses have gone bust, after decades of doing well. The reason isn’t coronavirus and lockdown. The biggest reasons in this instance is that the owners didn’t prepare for a potential unexpected event like lockdown. Often they didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining.

I am 25 years old and earn close to 25k per month. What are investment options after spending around 15k per month on necessities?

Source: Quora

I don’t know what currency you are paid in, but regardless, you clearly have a decent surplus to invest.

Beyond that, you have one major thing going for you. Time. Time is one of the only free lunches in investing.

It can reduce your risks and increase your gains due to compounding (graphs below).

So, the easiest way to get decent returns is to be long-term in both stocks and bonds.

Reinvest the dividends and increase your allocation to bonds as you get older.

Don’t panic during crashes, and don’t get too excited during the good moments.

If you want a more aggressive strategy you can start your own business, but that has risks of course, and is different to a pure investment.

Stick to model portfolios like these:

Model portfolios for American citizens and expats under 40 –

60% US Stock Markets,

20% International stock markets,

10% Emerging stock markets

10% US short-term government bonds

Model portfolios for American citizens and expats over 40 –

50% US Stock Markets,

20% International stock markets,

5% Emerging stock markets

25% US government bonds

Model portfolios for American citizens and expats over 55 or close to retirement –

50% US Stock Markets,

20% International stock markets,

30% US government bonds

Model portfolios for British citizens and expats under 40 –

40% UK FTSE All Shares

40% International stock markets,

10% Emerging stock markets

10% Global government bonds index

Model portfolios for British citizens and expats over 40 –

35% UK FTSE All Shares

35% International stock markets,

5% Emerging stock markets

25% Global government bonds index

Model portfolios for British citizens and expats over 55 or close to retirement –

35% UK FTSE All Shares

35% International stock markets,

30% Global government bonds index

Model portfolios for European citizens and expats under 40 –

40% Euro Shares

40% International stock markets,

10% Emerging stock markets

10% Global government bonds index

Model portfolios for European citizens and expats over 40 –

35% European All Shares

35% International stock markets,

5% Emerging stock markets

25% Global government bonds index

Model portfolios for European citizens and expats over 55 or close to retirement –

35% European All Shares

35% International stock markets,

30% Global government bonds index

Will the US dollar hard currency become obsolete in the next 5 years in favor of cashless only transactions?

Source: Quora

Do you know that sales of the physical book have been increasing in the UK in the last few years, and a few other countries?

Or that physical post has been rising in some countries in the last ten years?

Or that Western Union, in spite of their silly and high fees, have seen good growth as well:

The ebook, email and digital apps were supposed to be the death knell of these organisations.

In reality, seldom do whole industries go broke like the horse and cart, and firms similar to Kodak.

In reality, there is a place for everything, especially in a world where the global population is climbing, and GDP does tend to go up over time, despite the dips along the way.

I doubt the physical USD will go obsolete, but I do expect more and more digital transactions.

The reasons are that it is more convenient, cleaner (cash is dirty) cheaper and quicker to do things online by app, card and other ways to pay for things.

Some people are concerned by their privacy, however, and even many of those that love doing things online, do like the idea of having cash as a backup.

In any case, businesses and people do need to adapt to changing times.

We are moving more quickly into a world of less human, in-person interaction, and that includes cash transactions.

There might also be some countries that do try to go 100% cashless, but I doubt it will be global anytime soon if ever in our lifetimes.

Related Blogs

How to invest in American ETFs from Singapore