What’s the one stock investment that you should have made when you were younger?
The editors of Money magazine provide a pretty good answer. In their recently published 30th-anniversary issue, they identified the 30 best-performing stocks of the past 30 years. The winner? Southwest Airlines. If you had bought $10,000 worth of Southwest stock ( at $3.88 a share ) 30 years ago, then your investment would be worth more than $10 million today. It is a remarkable growth story. Back in 1972, Southwest’s first full year of operation, it had a fleet size of exactly three planes. Today, the company has 375 airplanes and more than 400 new aircraft on order through the year 2012.
“We’re right back to where we were in 1990, when the airline industry was just hemorrhaging red ink,” says Southwest’s CFO, Gary Kelly. “We were profitable then; they weren’t. We’re profitable now; they’re not.”