Earlier this week, we wrote a story titled Apple’s Original Investors Are Now Among the 1%. As the headline suggests, we discussed stories of people who were early investors in what is now America’s largest company by market capitalization. Many regular people became millionaries due to this one investment.

We were contacted by a reader who wanted to tell his story. He wanted to remain anonymous, but we verified his details.  The man was a Peace officer with an average income, who now is worth $6 million, due entirely to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investment. We also asked some questions about why he decided to invest in Apple:

Somewhere around age 35, my father contacted me from the East Coast.  He told me there is something called an IRA, and kindly funded the first year for me, $2000.  That was about 1980.  Every year after that, I always maxed out on my IRA, and when the ROTH IRA came into existence, I took that four year grace period to convert it all over to a ROTH IRA, and continued to fund it to it’s max, until the day I was forced to retire (We can only go to the end of the month we turn 60, so that’s what I did.)  Didn’t choose to go up in rank.  Liked working the road my whole career.
When I was 40, at a training day, we were told that there are two programs to supplement our retirement; a 401K and a 457.  I heard it, and it looked like a good supplement for my planned retirement.  From Day 1, I always took out the max that I was allowed.  I believe, that first month, it was $675.  We could only contribute an amount equivalent to the max of one account, so that’s what I did.  It all went into my 457 Account.
Calper-california

For the next 10 years, in CALPERS, nothing much happened.  Either up or down, a total of $2000/ year.  Basically, not much happened.  When I was 50, a new plan was available, if we chose to contribute.  It was called a PCRA (Personal Choice Retirement Account).  I got in on the Dot Com thing, and staying only in mutual funds, rode it up ($933,000), and rode it down ($110,000 at the end).  Each time I made a mistake, like riding the market down, I made a mental note to not make that particular mistake again.  Keep this in mind for later…. early December, 2008, at the end of the worst financial year the World has known in my lifetime.

At the beginning of 2003, when I had hit my $110,000 bottom, it was an early day in January 2003.  So, I searched to find the 10 best stocks from 2002. Chinese company Net Ease, NTES, was one of them.  15 minutes after my due diligence, putting most of the money into it, a young friend called to tell me about another company, which I began tracking, until mid-October.  By that time, NTES had tripled, and this other company was the only one to keep pace with it.  One day, the Chinese government cracked down on NTES, it dropped from a triple to a double, and I immediately got out.  Foreign country, couldn’t trust it, and put everything into the other company…..Taser, TASR.  I loaded up, and over the next 13 1/2 months it went from $200,000m through three splits,  to $2.2 million.  I’d been dragging my feet for a couple of months, about putting a protective stop on it.  I’d never done that before.  Finally put in the stop, January, 2005, and the next morning, the bottom dropped out.  (Sheer coincidence or Act of God.)  Bear in mind, I’d been watching it now, practically every day, for two years.  I had accumulated 101,663 shares for myself, and 10,000 shares for my daughter.

I’d dodged a bullet, and my legs literally were shaking.  (By this time, I hadbecome the single parent of my daughter, who was given to me in 1987).  So, I was investing for her and for me.  What I am in, she’s in, too.  I decided to see what looked really interesting, and after a couple of days, looking at a handful of companies any way I could think of, I decided on good old Apple.

Jim-Cramer-of-CNBC
I started buying shares at $33 a share, January, 2005.  Went into the living room, turned on the TV, and there was Jim Cramer, telling everyone about a company that was not worth getting into.  It had very little market share, and was basically worthless.  He was talking about AAPL.  I stuck by my guns.  (He claims to have always been an Apple fan, but I’ve counted five times at least, when he turned his back on it.)  Every month, when I received my pay, I put whatever was allowed into my 457 account, and loaded up on Apple.  (My father was a computer pioneer in 1951, on the World’s first commercial computer, UNIVAC 1, and he always liked Apple.  He even taught my daughter, Kelly, when she was 5, how to use a computer.  It was an Apple 2C, which I still have.  So, perhaps, I have a sentimental attachment to Apple, too.I’d still been maxing out my Roth IRA, and even started a brokerage account, eventually was able to max out a 401k, so now had four accounts, through USAA and Schwab,  with a total of 42,050 shares (Or was it 42,060?).  I rode the Apple roller coaster up and down in ’05 and ’06, but by the end of ’07, it had reached a net value of $7.1million.

During this time, I’d talked other officers into getting into the Personal Choice accounts, and they got into Apple.  In ’08, Apple went from about $198.50 a share in December, to a low of about $79.35 late November, ’08.  I was losing about 200k a day for weeks at a time.  Remembering way back to the Dot Com days, I sold everything I had, because I would not go below $1.5 million.  It was like a real life game of Deal or No Deal, with Howie Mandel hosting.  I tried a couple of tepid re-entries into Apple, finally thinking it was good to go, on April 9, 2009.  Did it for my daughter, for whom there is a Roth IRA and a brokerage account.  (She worked at a flower kiosk as a teen, got her first W-2 form.  So I matched that, and she now had a Roth IRA.  Today she is 31, and her “Apple” Roth IRA is worth $78,275.)  As of close of business today, I have accumulated 10,501 shares in my own account, and it’s net worth is $5,963,029.

Apple-picture

By this time, I have gotten a number of other officers, perhaps 20, to invest, and I buy Apple for five of them.  The others buy Apple for themselves.  Over it’s lifetime, Apple has averaged about 24% a year,

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