Buying and holding good quality shares over many years might not be an exciting ‘get-rich-quick’ strategy, but it is a proven strategy that has created impressive sums of wealth over the long term.

In fact, some of the world’s richest people have used this buy and hold strategy to build their fortunes and there is nothing to stop the average investor from doing the same thing.

With that in mind, here are four shares that I think investors could consider as part of a long term strategy to help them to an early retirement:

ResMed Inc. (CHESS) (ASX: RMD)

ResMed has already enjoyed great success over the last decade, but I think the next 10 years could be just as exciting. The sleep apnoea market is growing day-by-day and there is still a huge population of people that could benefit from its treatment options who are still to be diagnosed. ResMed is also targeting the use of technology based services to improve its offering to customers and this should see compliance increase in the future. The shares trade at a premium to the broader market, but investors can expect ResMed to be a consistent performer.

Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX)

There is no doubt that Sirtex is a high risk / high reward proposition, but I think investors who can stomach the volatility associated with this biotech company could reap the rewards in the future. The company has only penetrated around 2% of its addressable market so far, which means there is a significant opportunity for growth in the future. Investors should keep in mind that the shares are likely to remain volatile as the market awaits results from a number of key clinical trials that are expected to be released over the next year or so.

Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN)

Crown looks well placed to capitalise on the opportunities that are likely to be created from the ongoing rise of the Asian middle class. The casino and resort operator is also making an effort to enhance shareholder value through a number of proposals including one that could see the demerger of some of its underperforming international assets. On top of that, Crown has an impressive pipeline of new projects, including the Barangaroo development in Sydney, which should help the company boost its share of the gaming market in the Asia Pacific region.

Smart Parking Ltd (ASX: SPZ)

Smart Parking is a small cap technology company that is aiming to revolutionise the way people park their cars in urban areas. Importantly, the company has delivered a consistent improvement in performance over the last few years and is now on the cusp of becoming profitable. While the company would still be regarded as speculative at this stage, the potential global rollout of its technology means Smart Parking is definitely a company to keep an eye on.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of Sirtex Medical Limited and Smart Parking. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.