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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— Warren Buffett

A critical pearl of wisdom from Warren Buffett teaches us that with any potential stock investment we may make, as soon as our buy order is filled we will have a choice: to remain a co-owner of that company for the long haul, or to react to the inevitable short-term ups and downs that the stock market is famous for (sometimes sharp ups and downs).

The reality of this choice forces us to challenge our confidence in any given company we might invest into, and keep our eyes on the long-term time horizon. The market may go up and down the interim, but over a two-decade holding period, will the investment succeed?

Back in 1999, investors may have been asking themselves that very question about AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE: ABC). Let’s examine what would have happened over a two-decade holding period, had you invested in ABC shares back in 1999 and held on.

Start date: 03/01/1999


End date: 02/26/2019
Start price/share: $18.69
End price/share: $83.92
Starting shares: 535.05
Ending shares: 653.92
Dividends reinvested/share: $10.66
Total return: 448.77%
Average annual return: 8.88%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $54,848.49

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.88%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $54,848.49 today (as of 02/26/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 448.77% (something to think about: how might ABC shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of AmerisourceBergen Corp., investors have received $10.66/share in dividends these past 20 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.6/share, we calculate that ABC has a current yield of approximately 1.91%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.6 against the original $18.69/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 10.22%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Unless you can watch your stock holding decline by 50% without becoming panic-stricken, you should not be in the stock market.” — Warren Buffett