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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— Warren Buffett

The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a ten year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of United Continental Holdings Inc (NASD: UAL) back in 2009. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 04/13/2009


End date: 04/11/2019
Start price/share: $6.76
End price/share: $85.75
Starting shares: 1,479.29
Ending shares: 1,479.29
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 1,168.49%
Average annual return: 28.92%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $126,824.44

As shown above, the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 28.92%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $126,824.44 today (as of 04/11/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,168.49% (something to think about: how might UAL shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Confronted with a challenge to distill the secret of sound investment into three words, we venture the motto, Margin of Safety.” — Benjamin Graham