Photo credit:

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

— Warren Buffett

The investment philosophy practiced by Warren Buffett calls for investors to take a long-term horizon when making an investment, such as a decade-long holding period (or even longer), and reconsider making the investment in the first place if unable to envision holding the stock for at least five years. Today, we look at how such a long-term strategy would have done for investors in American Water Works Co, Inc. (NYSE: AWK) back in 2009, holding through to today.

Start date: 04/06/2009


End date: 04/04/2019
Start price/share: $18.24
End price/share: $103.86
Starting shares: 548.25
Ending shares: 720.22
Dividends reinvested/share: $12.29
Total return: 648.02%
Average annual return: 22.29%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $74,801.35

The above analysis shows the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 22.29%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $74,801.35 today (as of 04/04/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 648.02% (something to think about: how might AWK shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of AWK’s total return these past 10 years has been the payment by American Water Works Co, Inc. of $12.29/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.82/share, we calculate that AWK has a current yield of approximately 1.75%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.82 against the original $18.24/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.59%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“A lot of people with high IQs are terrible investors because they’ve got terrible temperaments. You need to keep raw, irrational emotion under control.” — Charlie Munger