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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into SunTrust Banks Inc (NYSE: STI) back in 2014: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 04/29/2014


End date: 04/26/2019
Start price/share: $37.94
End price/share: $64.96
Starting shares: 263.57
Ending shares: 296.54
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.14
Total return: 92.63%
Average annual return: 14.03%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $19,265.63

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 14.03%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $19,265.63 today (as of 04/26/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 92.63% (something to think about: how might STI shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that SunTrust Banks Inc paid investors a total of $6.14/share in dividends over the 5 holding period, marking a second component of the total return beyond share price change alone. Much like watering a tree, reinvesting dividends can help an investment to grow over time — for the above calculations we assume dividend reinvestment (and for this exercise the closing price on ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2/share, we calculate that STI has a current yield of approximately 3.08%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2 against the original $37.94/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 8.12%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“If a speculator is correct half of the time, he is hitting a good average. Even being right 3 or 4 times out of 10 should yield a person a fortune if he has the sense to cut his losses quickly on the ventures where he is wrong.” — Bernard Baruch