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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

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 five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) back in 2014. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 05/02/2014


End date: 05/01/2019
Start price/share: $106.45
End price/share: $125.47
Starting shares: 93.94
Ending shares: 110.19
Dividends reinvested/share: $18.56
Total return: 38.26%
Average annual return: 6.69%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $13,823.52

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.69%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $13,823.52 today (as of 05/01/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 38.26% (something to think about: how might KMB shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Kimberly-Clark Corp. paid investors a total of $18.56/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 4.12/share, we calculate that KMB has a current yield of approximately 3.28%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.12 against the original $106.45/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.08%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is made by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected.” — George Soros