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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

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 decade-long holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into WEC Energy Group Inc (NYSE: WEC) back in 2009: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full decade-long investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 05/15/2009


End date: 05/14/2019
Start price/share: $18.64
End price/share: $79.52
Starting shares: 536.48
Ending shares: 741.76
Dividends reinvested/share: $15.19
Total return: 489.85%
Average annual return: 19.41%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $58,968.22

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 19.41%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $58,968.22 today (as of 05/14/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 489.85% (something to think about: how might WEC shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that WEC Energy Group Inc paid investors a total of $15.19/share in dividends over the 10 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 2.36/share, we calculate that WEC has a current yield of approximately 2.97%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.36 against the original $18.64/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 15.93%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.” — George Soros