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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— Warren Buffett

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a two-decade period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 1999, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Idexx Laboratories, Inc. (NASD: IDXX), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a two-decade holding period.

Start date: 06/01/1999


End date: 05/29/2019
Start price/share: $6.10
End price/share: $247.45
Starting shares: 1,639.34
Ending shares: 1,639.34
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 3,956.56%
Average annual return: 20.33%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $405,432.67

As shown above, the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 20.33%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $405,432.67 today (as of 05/29/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 3,956.56% (something to think about: how might IDXX shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up.” — Charlie Munger