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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 Automatic Data Processing Inc. (NASD: ADP) 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: 05/08/2009


End date: 05/07/2019
Start price/share: $32.34
End price/share: $158.35
Starting shares: 309.21
Ending shares: 401.17
Dividends reinvested/share: $18.22
Total return: 535.25%
Average annual return: 20.30%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $63,514.98

The above analysis shows the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 20.30%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $63,514.98 today (as of 05/07/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 535.25% (something to think about: how might ADP 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 ADP’s total return these past 10 years has been the payment by Automatic Data Processing Inc. of $18.22/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 3.16/share, we calculate that ADP has a current yield of approximately 2.00%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.16 against the original $32.34/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.18%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.” — Donald Trump