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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

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2014, investors considering an investment into shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 05/22/2014


End date: 05/21/2019
Start price/share: $100.96
End price/share: $138.12
Starting shares: 99.05
Ending shares: 113.49
Dividends reinvested/share: $15.96
Total return: 56.75%
Average annual return: 9.41%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $15,677.80

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.41%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $15,677.80 today (as of 05/21/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 56.75% (something to think about: how might JNJ shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Johnson & Johnson paid investors a total of $15.96/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 3.8/share, we calculate that JNJ has a current yield of approximately 2.75%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.8 against the original $100.96/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.72%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.” — Robert Arnott