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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

A key lesson we can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how to think about a potential stock investment in the context of a long-term time horizon. Every investor in a stock has a choice: bite our fingernails over the short-term ups and downs that are inevitable with the stock market, or, zero in on stocks we are comfortable to simply buy and hold for the long haul — maybe even a decade-long holding period. Heck, investors can even choose to completely ignore the stock market’s short-run quotations and instead go into their initial investment planning to hold on for years and years regardless of the fluctuations in price that might occur next.

Today, we examine what would have happened over a decade-long holding period, had you decided back in 2009 to buy shares of Williams Cos Inc (NYSE: WMB) and simply hold through to today.

Start date: 05/11/2009


End date: 05/08/2019
Start price/share: $12.61
End price/share: $27.09
Starting shares: 793.02
Ending shares: 1,228.77
Dividends reinvested/share: $12.96
Total return: 232.87%
Average annual return: 12.78%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $33,279.58

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.78%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $33,279.58 today (as of 05/08/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 232.87% (something to think about: how might WMB 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 WMB’s total return these past 10 years has been the payment by Williams Cos Inc of $12.96/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 1.52/share, we calculate that WMB has a current yield of approximately 5.61%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.52 against the original $12.61/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 44.49%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Calling someone who trades actively in the market an investor is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a romantic.” — Warren Buffett