“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”
— 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 twodecade holding period possibly?
Suppose a “buyandhold” investor was considering an investment into PPL Corp (NYSE: PPL) back in 1999: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full twodecade investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.
Start date:  05/06/1999 


End date:  05/03/2019  
Start price/share:  $13.48  
End price/share:  $31.22  
Starting shares:  741.84  
Ending shares:  1,716.23  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $22.65  
Total return:  435.81%  
Average annual return:  8.75%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $53,553.14 
As shown above, the twodecade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.75%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $53,553.14 today (as of 05/03/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 435.81% (something to think about: how might PPL shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that PPL Corp paid investors a total of $22.65/share in dividends over the 20 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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.65/share, we calculate that PPL has a current yield of approximately 5.29%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.65 against the original $13.48/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 39.24%.
More investment wisdom to ponder:
“As time goes on, I get more and more convinced that the right method of investment is to put fairly large sums into enterprises which one thinks one knows something about and in the management of which one thoroughly believes.” — John Maynard Keynes