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

— Warren Buffett

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a two-decade holding period for an investor who was considering Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) back in 1999, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 07/19/1999


End date: 07/16/2019
Start price/share: $39.41
End price/share: $75.93
Starting shares: 253.74
Ending shares: 430.29
Dividends reinvested/share: $36.94
Total return: 226.72%
Average annual return: 6.10%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $32,692.53

As shown above, the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.10%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $32,692.53 today (as of 07/16/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 226.72% (something to think about: how might XOM shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Always an important consideration with a dividend-paying company is: should we reinvest our dividends?Over the past 20 years, Exxon Mobil Corp has paid $36.94/share in dividends. For the above analysis, we assume that the investor reinvests dividends into new shares of stock (for the above calculations, the reinvestment is performed using closing price on ex-div date for that dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 3.48/share, we calculate that XOM has a current yield of approximately 4.58%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.48 against the original $39.41/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 11.62%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“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