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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— 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 two-decade 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 20 years to 1999, investors considering an investment into shares of Idexx Laboratories, Inc. (NASD: IDXX) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full two-decade time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 12/27/1999


End date: 12/26/2019
Start price/share: $4.03
End price/share: $261.43
Starting shares: 2,481.39
Ending shares: 2,481.39
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 6,387.10%
Average annual return: 23.18%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $648,330.15

As shown above, the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 23.18%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $648,330.15 today (as of 12/26/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 6,387.10% (something to think about: how might IDXX shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” — Albert Einstein