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

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a twenty year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into International Paper Co (NYSE: IP)? Today, we examine the outcome of a twenty year investment into the stock back in 1999.

Start date: 12/06/1999


End date: 12/03/2019
Start price/share: $53.25
End price/share: $46.08
Starting shares: 187.79
Ending shares: 354.02
Dividends reinvested/share: $23.53
Total return: 63.13%
Average annual return: 2.48%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $16,324.53

The above analysis shows the twenty year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 2.48%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $16,324.53 today (as of 12/03/2019). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 63.13% (something to think about: how might IP shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that International Paper Co paid investors a total of $23.53/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 ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2.05/share, we calculate that IP has a current yield of approximately 4.45%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.05 against the original $53.25/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 8.36%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“The best way to measure your investing success is not by whether you’re beating the market but by whether you’ve put in place a financial plan and a behavioral discipline that are likely to get you where you want to go.” — Benjamin Graham