Photo credit:

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

— Warren Buffett

The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a two-decade holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of IDEX Corporation (NYSE: IEX) back in 2000. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 01/14/2000


End date: 01/13/2020
Start price/share: $13.69
End price/share: $173.34
Starting shares: 730.46
Ending shares: 994.96
Dividends reinvested/share: $14.92
Total return: 1,624.66%
Average annual return: 15.29%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $172,389.16

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.29%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $172,389.16 today (as of 01/13/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,624.66% (something to think about: how might IEX shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that IDEX Corporation paid investors a total of $14.92/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/share, we calculate that IEX has a current yield of approximately 1.15%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2 against the original $13.69/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 8.40%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“I made my money by selling too soon.” — Bernard Baruch