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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— Warren Buffett

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a ten year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2010, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Dollar General Corp (NYSE: DG), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a ten year holding period.

Start date: 02/04/2010


End date: 02/03/2020
Start price/share: $22.47
End price/share: $154.77
Starting shares: 445.04
Ending shares: 471.72
Dividends reinvested/share: $5.36
Total return: 630.09%
Average annual return: 21.99%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $73,026.22

The above analysis shows the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 21.99%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $73,026.22 today (as of 02/03/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 630.09% (something to think about: how might DG shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Dollar General Corp paid investors a total of $5.36/share in dividends over the 10 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 1.28/share, we calculate that DG has a current yield of approximately 0.83%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.28 against the original $22.47/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.69%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Buy not on optimism, but on arithmetic.” — Benjamin Graham