“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 exdate 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