“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”
— Warren Buffett
Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?
Suppose a “buyandhold” investor was considering an investment into Comerica, Inc. (NYSE: CMA) back in 2015: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.
Start date:  02/05/2015 


End date:  02/04/2020  
Start price/share:  $44.73  
End price/share:  $62.90  
Starting shares:  223.56  
Ending shares:  249.80  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $7.33  
Total return:  57.12%  
Average annual return:  9.46%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $15,713.66 
As we can see, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.46%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $15,713.66 today (as of 02/04/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 57.12% (something to think about: how might CMA shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that Comerica, Inc. paid investors a total of $7.33/share in dividends over the 5 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 2.72/share, we calculate that CMA has a current yield of approximately 4.32%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.72 against the original $44.73/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.66%.
One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“In the end, how your investments behave is much less important than how you behave.” — Benjamin Graham