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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

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a decade-long holding period for an investor who was considering Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE: DAL) back in 2010, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 05/13/2010


End date: 05/12/2020
Start price/share: $13.25
End price/share: $21.03
Starting shares: 754.72
Ending shares: 849.52
Dividends reinvested/share: $5.78
Total return: 78.65%
Average annual return: 5.97%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $17,863.53

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 5.97%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $17,863.53 today (as of 05/12/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 78.65% (something to think about: how might DAL shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Delta Air Lines Inc paid investors a total of $5.78/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 1.61/share, we calculate that DAL has a current yield of approximately 7.66%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.61 against the original $13.25/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 57.81%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.” — John Bogle