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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— 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 five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of PepsiCo Inc (NASD: PEP) back in 2015. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 05/28/2015


End date: 05/27/2020
Start price/share: $97.06
End price/share: $130.81
Starting shares: 103.03
Ending shares: 119.39
Dividends reinvested/share: $16.58
Total return: 56.17%
Average annual return: 9.32%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $15,617.23

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.32%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $15,617.23 today (as of 05/27/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 56.17% (something to think about: how might PEP shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that PepsiCo Inc paid investors a total of $16.58/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 ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 4.09/share, we calculate that PEP has a current yield of approximately 3.13%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.09 against the original $97.06/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.22%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“While it might seem that anyone can be a value investor, the essential characteristics of this type of investor-patience, discipline, and risk aversion-may well be genetically determined.” — Seth Klarman