Photo credit:

“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 “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Accenture plc (NYSE: ACN) 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: 06/23/2015


End date: 06/22/2020
Start price/share: $98.25
End price/share: $202.60
Starting shares: 101.78
Ending shares: 111.33
Dividends reinvested/share: $12.60
Total return: 125.55%
Average annual return: 17.65%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $22,550.34

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.65%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $22,550.34 today (as of 06/22/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 125.55% (something to think about: how might ACN shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Accenture plc paid investors a total of $12.60/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 3.2/share, we calculate that ACN has a current yield of approximately 1.58%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.2 against the original $98.25/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.61%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks.” — Benjamin Graham