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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

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 ten year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE: COF) back in 2010. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 06/24/2010


End date: 06/23/2020
Start price/share: $42.77
End price/share: $69.57
Starting shares: 233.81
Ending shares: 270.98
Dividends reinvested/share: $11.35
Total return: 88.52%
Average annual return: 6.54%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $18,848.54

The above analysis shows the ten year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.54%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $18,848.54 today (as of 06/23/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 88.52% (something to think about: how might COF shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Capital One Financial Corp paid investors a total of $11.35/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 1.6/share, we calculate that COF has a current yield of approximately 2.30%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.6 against the original $42.77/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.38%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“A lot of people with high IQs are terrible investors because they’ve got terrible temperaments. You need to keep raw, irrational emotion under control.” — Charlie Munger