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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 Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASD: VRTX) 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: 06/04/2015


End date: 06/03/2020
Start price/share: $126.94
End price/share: $277.01
Starting shares: 78.78
Ending shares: 78.78
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 118.22%
Average annual return: 16.88%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $21,821.60

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 16.88%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $21,821.60 today (as of 06/03/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 118.22% (something to think about: how might VRTX shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.” — George Soros