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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 decade-long holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. (NYSE: MTD) 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: 07/07/2010


End date: 07/06/2020
Start price/share: $113.51
End price/share: $823.45
Starting shares: 88.10
Ending shares: 88.10
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 625.44%
Average annual return: 21.90%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $72,528.44

As we can see, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 21.90%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $72,528.44 today (as of 07/06/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 625.44% (something to think about: how might MTD shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The most important thing about an investment philosophy is that you have one.” — David Booth