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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 Church & Dwight Co Inc (NYSE: CHD) 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: 07/19/2010


End date: 07/16/2020
Start price/share: $16.45
End price/share: $84.20
Starting shares: 607.90
Ending shares: 713.19
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.49
Total return: 500.51%
Average annual return: 19.63%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $60,034.52

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 19.63%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $60,034.52 today (as of 07/16/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 500.51% (something to think about: how might CHD shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Church & Dwight Co Inc paid investors a total of $6.49/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 .96/share, we calculate that CHD has a current yield of approximately 1.14%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .96 against the original $16.45/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.93%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Investors should purchase stocks like they purchase groceries, not like they purchase perfume.” — Benjamin Graham