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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

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a decade-long holding period for an investor who was considering Etrade Financial Corporation (NASD: ETFC) back in 2010, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 08/19/2010


End date: 08/18/2020
Start price/share: $14.02
End price/share: $52.90
Starting shares: 713.27
Ending shares: 730.83
Dividends reinvested/share: $1.12
Total return: 286.61%
Average annual return: 14.47%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $38,657.91

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 14.47%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $38,657.91 today (as of 08/18/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 286.61% (something to think about: how might ETFC shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Etrade Financial Corporation paid investors a total of $1.12/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 .56/share, we calculate that ETFC has a current yield of approximately 1.06%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .56 against the original $14.02/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 7.56%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“People who invest make money for themselves; people who speculate make money for their brokers.” — Benjamin Graham