Photo credit:

“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2015, investors considering an investment into shares of 3M Co (NYSE: MMM) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 08/27/2015


End date: 08/26/2020
Start price/share: $143.90
End price/share: $163.90
Starting shares: 69.49
Ending shares: 80.26
Dividends reinvested/share: $25.77
Total return: 31.54%
Average annual return: 5.63%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $13,152.30

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 5.63%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $13,152.30 today (as of 08/26/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 31.54% (something to think about: how might MMM shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that 3M Co paid investors a total of $25.77/share in dividends over the 5 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 5.88/share, we calculate that MMM has a current yield of approximately 3.59%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 5.88 against the original $143.90/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.49%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” — Albert Einstein