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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— 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 twenty year holding period for an investor who was considering FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASD: FLIR) back in 2000, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 09/25/2000


End date: 09/24/2020
Start price/share: $0.80
End price/share: $34.64
Starting shares: 12,500.00
Ending shares: 14,237.42
Dividends reinvested/share: $4.63
Total return: 4,831.84%
Average annual return: 21.51%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $493,364.25

As we can see, the twenty year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 21.51%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $493,364.25 today (as of 09/24/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 4,831.84% (something to think about: how might FLIR shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that FLIR Systems, Inc. paid investors a total of $4.63/share in dividends over the 20 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 .68/share, we calculate that FLIR has a current yield of approximately 1.96%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .68 against the original $0.80/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 245.00%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up.” — Charlie Munger