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

— 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 two-decade holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG) back in 2000. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 09/18/2000


End date: 09/15/2020
Start price/share: $21.69
End price/share: $71.07
Starting shares: 461.04
Ending shares: 1,082.50
Dividends reinvested/share: $80.82
Total return: 669.33%
Average annual return: 10.74%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $76,972.07

As shown above, the two-decade investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.74%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $76,972.07 today (as of 09/15/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 669.33% (something to think about: how might SPG shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Simon Property Group, Inc. paid investors a total of $80.82/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 5.2/share, we calculate that SPG has a current yield of approximately 7.32%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 5.2 against the original $21.69/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 33.75%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“If investing is entertaining, if you’re having fun, you’re probably not making any money. Good investing is boring.” — George Soros