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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 International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (NYSE: IFF) back in 2010, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 09/14/2010


End date: 09/11/2020
Start price/share: $47.48
End price/share: $121.03
Starting shares: 210.61
Ending shares: 257.53
Dividends reinvested/share: $20.60
Total return: 211.69%
Average annual return: 12.04%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $31,169.58

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.04%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $31,169.58 today (as of 09/11/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 211.69% (something to think about: how might IFF shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. paid investors a total of $20.60/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 3.08/share, we calculate that IFF has a current yield of approximately 2.55%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.08 against the original $47.48/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.37%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“When everyone is going right, look left.” — Sam Zell