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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— Warren Buffett

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a twenty year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into BorgWarner Inc (NYSE: BWA) back in 2000: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full twenty year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 09/05/2000


End date: 09/02/2020
Start price/share: $4.38
End price/share: $42.93
Starting shares: 2,283.11
Ending shares: 2,783.15
Dividends reinvested/share: $5.35
Total return: 1,094.81%
Average annual return: 13.20%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $119,460.30

The above analysis shows the twenty year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 13.20%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $119,460.30 today (as of 09/02/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,094.81% (something to think about: how might BWA shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that BorgWarner Inc paid investors a total of $5.35/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 BWA has a current yield of approximately 1.58%. 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 $4.38/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 36.07%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Cash combined with courage in a time of crisis is priceless.” — Warren Buffett