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

— 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 five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) back in 2015. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 09/22/2015


End date: 09/21/2020
Start price/share: $78.84
End price/share: $214.21
Starting shares: 126.84
Ending shares: 141.55
Dividends reinvested/share: $13.30
Total return: 203.22%
Average annual return: 24.82%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $30,316.89

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 24.82%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $30,316.89 today (as of 09/21/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 203.22% (something to think about: how might DE shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Deere & Co. paid investors a total of $13.30/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 3.04/share, we calculate that DE has a current yield of approximately 1.42%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.04 against the original $78.84/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.80%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Most investors want to do today what they should have done yesterday.” — Larry Summers