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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

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 ten year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into eBay Inc. (NASD: EBAY) back in 2010: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full ten year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 09/03/2010


End date: 09/02/2020
Start price/share: $10.16
End price/share: $55.09
Starting shares: 984.25
Ending shares: 1,010.22
Dividends reinvested/share: $1.04
Total return: 456.53%
Average annual return: 18.72%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $55,673.33

As we can see, the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 18.72%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $55,673.33 today (as of 09/02/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 456.53% (something to think about: how might EBAY shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of EBAY’s total return these past 10 years has been the payment by eBay Inc. of $1.04/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .64/share, we calculate that EBAY has a current yield of approximately 1.16%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .64 against the original $10.16/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 11.42%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“All intelligent investing is value investing: acquiring more that you are paying for. You must value the business in order to value the stock.” — Charlie Munger