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

— 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 Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB) 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: 10/27/2000


End date: 10/26/2020
Start price/share: $62.74
End price/share: $135.69
Starting shares: 159.39
Ending shares: 304.63
Dividends reinvested/share: $53.34
Total return: 313.35%
Average annual return: 7.35%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $41,340.77

As we can see, the twenty year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 7.35%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $41,340.77 today (as of 10/26/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 313.35% (something to think about: how might KMB shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Kimberly-Clark Corp. paid investors a total of $53.34/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 4.28/share, we calculate that KMB has a current yield of approximately 3.15%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.28 against the original $62.74/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.02%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“When you sell in desperation, you always sell cheap.” — Peter Lynch