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

— Warren Buffett

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a two-decade period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2000, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Garmin Ltd (NASD: GRMN), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a two-decade holding period.

Start date: 12/14/2000


End date: 10/27/2020
Start price/share: $10.06
End price/share: $98.61
Starting shares: 994.04
Ending shares: 1,693.35
Dividends reinvested/share: $24.26
Total return: 1,569.81%
Average annual return: 15.21%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $166,874.90

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.21%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $166,874.90 today (as of 10/27/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,569.81% (something to think about: how might GRMN shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Garmin Ltd paid investors a total of $24.26/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 2.44/share, we calculate that GRMN has a current yield of approximately 2.47%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.44 against the original $10.06/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 24.55%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“There’s a virtuous cycle when people have to defend challenges to their ideas. Any gaps in thinking or analysis become clear pretty quickly when smart people ask good, logical questions.” — Joel Greenblatt