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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 Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a five year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Principal Financial Group Inc (NASD: PFG)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2015.

Start date: 10/09/2015


End date: 10/08/2020
Start price/share: $49.46
End price/share: $43.45
Starting shares: 202.18
Ending shares: 244.52
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.82
Total return: 6.24%
Average annual return: 1.22%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $10,625.42

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 1.22%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $10,625.42 today (as of 10/08/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 6.24% (something to think about: how might PFG shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Principal Financial Group Inc paid investors a total of $9.82/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 2.24/share, we calculate that PFG has a current yield of approximately 5.16%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.24 against the original $49.46/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 10.43%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“The ideal business is one that earns very high returns on capital and that keeps using lots of capital at those high returns. That becomes a compounding machine.” — Warren Buffett