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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

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a five year holding period for an investor who was considering Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC) back in 2015, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 10/21/2015


End date: 10/20/2020
Start price/share: $15.90
End price/share: $24.14
Starting shares: 628.93
Ending shares: 691.48
Dividends reinvested/share: $2.43
Total return: 66.92%
Average annual return: 10.78%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $16,688.93

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.78%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $16,688.93 today (as of 10/20/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 66.92% (something to think about: how might BAC shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of Bank of America Corp, investors have received $2.43/share in dividends these past 5 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .72/share, we calculate that BAC has a current yield of approximately 2.98%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .72 against the original $15.90/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 18.74%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Based on my own personal experience, both as an investor in recent years and an expert witness in years past, rarely do more than three or four variables really count. Everything else is noise.” — Martin Whitman