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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 Lennar Corp (NYSE: LEN), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a two-decade holding period.

Start date: 12/07/2000


End date: 12/04/2020
Start price/share: $17.89
End price/share: $73.88
Starting shares: 558.97
Ending shares: 724.61
Dividends reinvested/share: $7.97
Total return: 435.34%
Average annual return: 8.75%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $53,553.14

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.75%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $53,553.14 today (as of 12/04/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 435.34% (something to think about: how might LEN shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Lennar Corp paid investors a total of $7.97/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 1/share, we calculate that LEN has a current yield of approximately 1.35%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1 against the original $17.89/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 7.55%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Although it’s easy to forget sometimes, a share is not a lottery ticket… it’s part-ownership of a business.” — Peter Lynch