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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— 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 decade-long holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Genuine Parts Co. (NYSE: GPC) back in 2010: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full decade-long investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 12/16/2010


End date: 12/15/2020
Start price/share: $51.22
End price/share: $96.59
Starting shares: 195.24
Ending shares: 262.65
Dividends reinvested/share: $25.11
Total return: 153.70%
Average annual return: 9.75%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $25,366.86

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.75%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $25,366.86 today (as of 12/15/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 153.70% (something to think about: how might GPC shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Genuine Parts Co. paid investors a total of $25.11/share in dividends over the 10 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 3.16/share, we calculate that GPC has a current yield of approximately 3.27%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.16 against the original $51.22/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.38%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“If you can follow only one bit of data, follow the earnings.” — Peter Lynch