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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

A critical pearl of wisdom from Warren Buffett teaches us that with any potential stock investment we may make, as soon as our buy order is filled we will have a choice: to remain a co-owner of that company for the long haul, or to react to the inevitable short-term ups and downs that the stock market is famous for (sometimes sharp ups and downs).

The reality of this choice forces us to challenge our confidence in any given company we might invest into, and keep our eyes on the long-term time horizon. The market may go up and down the interim, but over a ten year holding period, will the investment succeed?

Back in 2010, investors may have been asking themselves that very question about FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX). Let’s examine what would have happened over a ten year holding period, had you invested in FDX shares back in 2010 and held on.

Start date: 12/27/2010


End date: 12/23/2020
Start price/share: $93.03
End price/share: $270.71
Starting shares: 107.49
Ending shares: 117.36
Dividends reinvested/share: $14.35
Total return: 217.70%
Average annual return: 12.26%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $31,776.99

As shown above, the ten year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.26%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $31,776.99 today (as of 12/23/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 217.70% (something to think about: how might FDX shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that FedEx Corp paid investors a total of $14.35/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 2.6/share, we calculate that FDX has a current yield of approximately 0.96%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.6 against the original $93.03/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.03%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator. This means that he should be able to justify every purchase he makes and each price he pays by impersonal, objective reasoning that satisfies him that he is getting more than his money’s worth for his purchase.” — Benjamin Graham