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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

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2015, investors considering an investment into shares of MetLife Inc (NYSE: MET) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 12/18/2015


End date: 12/17/2020
Start price/share: $41.40
End price/share: $46.49
Starting shares: 241.55
Ending shares: 290.99
Dividends reinvested/share: $8.09
Total return: 35.28%
Average annual return: 6.23%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $13,530.31

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.23%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $13,530.31 today (as of 12/17/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 35.28% (something to think about: how might MET shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of MET’s total return these past 5 years has been the payment by MetLife Inc of $8.09/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.84/share, we calculate that MET has a current yield of approximately 3.96%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.84 against the original $41.40/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.57%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“You can’t be a good value investor without being an independent thinker; you’re seeing valuations that the market is not appreciating. But it’s critical that you understand why the market isn’t seeing the value you do.” — Joel Greenblatt