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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

The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a decade-long holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) back in 2011. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 01/12/2011


End date: 01/11/2021
Start price/share: $41.12
End price/share: $125.26
Starting shares: 243.19
Ending shares: 333.21
Dividends reinvested/share: $20.60
Total return: 317.38%
Average annual return: 15.35%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $41,736.48

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.35%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $41,736.48 today (as of 01/11/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 317.38% (something to think about: how might DRI shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Darden Restaurants, Inc. paid investors a total of $20.60/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 1.48/share, we calculate that DRI has a current yield of approximately 1.18%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.48 against the original $41.12/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.87%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“When everyone is going right, look left.” — Sam Zell