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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

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 five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASD: VRTX) back in 2016. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 01/13/2016


End date: 01/12/2021
Start price/share: $96.37
End price/share: $229.38
Starting shares: 103.77
Ending shares: 103.77
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 138.02%
Average annual return: 18.93%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $23,804.74

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 18.93%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $23,804.74 today (as of 01/12/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 138.02% (something to think about: how might VRTX shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“There’s a virtuous cycle when people have to defend challenges to their ideas. Any gaps in thinking or analysis become clear pretty quickly when smart people ask good, logical questions.” — Joel Greenblatt