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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 ten year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASD: ALXN) back in 2011: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full ten year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 02/09/2011


End date: 02/08/2021
Start price/share: $43.06
End price/share: $154.50
Starting shares: 232.23
Ending shares: 232.23
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 258.80%
Average annual return: 13.62%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $35,879.94

As we can see, the ten year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 13.62%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $35,879.94 today (as of 02/08/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 258.80% (something to think about: how might ALXN shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“The four most dangerous words in investing are: ‘this time it’s different.'” — Sir John Templeton