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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 Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a decade-long holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM)? Today, we examine the outcome of a decade-long investment into the stock back in 2011.

Start date: 02/25/2011


End date: 02/24/2021
Start price/share: $85.34
End price/share: $56.70
Starting shares: 117.18
Ending shares: 172.46
Dividends reinvested/share: $28.68
Total return: -2.22%
Average annual return: -0.22%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $9,782.05

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -0.22%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $9,782.05 today (as of 02/24/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -2.22% (something to think about: how might XOM shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Exxon Mobil Corp paid investors a total of $28.68/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 3.48/share, we calculate that XOM has a current yield of approximately 6.14%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.48 against the original $85.34/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 7.19%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Games are won by players who focus on the playing field, not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard.” — Warren Buffett