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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 2016, investors considering an investment into shares of Paychex Inc (NASD: PAYX) 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: 02/16/2016


End date: 02/12/2021
Start price/share: $49.99
End price/share: $89.40
Starting shares: 200.04
Ending shares: 234.57
Dividends reinvested/share: $10.96
Total return: 109.70%
Average annual return: 15.98%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $20,968.28

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.98%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $20,968.28 today (as of 02/12/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 109.70% (something to think about: how might PAYX shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Paychex Inc paid investors a total of $10.96/share in dividends over the 5 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 2.48/share, we calculate that PAYX has a current yield of approximately 2.77%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.48 against the original $49.99/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.54%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Value investing requires a great deal of hard work, unusually strict discipline, and a long-term investment horizon. Few are willing and able to devote sufficient time and effort to become value investors, and only a fraction of those have the proper mind-set to succeed.” — Seth Klarman