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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a two-decade holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc (NYSE: MAA)? Today, we examine the outcome of a two-decade investment into the stock back in 2001.

Start date: 03/05/2001


End date: 03/04/2021
Start price/share: $22.47
End price/share: $132.70
Starting shares: 445.04
Ending shares: 1,227.81
Dividends reinvested/share: $56.55
Total return: 1,529.31%
Average annual return: 14.97%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $163,062.68

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 14.97%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $163,062.68 today (as of 03/04/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,529.31% (something to think about: how might MAA shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc paid investors a total of $56.55/share in dividends over the 20 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 4.1/share, we calculate that MAA has a current yield of approximately 3.09%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.1 against the original $22.47/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 13.75%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.” — Warren Buffett