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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 Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a five year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Unum Group (NYSE: UNM)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2016.

Start date: 03/21/2016


End date: 03/18/2021
Start price/share: $32.32
End price/share: $28.47
Starting shares: 309.41
Ending shares: 364.68
Dividends reinvested/share: $4.94
Total return: 3.83%
Average annual return: 0.75%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $10,380.24

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 0.75%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $10,380.24 today (as of 03/18/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 3.83% (something to think about: how might UNM shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Unum Group paid investors a total of $4.94/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 1.14/share, we calculate that UNM has a current yield of approximately 4.00%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.14 against the original $32.32/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 12.38%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Confronted with a challenge to distill the secret of sound investment into three words, we venture the motto, Margin of Safety.” — Benjamin Graham