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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 wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. (NYSE: MTD) back in 2016. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 03/01/2016


End date: 02/26/2021
Start price/share: $329.41
End price/share: $1,116.05
Starting shares: 30.36
Ending shares: 30.36
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 238.80%
Average annual return: 27.67%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $33,873.73

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 27.67%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $33,873.73 today (as of 02/26/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 238.80% (something to think about: how might MTD shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The emotional burden of trading is substantial; on any given day, I could lose millions of dollars. If you personalize these losses, you can’t trade.” — Bruce Kovner