“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”
— Warren Buffett
Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?
Suppose a “buyandhold” investor was considering an investment into Dollar General Corp (NYSE: DG) back in 2016: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.
Start date:  04/07/2016 


End date:  04/06/2021  
Start price/share:  $83.72  
End price/share:  $205.63  
Starting shares:  119.45  
Ending shares:  125.91  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $6.09  
Total return:  158.91%  
Average annual return:  20.96%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $25,894.58 
The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 20.96%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $25,894.58 today (as of 04/06/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 158.91% (something to think about: how might DG shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that Dollar General Corp paid investors a total of $6.09/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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.68/share, we calculate that DG has a current yield of approximately 0.82%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.68 against the original $83.72/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.98%.
One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“As in roulette, same is true of the stock trader, who will find that the expense of trading weights the dice heavily against him.” — Benjamin Graham