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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— Warren Buffett

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a two-decade holding period for an investor who was considering Constellation Brands Inc (NYSE: STZ) back in 2001, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 05/25/2001


End date: 05/24/2021
Start price/share: $9.56
End price/share: $236.48
Starting shares: 1,046.03
Ending shares: 1,132.81
Dividends reinvested/share: $14.64
Total return: 2,578.88%
Average annual return: 17.86%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $267,985.21

As shown above, the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.86%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $267,985.21 today (as of 05/24/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 2,578.88% (something to think about: how might STZ shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Constellation Brands Inc paid investors a total of $14.64/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 3.04/share, we calculate that STZ has a current yield of approximately 1.29%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.04 against the original $9.56/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 13.49%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“When everyone is going right, look left.” — Sam Zell