Photo credit:

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

— 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 twenty year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Roper Technologies Inc (NYSE: ROP) back in 2001: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full twenty year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 05/24/2001


End date: 05/21/2021
Start price/share: $21.30
End price/share: $439.82
Starting shares: 469.48
Ending shares: 531.51
Dividends reinvested/share: $15.02
Total return: 2,237.69%
Average annual return: 17.06%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $233,638.95

As we can see, the twenty year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.06%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $233,638.95 today (as of 05/21/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 2,237.69% (something to think about: how might ROP shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Roper Technologies Inc paid investors a total of $15.02/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 2.25/share, we calculate that ROP has a current yield of approximately 0.51%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.25 against the original $21.30/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.39%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Searching for companies is like looking for grubs under rocks: if you turn over 10 rocks you’ll likely find one grub; if you turn over 20 rocks you’ll find two.” — Peter Lynch