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

— 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 twenty year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Marriott International, Inc. (NASD: MAR) back in 2001. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 06/29/2001


End date: 06/28/2021
Start price/share: $22.07
End price/share: $135.87
Starting shares: 453.10
Ending shares: 550.47
Dividends reinvested/share: $11.31
Total return: 647.93%
Average annual return: 10.58%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $74,818.73

As we can see, the twenty year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.58%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $74,818.73 today (as of 06/28/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 647.93% (something to think about: how might MAR shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Dividends are always an important investment factor to consider, and Marriott International, Inc. has paid $11.31/share in dividends to shareholders over the past 20 years we looked at above. Many an investor will only invest in stocks that pay dividends, so this component of total return is always an important consideration. Automated reinvestment of dividends into additional shares of stock can be a great way for an investor to compound their returns. The above calculations are done with the assuption that dividends received over time are reinvested (the calcuations use the closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.92/share, we calculate that MAR has a current yield of approximately 1.41%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.92 against the original $22.07/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.39%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Based on my own personal experience, both as an investor in recent years and an expert witness in years past, rarely do more than three or four variables really count. Everything else is noise.” — Martin Whitman