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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— 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 ten year holding period for an investor who was considering Valero Energy Corp (NYSE: VLO) back in 2011, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 07/13/2011


End date: 07/12/2021
Start price/share: $23.31
End price/share: $71.68
Starting shares: 429.00
Ending shares: 608.39
Dividends reinvested/share: $22.24
Total return: 336.10%
Average annual return: 15.86%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $43,619.99

As shown above, the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.86%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $43,619.99 today (as of 07/12/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 336.10% (something to think about: how might VLO shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Valero Energy Corp paid investors a total of $22.24/share in dividends over the 10 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 3.92/share, we calculate that VLO has a current yield of approximately 5.47%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.92 against the original $23.31/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 23.47%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” — Pablo Picasso