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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

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 decade-long holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) back in 2011. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 07/21/2011


End date: 07/20/2021
Start price/share: $15.64
End price/share: $67.94
Starting shares: 639.39
Ending shares: 723.36
Dividends reinvested/share: $3.89
Total return: 391.45%
Average annual return: 17.25%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $49,148.15

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.25%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $49,148.15 today (as of 07/20/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 391.45% (something to think about: how might SCHW shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that The Charles Schwab Corporation paid investors a total of $3.89/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 .72/share, we calculate that SCHW has a current yield of approximately 1.06%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .72 against the original $15.64/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.78%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Our job is to find a few intelligent things to do, not to keep up with every damn thing in the world.” — Charlie Munger