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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2016, investors considering an investment into shares of Becton, Dickinson & Co (NYSE: BDX) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 07/07/2016


End date: 07/06/2021
Start price/share: $173.17
End price/share: $249.35
Starting shares: 57.75
Ending shares: 61.84
Dividends reinvested/share: $15.31
Total return: 54.19%
Average annual return: 9.05%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $15,421.56

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.05%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $15,421.56 today (as of 07/06/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 54.19% (something to think about: how might BDX shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Becton, Dickinson & Co paid investors a total of $15.31/share in dividends over the 5 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 3.32/share, we calculate that BDX has a current yield of approximately 1.33%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.32 against the original $173.17/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.77%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.” — William Feather