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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 Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE: TRV) 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: 07/29/2011


End date: 07/28/2021
Start price/share: $55.13
End price/share: $146.82
Starting shares: 181.39
Ending shares: 231.25
Dividends reinvested/share: $25.91
Total return: 239.53%
Average annual return: 12.99%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $33,938.35

The above analysis shows the decade-long investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.99%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $33,938.35 today (as of 07/28/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 239.53% (something to think about: how might TRV shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Dividends are always an important investment factor to consider, and Travelers Companies Inc has paid $25.91/share in dividends to shareholders over the past 10 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 3.52/share, we calculate that TRV has a current yield of approximately 2.40%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.52 against the original $55.13/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.35%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Smart investing doesn’t consist of buying good assets but of buying assets well. This is a very, very important distinction that very, very few people understand.” — Howard Marks