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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a twenty year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM)? Today, we examine the outcome of a twenty year investment into the stock back in 2001.

Start date: 08/03/2001


End date: 08/02/2021
Start price/share: $41.26
End price/share: $57.58
Starting shares: 242.37
Ending shares: 449.94
Dividends reinvested/share: $42.15
Total return: 159.07%
Average annual return: 4.87%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $25,897.13

As we can see, the twenty year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 4.87%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $25,897.13 today (as of 08/02/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 159.07% (something to think about: how might XOM shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Exxon Mobil Corp paid investors a total of $42.15/share in dividends over the 20 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 3.48/share, we calculate that XOM has a current yield of approximately 6.04%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.48 against the original $41.26/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 14.64%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“When everyone is going right, look left.” — Sam Zell