Photo credit:

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— 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 two-decade holding period for an investor who was considering Estee Lauder Cos., Inc. (NYSE: EL) back in 2001, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 10/08/2001


End date: 10/06/2021
Start price/share: $16.82
End price/share: $313.55
Starting shares: 594.53
Ending shares: 743.26
Dividends reinvested/share: $15.08
Total return: 2,230.49%
Average annual return: 17.04%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $232,942.06

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.04%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $232,942.06 today (as of 10/06/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 2,230.49% (something to think about: how might EL shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Estee Lauder Cos., Inc. paid investors a total of $15.08/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 2.12/share, we calculate that EL has a current yield of approximately 0.68%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.12 against the original $16.82/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.04%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“If investing is entertaining, if you’re having fun, you’re probably not making any money. Good investing is boring.” — George Soros