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

— Warren Buffett

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a twenty year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Clorox Co (NYSE: CLX) back in 2001: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full twenty year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 10/11/2001


End date: 10/08/2021
Start price/share: $36.12
End price/share: $163.48
Starting shares: 276.85
Ending shares: 467.38
Dividends reinvested/share: $47.46
Total return: 664.08%
Average annual return: 10.70%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $76,417.76

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.70%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $76,417.76 today (as of 10/08/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 664.08% (something to think about: how might CLX shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Clorox Co paid investors a total of $47.46/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 4.64/share, we calculate that CLX has a current yield of approximately 2.84%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.64 against the original $36.12/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 7.86%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“A market downturn doesn’t bother us. It is an opportunity to increase our ownership of great companies with great management at good prices.” — Warren Buffett