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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 investment philosophy practiced by Warren Buffett calls for investors to take a long-term horizon when making an investment, such as a decade-long holding period (or even longer), and reconsider making the investment in the first place if unable to envision holding the stock for at least five years. Today, we look at how such a long-term strategy would have done for investors in Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) back in 2011, holding through to today.

Start date: 11/25/2011


End date: 11/23/2021
Start price/share: $22.96
End price/share: $119.37
Starting shares: 435.54
Ending shares: 529.10
Dividends reinvested/share: $12.42
Total return: 531.59%
Average annual return: 20.23%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $63,146.27

The above analysis shows the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 20.23%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $63,146.27 today (as of 11/23/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 531.59% (something to think about: how might DFS shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of DFS’s total return these past 10 years has been the payment by Discover Financial Services of $12.42/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2/share, we calculate that DFS has a current yield of approximately 1.68%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2 against the original $22.96/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 7.32%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep.” — Robert Kiyosaki