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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2016, investors considering an investment into shares of Berkley Corp (NYSE: WRB) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 11/01/2016


End date: 10/29/2021
Start price/share: $37.52
End price/share: $79.60
Starting shares: 266.52
Ending shares: 296.02
Dividends reinvested/share: $5.88
Total return: 135.63%
Average annual return: 18.72%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $23,561.94

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 18.72%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $23,561.94 today (as of 10/29/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 135.63% (something to think about: how might WRB shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Berkley Corp paid investors a total of $5.88/share in dividends over the 5 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 .52/share, we calculate that WRB has a current yield of approximately 0.65%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .52 against the original $37.52/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.73%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“As long as you enjoy investing, you’ll be willing to do the homework and stay in the game.” — Jim Cramer