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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

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a five year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into General Mills Inc (NYSE: GIS)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2016.

Start date: 11/15/2016


End date: 11/12/2021
Start price/share: $61.30
End price/share: $63.24
Starting shares: 163.13
Ending shares: 196.03
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.88
Total return: 23.97%
Average annual return: 4.40%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $12,399.38

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 4.40%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $12,399.38 today (as of 11/12/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 23.97% (something to think about: how might GIS shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that General Mills Inc paid investors a total of $9.88/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 2.04/share, we calculate that GIS has a current yield of approximately 3.23%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.04 against the original $61.30/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.27%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Calling someone who trades actively in the market an investor is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a romantic.” — Warren Buffett