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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 Qualcomm Inc (NASD: QCOM) 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: 11/16/2016


End date: 11/15/2021
Start price/share: $66.30
End price/share: $168.51
Starting shares: 150.83
Ending shares: 177.04
Dividends reinvested/share: $12.26
Total return: 198.33%
Average annual return: 24.43%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $29,828.09

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 24.43%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $29,828.09 today (as of 11/15/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 198.33% (something to think about: how might QCOM shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Qualcomm Inc paid investors a total of $12.26/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 2.72/share, we calculate that QCOM has a current yield of approximately 1.61%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.72 against the original $66.30/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.43%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“The stock market is a device to transfer money from the impatient to the patient.” — Warren Buffett