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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

A critical pearl of wisdom from Warren Buffett teaches us that with any potential stock investment we may make, as soon as our buy order is filled we will have a choice: to remain a co-owner of that company for the long haul, or to react to the inevitable short-term ups and downs that the stock market is famous for (sometimes sharp ups and downs).

The reality of this choice forces us to challenge our confidence in any given company we might invest into, and keep our eyes on the long-term time horizon. The market may go up and down the interim, but over a two-decade holding period, will the investment succeed?

Back in 2001, investors may have been asking themselves that very question about Illumina Inc (NASD: ILMN). Let’s examine what would have happened over a two-decade holding period, had you invested in ILMN shares back in 2001 and held on.

Start date: 12/07/2001


End date: 12/06/2021
Start price/share: $5.13
End price/share: $351.65
Starting shares: 1,949.32
Ending shares: 1,949.32
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 6,754.78%
Average annual return: 23.52%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $685,095.32

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 23.52%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $685,095.32 today (as of 12/06/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 6,754.78% (something to think about: how might ILMN shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Taking risks is really the only way to consistently achieve above-average returns.” — Sam Zell