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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 wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a decade-long holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASD: UAL) back in 2011. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 12/28/2011


End date: 12/27/2021
Start price/share: $18.95
End price/share: $44.58
Starting shares: 527.70
Ending shares: 527.70
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 135.25%
Average annual return: 8.93%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $23,533.07

As we can see, the decade-long investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.93%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $23,533.07 today (as of 12/27/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 135.25% (something to think about: how might UAL shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“A stock is not just a ticker symbol or an electronic blip; it is an ownership interest in an actual business, with an underlying value that does not depend on its share price.” — Benjamin Graham