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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

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a ten year holding period for an investor who was considering CVS Health Corporation (NYSE: CVS) back in 2012, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 01/03/2012


End date: 12/31/2021
Start price/share: $41.52
End price/share: $103.16
Starting shares: 240.85
Ending shares: 300.13
Dividends reinvested/share: $15.75
Total return: 209.61%
Average annual return: 11.96%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $30,947.74

As shown above, the ten year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 11.96%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $30,947.74 today (as of 12/31/2021). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 209.61% (something to think about: how might CVS shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that CVS Health Corporation paid investors a total of $15.75/share in dividends over the 10 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 2.2/share, we calculate that CVS has a current yield of approximately 2.13%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.2 against the original $41.52/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.13%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Waiting helps you as an investor and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait. If you didn’t get the deferred-gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.” — Charlie Munger