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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

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a decade-long holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE: LMT) back in 2012: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full decade-long investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 01/05/2012


End date: 01/04/2022
Start price/share: $80.07
End price/share: $361.99
Starting shares: 124.89
Ending shares: 170.41
Dividends reinvested/share: $72.40
Total return: 516.86%
Average annual return: 19.94%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $61,669.88

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 19.94%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $61,669.88 today (as of 01/04/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 516.86% (something to think about: how might LMT shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Lockheed Martin Corp paid investors a total of $72.40/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 11.2/share, we calculate that LMT has a current yield of approximately 3.09%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 11.2 against the original $80.07/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.86%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“There’s a virtuous cycle when people have to defend challenges to their ideas. Any gaps in thinking or analysis become clear pretty quickly when smart people ask good, logical questions.” — Joel Greenblatt