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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

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 five year holding period for an investor who was considering Berkley Corp (NYSE: WRB) back in 2017, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 02/13/2017


End date: 02/10/2022
Start price/share: $45.75
End price/share: $91.94
Starting shares: 218.58
Ending shares: 243.60
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.59
Total return: 123.97%
Average annual return: 17.52%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $22,396.22

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 17.52%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $22,396.22 today (as of 02/10/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 123.97% (something to think about: how might WRB shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Berkley Corp paid investors a total of $6.59/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 .52/share, we calculate that WRB has a current yield of approximately 0.57%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .52 against the original $45.75/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.25%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“There is nothing riskier than the widespread perception that there is no risk.” — Howard Marks