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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

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 five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Verisk Analytics Inc (NASD: VRSK) back in 2017. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 03/22/2017


End date: 03/21/2022
Start price/share: $80.03
End price/share: $210.32
Starting shares: 124.95
Ending shares: 127.62
Dividends reinvested/share: $3.55
Total return: 168.41%
Average annual return: 21.83%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $26,839.30

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 21.83%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $26,839.30 today (as of 03/21/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 168.41% (something to think about: how might VRSK shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Verisk Analytics Inc paid investors a total of $3.55/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 1.24/share, we calculate that VRSK has a current yield of approximately 0.59%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.24 against the original $80.03/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.74%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“He who earns and does not invest will have to work for the rest of his life.” — Debasish Mridha