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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

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2017, investors considering an investment into shares of Oracle Corp (NYSE: ORCL) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 05/01/2017


End date: 04/28/2022
Start price/share: $45.05
End price/share: $76.14
Starting shares: 221.98
Ending shares: 240.55
Dividends reinvested/share: $4.85
Total return: 83.16%
Average annual return: 12.88%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $18,314.57

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.88%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $18,314.57 today (as of 04/28/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 83.16% (something to think about: how might ORCL shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Oracle Corp paid investors a total of $4.85/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 1.28/share, we calculate that ORCL has a current yield of approximately 1.68%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.28 against the original $45.05/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.73%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“If you don’t study any companies, you have the same success buying stocks as you do in a poker game if you bet without looking at your cards.” — Peter Lynch