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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 Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) 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: 05/15/2017


End date: 05/12/2022
Start price/share: $10.94
End price/share: $12.44
Starting shares: 914.08
Ending shares: 1,108.59
Dividends reinvested/share: $2.08
Total return: 37.91%
Average annual return: 6.65%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $13,792.76

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.65%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $13,792.76 today (as of 05/12/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 37.91% (something to think about: how might F shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Ford Motor Co. paid investors a total of $2.08/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 .4/share, we calculate that F has a current yield of approximately 3.22%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .4 against the original $10.94/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 29.43%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“While some might mistakenly consider value investing a mechanical tool for identifying bargains, it is actually a comprehensive investment philosophy that emphasizes the need to perform in-depth fundamental analysis, pursue long-term investment results, limit risk, and resist crowd psychology.” — Seth Klarman