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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

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a ten year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2012, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Altria Group Inc (NYSE: MO), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a ten year holding period.

Start date: 06/27/2012


End date: 06/24/2022
Start price/share: $34.00
End price/share: $43.40
Starting shares: 294.12
Ending shares: 511.33
Dividends reinvested/share: $26.78
Total return: 121.92%
Average annual return: 8.30%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $22,191.66

The above analysis shows the ten year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.30%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $22,191.66 today (as of 06/24/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 121.92% (something to think about: how might MO shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of Altria Group Inc, investors have received $26.78/share in dividends these past 10 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 3.6/share, we calculate that MO has a current yield of approximately 8.29%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.6 against the original $34.00/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 24.38%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Waiting helps you as an investor and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait. If you didn’t get the deferred-gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.” — Charlie Munger