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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 Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a ten year holding period.

Start date: 06/14/2012


End date: 06/13/2022
Start price/share: $29.81
End price/share: $105.91
Starting shares: 335.46
Ending shares: 407.70
Dividends reinvested/share: $11.57
Total return: 331.79%
Average annual return: 15.75%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $43,190.08

As shown above, the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.75%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $43,190.08 today (as of 06/13/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 331.79% (something to think about: how might ABT shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Abbott Laboratories paid investors a total of $11.57/share in dividends over the 10 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 1.88/share, we calculate that ABT has a current yield of approximately 1.78%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.88 against the original $29.81/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.97%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ.” — Warren Buffett