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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 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 ten year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK) back in 2012. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 06/22/2012


End date: 06/21/2022
Start price/share: $18.07
End price/share: $40.51
Starting shares: 553.40
Ending shares: 615.13
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.85
Total return: 149.19%
Average annual return: 9.56%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $24,924.64

As shown above, the ten year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.56%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $24,924.64 today (as of 06/21/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 149.19% (something to think about: how might ALK shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Alaska Air Group, Inc. paid investors a total of $6.85/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 1.5/share, we calculate that ALK has a current yield of approximately 3.70%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.5 against the original $18.07/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 20.48%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” — Robert Allen