“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”
— Warren Buffett
The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a longterm investment horizon, where a decadelong holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into General Electric Co (NYSE: GE)? Today, we examine the outcome of a decadelong investment into the stock back in 2012.
Start date:  06/06/2012 


End date:  06/03/2022  
Start price/share:  $145.20  
End price/share:  $76.97  
Starting shares:  68.87  
Ending shares:  86.71  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $41.58  
Total return:  33.26%  
Average annual return:  3.96%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $6,676.82 
The above analysis shows the decadelong investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of 3.96%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $6,676.82 today (as of 06/03/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 33.26% (something to think about: how might GE shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that General Electric Co paid investors a total of $41.58/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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .32/share, we calculate that GE has a current yield of approximately 0.42%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .32 against the original $145.20/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.29%.
More investment wisdom to ponder:
“The ideal business is one that earns very high returns on capital and that keeps using lots of capital at those high returns. That becomes a compounding machine.” — Warren Buffett