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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— 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 two-decade holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Juniper Networks Inc (NYSE: JNPR) back in 2002. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 06/21/2002


End date: 06/17/2022
Start price/share: $6.49
End price/share: $27.63
Starting shares: 1,540.83
Ending shares: 1,860.16
Dividends reinvested/share: $4.90
Total return: 413.96%
Average annual return: 8.53%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $51,415.43

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.53%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $51,415.43 today (as of 06/17/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 413.96% (something to think about: how might JNPR shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Juniper Networks Inc paid investors a total of $4.90/share in dividends over the 20 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 .84/share, we calculate that JNPR has a current yield of approximately 3.04%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .84 against the original $6.49/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 46.84%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“All intelligent investing is value investing: acquiring more that you are paying for. You must value the business in order to value the stock.” — Charlie Munger