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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 twenty year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Horton Inc (NYSE: DHI) 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: 06/28/2002


End date: 06/27/2022
Start price/share: $13.01
End price/share: $67.97
Starting shares: 768.64
Ending shares: 1,008.66
Dividends reinvested/share: $7.36
Total return: 585.59%
Average annual return: 10.10%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $68,581.08

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.10%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $68,581.08 today (as of 06/27/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 585.59% (something to think about: how might DHI shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Horton Inc paid investors a total of $7.36/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 .9/share, we calculate that DHI has a current yield of approximately 1.32%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .9 against the original $13.01/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 10.15%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“If you have more than 120 or 130 I.Q. points, you can afford to give the rest away. You don’t need extraordinary intelligence to succeed as an investor.” — Warren Buffett