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“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five 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 five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) back in 2017. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 06/30/2017


End date: 06/29/2022
Start price/share: $59.62
End price/share: $80.51
Starting shares: 167.73
Ending shares: 192.24
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.95
Total return: 54.78%
Average annual return: 9.13%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $15,478.21

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.13%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $15,478.21 today (as of 06/29/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 54.78% (something to think about: how might EMR shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Emerson Electric Co. paid investors a total of $9.95/share in dividends over the 5 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 2.06/share, we calculate that EMR has a current yield of approximately 2.56%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.06 against the original $59.62/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.29%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The best way to measure your investing success is not by whether you’re beating the market but by whether you’ve put in place a financial plan and a behavioral discipline that are likely to get you where you want to go.” — Benjamin Graham