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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

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) back in 2017: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 06/15/2017


End date: 06/14/2022
Start price/share: $82.26
End price/share: $96.10
Starting shares: 121.57
Ending shares: 158.38
Dividends reinvested/share: $16.93
Total return: 52.20%
Average annual return: 8.76%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $15,217.59

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.76%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $15,217.59 today (as of 06/14/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 52.20% (something to think about: how might XOM shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Exxon Mobil Corp paid investors a total of $16.93/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 3.52/share, we calculate that XOM has a current yield of approximately 3.66%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.52 against the original $82.26/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.45%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The stock market is the story of cycles and of the human behavior that is responsible for overreactions in both directions.” — Seth Klarman