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

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a two-decade holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into American International Group Inc (NYSE: AIG)? Today, we examine the outcome of a two-decade investment into the stock back in 2002.

Start date: 07/11/2002


End date: 07/08/2022
Start price/share: $1,270.20
End price/share: $51.47
Starting shares: 7.87
Ending shares: 12.23
Dividends reinvested/share: $81.31
Total return: -93.71%
Average annual return: -12.91%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $629.56

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -12.91%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $629.56 today (as of 07/08/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -93.71% (something to think about: how might AIG shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of American International Group Inc, investors have received $81.31/share in dividends these past 20 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.28/share, we calculate that AIG has a current yield of approximately 2.49%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.28 against the original $1270.20/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.20%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Everyone has the brainpower to make money in stocks. Not everyone has the stomach. If you are susceptible to selling everything in a panic, you ought to avoid stocks and mutual funds altogether.” — Peter Lynch