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

— Warren Buffett

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a twenty year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 20 years to 2002, investors considering an investment into shares of Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc (NYSE: MAA) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full twenty year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 07/05/2002


End date: 07/01/2022
Start price/share: $26.65
End price/share: $175.45
Starting shares: 375.23
Ending shares: 948.32
Dividends reinvested/share: $58.88
Total return: 1,563.83%
Average annual return: 15.09%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $166,310.25

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.09%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $166,310.25 today (as of 07/01/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,563.83% (something to think about: how might MAA shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Always an important consideration with a dividend-paying company is: should we reinvest our dividends?Over the past 20 years, Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc has paid $58.88/share in dividends. For the above analysis, we assume that the investor reinvests dividends into new shares of stock (for the above calculations, the reinvestment is performed using closing price on ex-div date for that dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 5/share, we calculate that MAA has a current yield of approximately 2.85%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 5 against the original $26.65/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 10.69%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Value investing requires a great deal of hard work, unusually strict discipline, and a long-term investment horizon. Few are willing and able to devote sufficient time and effort to become value investors, and only a fraction of those have the proper mind-set to succeed.” — Seth Klarman