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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 Welltower OP Inc (NYSE: WELL) 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: 08/18/2017


End date: 08/17/2022
Start price/share: $70.65
End price/share: $81.57
Starting shares: 141.54
Ending shares: 173.34
Dividends reinvested/share: $14.19
Total return: 41.40%
Average annual return: 7.17%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $14,137.29

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 7.17%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $14,137.29 today (as of 08/17/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 41.40% (something to think about: how might WELL shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Welltower OP Inc paid investors a total of $14.19/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 2.44/share, we calculate that WELL has a current yield of approximately 2.99%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.44 against the original $70.65/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.23%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.” — Warren Buffett