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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a twenty year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2002, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Iron Mountain Inc (NYSE: IRM), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a twenty year holding period.

Start date: 08/15/2002


End date: 08/12/2022
Start price/share: $11.81
End price/share: $54.03
Starting shares: 846.74
Ending shares: 1,867.93
Dividends reinvested/share: $26.46
Total return: 909.24%
Average annual return: 12.25%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $100,925.75

The above analysis shows the twenty year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.25%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $100,925.75 today (as of 08/12/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 909.24% (something to think about: how might IRM shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Iron Mountain Inc paid investors a total of $26.46/share in dividends over the 20 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 2.474/share, we calculate that IRM has a current yield of approximately 4.58%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.474 against the original $11.81/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 38.78%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“If you have more than 120 or 130 I.Q. points, you can afford to give the rest away. You don’t need extraordinary intelligence to succeed as an investor.” — Warren Buffett