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

— 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 two-decade holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Illumina Inc (NASD: ILMN) back in 2002. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 08/29/2002


End date: 08/26/2022
Start price/share: $1.98
End price/share: $205.37
Starting shares: 5,050.51
Ending shares: 5,050.51
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 10,272.22%
Average annual return: 26.11%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $1,036,436.18

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 26.11%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $1,036,436.18 today (as of 08/26/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 10,272.22% (something to think about: how might ILMN shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“If you are not willing to own a stock for 10 years, do not even think about owning it for 10 minutes.” — Warren Buffett