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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— Warren Buffett

A critical pearl of wisdom from Warren Buffett teaches us that with any potential stock investment we may make, as soon as our buy order is filled we will have a choice: to remain a co-owner of that company for the long haul, or to react to the inevitable short-term ups and downs that the stock market is famous for (sometimes sharp ups and downs).

The reality of this choice forces us to challenge our confidence in any given company we might invest into, and keep our eyes on the long-term time horizon. The market may go up and down the interim, but over a decade-long holding period, will the investment succeed?

Back in 2012, investors may have been asking themselves that very question about Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE: PRU). Let’s examine what would have happened over a decade-long holding period, had you invested in PRU shares back in 2012 and held on.

Start date: 09/13/2012


End date: 09/12/2022
Start price/share: $57.96
End price/share: $99.76
Starting shares: 172.53
Ending shares: 256.39
Dividends reinvested/share: $33.94
Total return: 155.78%
Average annual return: 9.84%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $25,569.19

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 9.84%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $25,569.19 today (as of 09/12/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 155.78% (something to think about: how might PRU shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Prudential Financial Inc paid investors a total of $33.94/share in dividends over the 10 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 4.8/share, we calculate that PRU has a current yield of approximately 4.81%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.8 against the original $57.96/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 8.30%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“All intelligent investing is value investing: acquiring more that you are paying for. You must value the business in order to value the stock.” — Charlie Munger