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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

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 ten year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2012, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Micron Technology Inc. (NASD: MU), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a ten year holding period.

Start date: 09/24/2012


End date: 09/22/2022
Start price/share: $6.26
End price/share: $49.66
Starting shares: 1,597.44
Ending shares: 1,606.75
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.42
Total return: 697.91%
Average annual return: 23.08%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $79,776.48

As we can see, the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 23.08%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $79,776.48 today (as of 09/22/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 697.91% (something to think about: how might MU shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Micron Technology Inc. paid investors a total of $0.42/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 .46/share, we calculate that MU has a current yield of approximately 0.93%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .46 against the original $6.26/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 14.86%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.” — Warren Buffett