Photo credit:

“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a five year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA) back in 2017: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 09/06/2017


End date: 09/02/2022
Start price/share: $132.89
End price/share: $322.56
Starting shares: 75.25
Ending shares: 77.30
Dividends reinvested/share: $7.37
Total return: 149.35%
Average annual return: 20.09%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $24,939.10

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 20.09%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $24,939.10 today (as of 09/02/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 149.35% (something to think about: how might MA shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Mastercard Inc paid investors a total of $7.37/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 1.96/share, we calculate that MA has a current yield of approximately 0.61%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.96 against the original $132.89/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.46%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“History provides a crucial insight regarding market crises: they are inevitable, painful and ultimately surmountable.” — Shelby Davis