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

— Warren Buffett

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a five year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2017, investors considering an investment into shares of MetLife Inc (NYSE: MET) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 11/15/2017


End date: 11/14/2022
Start price/share: $51.84
End price/share: $73.79
Starting shares: 192.90
Ending shares: 230.96
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.10
Total return: 70.42%
Average annual return: 11.25%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $17,041.20

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 11.25%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $17,041.20 today (as of 11/14/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 70.42% (something to think about: how might MET shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that MetLife Inc paid investors a total of $9.10/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 2/share, we calculate that MET has a current yield of approximately 2.71%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2 against the original $51.84/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.23%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Markets are constantly in a state of uncertainty and flux and money is made by discounting the obvious and betting on the unexpected.” — George Soros