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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 Intuitive Surgical Inc (NASD: ISRG) 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: 11/20/2017


End date: 11/17/2022
Start price/share: $131.01
End price/share: $260.77
Starting shares: 76.33
Ending shares: 76.33
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 99.05%
Average annual return: 14.78%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $19,906.87

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 14.78%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $19,906.87 today (as of 11/17/2022). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 99.05% (something to think about: how might ISRG shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“The idea that a bell rings to signal when to get into or out of the stock market is simply not credible. After nearly fifty years in this business, I don’t know anybody who has done it successfully and consistently.” — Jack Bogle