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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— 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 two-decade holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Align Technology Inc (NASD: ALGN) back in 2003: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full two-decade investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 01/09/2003


End date: 01/06/2023
Start price/share: $3.07
End price/share: $220.77
Starting shares: 3,257.33
Ending shares: 3,257.33
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 7,091.21%
Average annual return: 23.83%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $719,492.21

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 23.83%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $719,492.21 today (as of 01/06/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 7,091.21% (something to think about: how might ALGN shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Sentimentality about an investments leads to lack of discipline.” — Sam Zell