“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”
— Warren Buffett
A critical pearl of wisdom from Warren Buffett teaches us that with any potential stock investment we may make, as soon as our buy order is filled we will have a choice: to remain a co-owner of that company for the long haul, or to react to the inevitable short-term ups and downs that the stock market is famous for (sometimes sharp ups and downs).
The reality of this choice forces us to challenge our confidence in any given company we might invest into, and keep our eyes on the long-term time horizon. The market may go up and down the interim, but over a two-decade holding period, will the investment succeed?
Back in 2003, investors may have been asking themselves that very question about Microsoft Corporation (NASD: MSFT). Let’s examine what would have happened over a two-decade holding period, had you invested in MSFT shares back in 2003 and held on.
|Average annual return:||13.87%|
The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 13.87%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $134,525.49 today (as of 01/12/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,245.24% (something to think about: how might MSFT shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that Microsoft Corporation paid investors a total of $24.47/share in dividends over the 20 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 2.72/share, we calculate that MSFT has a current yield of approximately 1.14%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.72 against the original $28.20/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.04%.
More investment wisdom to ponder:
“How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” — Robert Allen