“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 “buyandhold” investors taking a longterm view, what’s important isn’t the shortterm stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 5 years to 2018, investors considering an investment into shares of Sempra (NYSE: SRE) 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:  02/02/2018 


End date:  02/01/2023  
Start price/share:  $105.58  
End price/share:  $159.88  
Starting shares:  94.71  
Ending shares:  111.01  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $20.61  
Total return:  77.48%  
Average annual return:  12.16%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $17,749.66 
As shown above, the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 12.16%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $17,749.66 today (as of 02/01/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 77.48% (something to think about: how might SRE shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that Sempra paid investors a total of $20.61/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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 4.58/share, we calculate that SRE has a current yield of approximately 2.86%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.58 against the original $105.58/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.71%.
One more investment quote to leave you with:
“The underlying principles of sound investment should not alter from decade to decade, but the application of these principles must be adapted to significant changes in the financial mechanisms and climate.” — Benjamin Graham