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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

The above quote from Warren Buffett is timeless, and brings into focus the choice about time horizon that any investor should think about before buying a stock they are considering. Behind every stock is an actual business; what will that business look like over a five year period?

Today, let’s look backwards in time to 2018, and take a look at what happened to investors who asked that very question about Visa Inc (NYSE: V), by taking a look at the investment outcome over a five year holding period.

Start date: 02/16/2018


End date: 02/15/2023
Start price/share: $121.85
End price/share: $228.92
Starting shares: 82.07
Ending shares: 84.83
Dividends reinvested/share: $6.30
Total return: 94.20%
Average annual return: 14.20%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $19,423.64

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 14.20%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $19,423.64 today (as of 02/15/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 94.20% (something to think about: how might V shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Visa Inc paid investors a total of $6.30/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 1.8/share, we calculate that V has a current yield of approximately 0.79%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.8 against the original $121.85/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.65%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others.” — John Maynard Keynes