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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— 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 twenty 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 20 years to 2003, investors considering an investment into shares of Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE: LMT) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full twenty year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 03/17/2003


End date: 03/15/2023
Start price/share: $46.95
End price/share: $473.31
Starting shares: 212.99
Ending shares: 367.10
Dividends reinvested/share: $102.00
Total return: 1,637.54%
Average annual return: 15.34%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $173,755.50

As we can see, the twenty year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.34%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $173,755.50 today (as of 03/15/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,637.54% (something to think about: how might LMT shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Dividends are always an important investment factor to consider, and Lockheed Martin Corp has paid $102.00/share in dividends to shareholders over the past 20 years we looked at above. Many an investor will only invest in stocks that pay dividends, so this component of total return is always an important consideration. Automated reinvestment of dividends into additional shares of stock can be a great way for an investor to compound their returns. The above calculations are done with the assuption that dividends received over time are reinvested (the calcuations use the closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 12/share, we calculate that LMT has a current yield of approximately 2.54%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 12 against the original $46.95/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.41%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“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