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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— 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 decade-long holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into DTE Energy Co (NYSE: DTE) back in 2013: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full decade-long investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 04/01/2013


End date: 03/29/2023
Start price/share: $58.20
End price/share: $107.94
Starting shares: 171.82
Ending shares: 240.44
Dividends reinvested/share: $29.80
Total return: 159.53%
Average annual return: 10.01%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $25,954.23

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.01%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $25,954.23 today (as of 03/29/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 159.53% (something to think about: how might DTE shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that DTE Energy Co paid investors a total of $29.80/share in dividends over the 10 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 3.81/share, we calculate that DTE has a current yield of approximately 3.53%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.81 against the original $58.20/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.07%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“If you’re prepared to invest in a company, then you ought to be able to explain why in simple language that a fifth grader could understand, and quickly enough so the fifth grader won’t get bored.” — Peter Lynch