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“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— Warren Buffett

The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a twenty year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of T. Rowe Price Group Inc (NASD: TROW) back in 2003. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 04/28/2003


End date: 04/27/2023
Start price/share: $15.31
End price/share: $110.83
Starting shares: 653.17
Ending shares: 1,096.15
Dividends reinvested/share: $43.64
Total return: 1,114.87%
Average annual return: 13.29%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $121,457.80

As we can see, the twenty year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 13.29%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $121,457.80 today (as of 04/27/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,114.87% (something to think about: how might TROW shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of T. Rowe Price Group Inc, investors have received $43.64/share in dividends these past 20 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 4.88/share, we calculate that TROW has a current yield of approximately 4.40%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 4.88 against the original $15.31/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 28.74%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“The right time for a company to finance its growth is not when it needs capital, but rather when the market is most receptive to providing capital.” — Michael Milken