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

— Warren Buffett

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a two-decade holding period for an investor who was considering Kellogg Co (NYSE: K) back in 2003, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 05/27/2003


End date: 05/25/2023
Start price/share: $34.00
End price/share: $67.93
Starting shares: 294.12
Ending shares: 536.50
Dividends reinvested/share: $34.69
Total return: 264.44%
Average annual return: 6.68%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $36,466.24

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.68%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $36,466.24 today (as of 05/25/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 264.44% (something to think about: how might K shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of K’s total return these past 20 years has been the payment by Kellogg Co of $34.69/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2.36/share, we calculate that K has a current yield of approximately 3.47%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.36 against the original $34.00/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 10.21%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“If you are not willing to own a stock for 10 years, do not even think about owning it for 10 minutes.” — Warren Buffett