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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 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 five year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR) back in 2018. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 07/24/2018


End date: 07/21/2023
Start price/share: $63.50
End price/share: $69.06
Starting shares: 157.48
Ending shares: 187.64
Dividends reinvested/share: $12.00
Total return: 29.58%
Average annual return: 5.33%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $12,960.95

As we can see, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 5.33%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $12,960.95 today (as of 07/21/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 29.58% (something to think about: how might EQR shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Equity Residential paid investors a total of $12.00/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 2.65/share, we calculate that EQR has a current yield of approximately 3.84%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.65 against the original $63.50/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.05%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“Invest for the long haul. Don’t get too greedy and don’t get too scared.” — Shelby Davis