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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

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 five 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 5 years to 2018, investors considering an investment into shares of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (NYSE: TMO) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full five year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 07/12/2018


End date: 07/11/2023
Start price/share: $212.07
End price/share: $519.26
Starting shares: 47.15
Ending shares: 47.72
Dividends reinvested/share: $4.92
Total return: 147.79%
Average annual return: 19.90%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $24,779.69

The above analysis shows the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 19.90%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $24,779.69 today (as of 07/11/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 147.79% (something to think about: how might TMO shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc paid investors a total of $4.92/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 1.4/share, we calculate that TMO has a current yield of approximately 0.27%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.4 against the original $212.07/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.13%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.” — John Bogle