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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 Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a five year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into International Paper Co (NYSE: IP)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2018.

Start date: 07/16/2018


End date: 07/13/2023
Start price/share: $49.68
End price/share: $31.83
Starting shares: 201.29
Ending shares: 251.69
Dividends reinvested/share: $9.47
Total return: -19.89%
Average annual return: -4.34%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $8,012.30

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -4.34%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $8,012.30 today (as of 07/13/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -19.89% (something to think about: how might IP shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that International Paper Co paid investors a total of $9.47/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 1.85/share, we calculate that IP has a current yield of approximately 5.81%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.85 against the original $49.68/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 11.69%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Calling someone who trades actively in the market an investor is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a romantic.” — Warren Buffett