Photo credit:

“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— 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 ONEOK Inc (NYSE: OKE) 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: 07/25/2003


End date: 07/24/2023
Start price/share: $9.26
End price/share: $67.25
Starting shares: 1,079.91
Ending shares: 2,821.50
Dividends reinvested/share: $37.20
Total return: 1,797.46%
Average annual return: 15.84%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $189,614.17

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 15.84%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $189,614.17 today (as of 07/24/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 1,797.46% (something to think about: how might OKE shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that ONEOK Inc paid investors a total of $37.20/share in dividends over the 20 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 3.82/share, we calculate that OKE has a current yield of approximately 5.68%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.82 against the original $9.26/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 61.34%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“A lot of people with high IQs are terrible investors because they’ve got terrible temperaments. You need to keep raw, irrational emotion under control.” — Charlie Munger