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

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a two-decade holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C)? Today, we examine the outcome of a two-decade investment into the stock back in 2003.

Start date: 09/02/2003


End date: 08/29/2023
Start price/share: $441.80
End price/share: $41.72
Starting shares: 22.63
Ending shares: 35.26
Dividends reinvested/share: $102.42
Total return: -85.29%
Average annual return: -9.14%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $1,470.08

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -9.14%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $1,470.08 today (as of 08/29/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -85.29% (something to think about: how might C shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Many investors out there refuse to own any stock that lacks a dividend; in the case of Citigroup Inc, investors have received $102.42/share in dividends these past 20 years examined in the exercise above. This means total return was driven not just by share price, but also by the dividends received (and what the investor did with those dividends). For this exercise, what we’ve done with the dividends is to assume they are reinvestted — i.e. used to purchase additional shares (the calculations use closing price on ex-date).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2.12/share, we calculate that C has a current yield of approximately 5.08%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.12 against the original $441.80/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 1.15%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Every day that you’re not selling an asset in your portfolio, you’re choosing to buy it.” — Sam Zell