Photo credit:

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

— Warren Buffett

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a two-decade holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. (NYSE: MTD) back in 2003: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full two-decade investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 09/15/2003


End date: 09/14/2023
Start price/share: $38.50
End price/share: $1,157.67
Starting shares: 259.74
Ending shares: 259.74
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 2,906.94%
Average annual return: 18.54%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $300,682.35

As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 18.54%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $300,682.35 today (as of 09/14/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 2,906.94% (something to think about: how might MTD shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Another great investment quote to think about:
“There’s a virtuous cycle when people have to defend challenges to their ideas. Any gaps in thinking or analysis become clear pretty quickly when smart people ask good, logical questions.” — Joel Greenblatt