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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 Cintas Corporation (NASD: CTAS) 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: 10/29/2018


End date: 10/26/2023
Start price/share: $171.90
End price/share: $498.62
Starting shares: 58.17
Ending shares: 61.66
Dividends reinvested/share: $19.36
Total return: 207.45%
Average annual return: 25.22%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $30,749.16

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 25.22%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $30,749.16 today (as of 10/26/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 207.45% (something to think about: how might CTAS shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Cintas Corporation paid investors a total of $19.36/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 5.4/share, we calculate that CTAS has a current yield of approximately 1.08%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 5.4 against the original $171.90/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.63%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“Finding the best person or the best organization to invest your money is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll ever make.” — Bill Gross