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

— Warren Buffett

One of the most important things investors can learn from Warren Buffett, is about how they approach their time horizon for an investment into a stock under consideration. Because immediately after buying shares of a given stock, investors will then be able to check on the day-to-day (and even minute-by-minute) market value. Some days the stock market will be up, other days down. These daily fluctuations can often distract from the long-term view. Today, we look at the result of a twenty year holding period for an investor who was considering Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) back in 2003, bought the stock, ignored the market’s ups and downs, and simply held through to today.

Start date: 10/09/2003


End date: 10/06/2023
Start price/share: $25.56
End price/share: $56.66
Starting shares: 391.24
Ending shares: 825.32
Dividends reinvested/share: $29.76
Total return: 367.63%
Average annual return: 8.02%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $46,802.28

The above analysis shows the twenty year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.02%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $46,802.28 today (as of 10/06/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 367.63% (something to think about: how might BMY shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Bristol Myers Squibb Co. paid investors a total of $29.76/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 2.28/share, we calculate that BMY has a current yield of approximately 4.02%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.28 against the original $25.56/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 15.73%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.” — George Soros