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

— 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 Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC)? Today, we examine the outcome of a two-decade investment into the stock back in 2003.

Start date: 10/27/2003


End date: 10/25/2023
Start price/share: $27.22
End price/share: $39.03
Starting shares: 367.38
Ending shares: 646.83
Dividends reinvested/share: $22.23
Total return: 152.46%
Average annual return: 4.74%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $25,255.83

As shown above, the two-decade investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 4.74%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $25,255.83 today (as of 10/25/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 152.46% (something to think about: how might WFC shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Always an important consideration with a dividend-paying company is: should we reinvest our dividends?Over the past 20 years, Wells Fargo & Co has paid $22.23/share in dividends. For the above analysis, we assume that the investor reinvests dividends into new shares of stock (for the above calculations, the reinvestment is performed using closing price on ex-div date for that dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.4/share, we calculate that WFC has a current yield of approximately 3.59%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.4 against the original $27.22/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 13.19%.

One more investment quote to leave you with:
“If you’re looking for a home run, a great investment for five years or 10 years or more, then the only way to beat this enormous fog that covers the future is to identify a long-term trend that will give a particular business some sort of edge.” — Ralph Wanger