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“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

— Warren Buffett

The investment philosophy practiced by Warren Buffett calls for investors to take a long-term horizon when making an investment, such as a decade-long holding period (or even longer), and reconsider making the investment in the first place if unable to envision holding the stock for at least five years. Today, we look at how such a long-term strategy would have done for investors in Altria Group Inc (NYSE: MO) back in 2013, holding through to today.

Start date: 11/15/2013


End date: 11/14/2023
Start price/share: $38.00
End price/share: $40.22
Starting shares: 263.16
Ending shares: 476.84
Dividends reinvested/share: $29.28
Total return: 91.79%
Average annual return: 6.73%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $19,184.15

As we can see, the decade-long investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.73%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $19,184.15 today (as of 11/14/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 91.79% (something to think about: how might MO shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Altria Group Inc paid investors a total of $29.28/share in dividends over the 10 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 3.92/share, we calculate that MO has a current yield of approximately 9.75%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.92 against the original $38.00/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 25.66%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Cash combined with courage in a time of crisis is priceless.” — Warren Buffett