“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”
— Warren Buffett
The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a longterm investment horizon, where a five year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into AT&T Inc (NYSE: T)? Today, we examine the outcome of a five year investment into the stock back in 2018.
Start date:  11/16/2018 


End date:  11/15/2023  
Start price/share:  $22.88  
End price/share:  $15.76  
Starting shares:  437.06  
Ending shares:  607.99  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $7.02  
Total return:  4.18%  
Average annual return:  0.85%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $9,582.16 
As shown above, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of 0.85%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $9,582.16 today (as of 11/15/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 4.18% (something to think about: how might T shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that AT&T Inc paid investors a total of $7.02/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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.11/share, we calculate that T has a current yield of approximately 7.04%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.11 against the original $22.88/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 30.77%.
Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep.” — Robert Kiyosaki