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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

Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a ten year holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Cincinnati Financial Corp. (NASD: CINF) back in 2013: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full ten year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 11/04/2013


End date: 11/02/2023
Start price/share: $49.91
End price/share: $99.89
Starting shares: 200.36
Ending shares: 269.55
Dividends reinvested/share: $23.19
Total return: 169.25%
Average annual return: 10.41%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $26,913.26

The above analysis shows the ten year investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 10.41%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $26,913.26 today (as of 11/02/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 169.25% (something to think about: how might CINF shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Cincinnati Financial Corp. paid investors a total of $23.19/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/share, we calculate that CINF has a current yield of approximately 3.00%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3 against the original $49.91/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 6.01%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Be fearful when others are greedy; be greedy when others are fearful.” — Warren Buffett