“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
— Warren Buffett
This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a twodecade holding period potentially?
For “buyandhold” investors taking a longterm view, what’s important isn’t the shortterm stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 20 years to 2003, investors considering an investment into shares of Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE: PG) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full twodecade time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.
Start date:  11/03/2003 


End date:  11/01/2023  
Start price/share:  $48.75  
End price/share:  $149.61  
Starting shares:  205.13  
Ending shares:  355.46  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $46.67  
Total return:  431.80%  
Average annual return:  8.71%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $53,160.45 
The above analysis shows the twodecade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.71%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $53,160.45 today (as of 11/01/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 431.80% (something to think about: how might PG shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that Procter & Gamble Company paid investors a total of $46.67/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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 3.7628/share, we calculate that PG has a current yield of approximately 2.52%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.7628 against the original $48.75/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 5.17%.
One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“The ideal business is one that earns very high returns on capital and that keeps using lots of capital at those high returns. That becomes a compounding machine.” — Warren Buffett