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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 wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a decade-long holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of McKesson Corp (NYSE: MCK) back in 2013. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 11/18/2013


End date: 11/15/2023
Start price/share: $158.78
End price/share: $446.38
Starting shares: 62.98
Ending shares: 68.18
Dividends reinvested/share: $14.82
Total return: 204.33%
Average annual return: 11.78%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $30,444.48

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out quite well, with an annualized rate of return of 11.78%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $30,444.48 today (as of 11/15/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 204.33% (something to think about: how might MCK shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that McKesson Corp paid investors a total of $14.82/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 2.48/share, we calculate that MCK has a current yield of approximately 0.56%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2.48 against the original $158.78/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.35%.

More investment wisdom to ponder:
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” — Warren Buffett