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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 decade-long holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: UHS) back in 2013: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full decade-long investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 10 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 12/27/2013


End date: 12/26/2023
Start price/share: $80.15
End price/share: $154.13
Starting shares: 124.77
Ending shares: 129.90
Dividends reinvested/share: $5.10
Total return: 100.22%
Average annual return: 7.19%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $20,027.43

The above analysis shows the decade-long investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 7.19%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $20,027.43 today (as of 12/26/2023). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 100.22% (something to think about: how might UHS shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Universal Health Services, Inc. paid investors a total of $5.10/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 .8/share, we calculate that UHS has a current yield of approximately 0.52%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .8 against the original $80.15/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 0.65%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“Cash combined with courage in a time of crisis is priceless.” — Warren Buffett