Photo credit:

“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.”

— Warren Buffett

The investment philosophy practiced by Warren Buffett calls for investors to take a long-term horizon when making an investment, such as a five year holding period (or even longer), and reconsider making the investment in the first place if unable to envision holding the stock for at least five years. Today, we look at how such a long-term strategy would have done for investors in Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE: LUV) back in 2019, holding through to today.

Start date: 01/11/2019


End date: 01/10/2024
Start price/share: $48.52
End price/share: $29.71
Starting shares: 206.10
Ending shares: 215.62
Dividends reinvested/share: $1.78
Total return: -35.94%
Average annual return: -8.52%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $6,406.65

As shown above, the five year investment result worked out poorly, with an annualized rate of return of -8.52%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $6,406.65 today (as of 01/10/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of -35.94% (something to think about: how might LUV shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of LUV’s total return these past 5 years has been the payment by Southwest Airlines Co of $1.78/share in dividends to shareholders. Automatic reinvestment of dividends can be a wonderful way to compound returns, and for the above calculations we presume that dividends are reinvested into additional shares of stock. (For the purpose of these calcuations, the closing price on ex-date is used).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .72/share, we calculate that LUV has a current yield of approximately 2.42%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .72 against the original $48.52/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.99%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“The four most dangerous words in investing are: ‘this time it’s different.'” — Sir John Templeton