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“When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

— Warren Buffett

The Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a two-decade holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into 3M Co (NYSE: MMM)? Today, we examine the outcome of a two-decade investment into the stock back in 2004.

Start date: 01/20/2004


End date: 01/17/2024
Start price/share: $80.41
End price/share: $106.08
Starting shares: 124.36
Ending shares: 221.14
Dividends reinvested/share: $71.74
Total return: 134.58%
Average annual return: 4.35%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $23,439.61

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 4.35%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $23,439.61 today (as of 01/17/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 134.58% (something to think about: how might MMM shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Beyond share price change, another component of MMM’s total return these past 20 years has been the payment by 3M Co of $71.74/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 6/share, we calculate that MMM has a current yield of approximately 5.66%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 6 against the original $80.41/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 7.04%.

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important, but how much money you make when you’re right and how much you lose when you’re wrong.” — George Soros