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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 PulteGroup Inc (NYSE: PHM) back in 2014: 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: 02/10/2014


End date: 02/07/2024
Start price/share: $19.35
End price/share: $103.01
Starting shares: 516.80
Ending shares: 592.32
Dividends reinvested/share: $4.47
Total return: 510.15%
Average annual return: 19.83%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $61,015.52

As shown above, the decade-long investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 19.83%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $61,015.52 today (as of 02/07/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 510.15% (something to think about: how might PHM shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that PulteGroup Inc paid investors a total of $4.47/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 PHM has a current yield of approximately 0.78%. 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 $19.35/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 4.03%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“You can’t be a good value investor without being an independent thinker; you’re seeing valuations that the market is not appreciating. But it’s critical that you understand why the market isn’t seeing the value you do.” — Joel Greenblatt