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

— Warren Buffett

This inspiring quote from Warren Buffett teaches us the importance of considering our investment time horizon when approaching any given investment: Could we envision ourselves holding the stock we are considering for many years? Even a twenty year holding period potentially?

For “buy-and-hold” investors taking a long-term view, what’s important isn’t the short-term stock market fluctuations that will inevitably occur, but what happens over the long haul. Looking back 20 years to 2004, investors considering an investment into shares of Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) may have been pondering this very question and thinking about their potential investment result over a full twenty year time horizon. Here’s how that would have worked out.

Start date: 03/18/2004


End date: 03/15/2024
Start price/share: $27.50
End price/share: $88.45
Starting shares: 363.64
Ending shares: 577.23
Dividends reinvested/share: $25.80
Total return: 410.56%
Average annual return: 8.49%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $51,037.71

As shown above, the twenty year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.49%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $51,037.71 today (as of 03/15/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 410.56% (something to think about: how might CL shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Always an important consideration with a dividend-paying company is: should we reinvest our dividends?Over the past 20 years, Colgate-Palmolive Co. has paid $25.80/share in dividends. For the above analysis, we assume that the investor reinvests dividends into new shares of stock (for the above calculations, the reinvestment is performed using closing price on ex-div date for that dividend).

Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 2/share, we calculate that CL has a current yield of approximately 2.26%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 2 against the original $27.50/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 8.22%.

Another great investment quote to think about:
“You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don’t understand that’s going to happen, then you’re not ready, you won’t do well in the markets.” — Peter Lynch