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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

The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

A “buy-and-hold” approach may call for a time horizon that spans a long period of time — maybe even lasting for a ten year holding period. Suppose such a “buy-and-hold” investor had looked into buying shares of Intuitive Surgical Inc (NASD: ISRG) back in 2014. Let’s take a look at how such an investment would have worked out for that buy-and-hold investor:

Start date: 03/28/2014


End date: 03/27/2024
Start price/share: $48.33
End price/share: $400.10
Starting shares: 206.91
Ending shares: 206.91
Dividends reinvested/share: $0.00
Total return: 727.85%
Average annual return: 23.52%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $82,770.48

As we can see, the ten year investment result worked out exceptionally well, with an annualized rate of return of 23.52%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $82,770.48 today (as of 03/27/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 727.85% (something to think about: how might ISRG shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“The emotional burden of trading is substantial; on any given day, I could lose millions of dollars. If you personalize these losses, you can’t trade.” — Bruce Kovner