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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 Warren Buffett investment philosophy calls for a long-term investment horizon, where a ten year holding period, or even longer, would fit right into the strategy. How would such a strategy have worked out for an investment into AT&T Inc (NYSE: T)? Today, we examine the outcome of a ten year investment into the stock back in 2014.

Start date: 03/20/2014


End date: 03/19/2024
Start price/share: $25.75
End price/share: $17.17
Starting shares: 388.35
Ending shares: 706.02
Dividends reinvested/share: $14.20
Total return: 21.22%
Average annual return: 1.94%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $12,119.70

As we can see, the ten year investment result worked out as follows, with an annualized rate of return of 1.94%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 10 years ago into $12,119.70 today (as of 03/19/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 21.22% (something to think about: how might T shares perform over the next 10 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that AT&T Inc paid investors a total of $14.20/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 1.11/share, we calculate that T has a current yield of approximately 6.46%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.11 against the original $25.75/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 25.09%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“If you have trouble imagining a 20% loss in the stock market, you shouldn’t be in stocks.” — John Bogle