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

— 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 two-decade holding period possibly?

Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into Consolidated Edison Inc (NYSE: ED) back in 2004: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full two-decade investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.

Start date: 06/07/2004


End date: 06/05/2024
Start price/share: $39.28
End price/share: $92.60
Starting shares: 254.58
Ending shares: 597.46
Dividends reinvested/share: $52.36
Total return: 453.25%
Average annual return: 8.93%
Starting investment: $10,000.00
Ending investment: $55,367.56

The above analysis shows the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 8.93%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $55,367.56 today (as of 06/05/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 453.25% (something to think about: how might ED shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]

Notice that Consolidated Edison Inc paid investors a total of $52.36/share in dividends over the 20 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 3.32/share, we calculate that ED has a current yield of approximately 3.59%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 3.32 against the original $39.28/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 9.14%.

Here’s one more great investment quote before you go:
“Sentimentality about an investments leads to lack of discipline.” — Sam Zell