“I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five 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 five year holding period possibly?
Suppose a “buyandhold” investor was considering an investment into General Motors Co (NYSE: GM) back in 2019: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full five year investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 5 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.
Start date:  06/24/2019 


End date:  06/21/2024  
Start price/share:  $36.96  
End price/share:  $47.72  
Starting shares:  270.56  
Ending shares:  285.46  
Dividends reinvested/share:  $1.92  
Total return:  36.22%  
Average annual return:  6.38%  
Starting investment:  $10,000.00  
Ending investment:  $13,621.54 
As shown above, the five year investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 6.38%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 5 years ago into $13,621.54 today (as of 06/21/2024). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 36.22% (something to think about: how might GM shares perform over the next 5 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that General Motors Co paid investors a total of $1.92/share in dividends over the 5 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 exdate is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of .48/share, we calculate that GM has a current yield of approximately 1.01%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of .48 against the original $36.96/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 2.73%.
One more piece of investment wisdom to leave you with:
“If a speculator is correct half of the time, he is hitting a good average. Even being right 3 or 4 times out of 10 should yield a person a fortune if he has the sense to cut his losses quickly on the ventures where he is wrong.” — Bernard Baruch