But just one year doesnt really tell us much about the real value of an investment, so today I thought Id work out how well National Grid has done over the past 10 years has its combination of steady share price growth and rising dividends brought home the bacon?
The simple answer is yes.
From September 2004 to September 2014, National Grid shares have climbed by 104% (adjusting for a stock split), so a 10,000 investment back then would have more than doubled to 20,414 a decade later. And while many impatient investors spend their days looking for quick multi-baggers, a solid portfolio of shares like National Grid held for decades is the surest way to financial happiness.
But one of National Grids strengths is its dividends it forms a cornerstone of many an income portfolio. So what difference would the cash have made?
With dividend yields averaging more than 5.5% per year over the past 10 years, the annual cash payments alone from National Grid would have wiped the floor with interest from a bank savings account and youd be well ahead even if the share price hadnt budged, never mind more than doubling!
In fact, if youd stashed your dividend cash under your mattress over the years, youd be sleeping 7,708 higher in the air today, and your original 10,000 would now be worth 28,122. Eat your heart out, cash ISA!
But, what would have happened if youd maintained your sleeping elevation unchanged and instead bought more National Grid shares with your dividend cash each year? As the share price has steadily risen, youd have been buying new shares at lower prices than today and youd have boosted your total by a further 6,044.
That original 10,000, with all dividends reinvested, would today be worth 34,166!
And youd be heading into your next decade with around 3,700 National Grid shares to your name, where once you only had 2,300.
The lesson I take from this is one of my favourites that you dont have to choose between income and growth shares. National Grid, a stock favoured for its steady dividends, has provided very strong capital growth with those dividends reinvested. (And conversely, a pure growth share like ARM Holdings could have provided a very handsome income had you sold a modest portion each year.)
A well-balanced portfolio chosen from a number of sectors really is the best way to build yourself a healthy retirement pot, but should National Grid be one of them?
You have to decide for yourself, but the Motley Fool’s latest analysis of Five Shares To Retire On should give you some welcome help. It covers five very solid blue-chip shares and tells you why our experts thing they’ll serve you well in the decades ahead.
The report is free for a limited time only, so click here to get your personal copy today.
Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended ARM Holdings and National Grid. We Fools don’t all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.