That assumption (16.5% per year) is extremely high. The S&P over the last 50–60 years has had around 8% return nominal return. Also, that return is unlikely to continue to due to historically low interest rates. Dividends put a floor on the stock but plenty of Dividend Champions and Kings fizzle out. The average age of a S&P 500 company used to be close to 70 years, its come down a lot. Net net, compounding retained earnings is way better than dividends although dividend style companies generally tend to be more savvy capital allocators.