What Is Present Value?

What Is Present Value?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

Present Value is a financial principle that refers to the current worth of a future sum of money or a series of cash flows, given a particular rate of return. In other words, if you’re to receive a certain amount of money in the future but you need to know its value today, you’ll use the principle of present value to find this out. The idea behind the concept is that money available to you now is worth more than the same amount of money in the future, because money today can be invested and earn interest over time. This is also known as the concept of time value of money.

Related Questions

1. How is Present Value calculated?

The Present Value is calculated using this formula: PV = FV / (1 + r)^n. In this equation, PV stands for Present Value, FV for Future Value that you’ll receive, r for rate of interest per period, and n for number of periods.

2. What are some practical applications of Present Value?

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Present Value is used in multiple areas including finance, economics, and investing. It forms the basis for assessing the attractiveness of investments or business projects. It’s also used in setting up annuity schedules for loans, insurance premiums, and pensions.

3. What is the difference between Present Value and Future Value?

While Present Value represents the value of a future amount of money in today’s terms, Future Value represents the value of an investment or a series of cash flows projected to grow over a specific period of time at a set rate of return.

4. Does a higher discount rate decrease the Present Value?

Yes, a higher discount rate or interest rate decreases the present value because it reduces the value of future cash flows, assuming that you’ll be able to earn more interest on your money today if interest rates are higher.

5. Can Present Value be negative?

No, in a financial context, Present Value cannot be negative. A negative Present Value would imply that a potential investment or project would lose money, and generally such initiatives are not pursued.