What Is A Payback Period? How Time Affects Investment Decisions


the time value of money is considered when calculating the payback period of an investment.

The number of years required to recoup the investment is six years. As a stand-alone tool to compare an investment to “doing nothing,” payback period has no explicit criteria for decision-making . Using the discounted cash flow analysis equation, it’s relatively simple to account for the time value of money when applied to payback periods. They payback method is a handy tool to use as an initial evaluation of different projects. It works very well for small projects and for those that have consistent cash flows each year.

XIRR assigns specific dates to each individual cash flow making it more accurate than IRR when building a financial model in Excel. However, there are additional considerations that should be taken into account when performing the capital the time value of money is considered when calculating the payback period of an investment. budgeting process. The Contribution Margin Ratio is a company’s revenue, minus variable costs, divided by its revenue. The ratio can be used for breakeven analysis and it+It represents the marginal benefit of producing one more unit.

Payback period, which is used most often in capital budgeting, is the period of time required to reach the break-even point of an investment based on cash flow. For instance, a $2,000 investment at the start of the first year that returns $1,500 after CARES Act the first year and $500 at the end of the second year has a two-year payback period. As a rule of thumb, the shorter the payback period, the better for an investment. Any investments with longer payback periods are generally not as enticing.

This can be a problem for investors choosing between two projects on the basis of the payback period alone. One project might be paid back faster, but – in the long run – that doesn’t necessarily make it more profitable than the second. Some investments take time to bring in potentially higher cash inflows, but they will be overlooked when using the payback method alone. “Net present value is the present value of the cash flows at the required rate of return of your project compared to your initial investment,” says Knight. In practical terms, it’s a method of calculating your return on investment, or ROI, for a project or expenditure. By looking at all of the money you expect to make from the investment and translating those returns into today’s dollars, you can decide whether the project is worthwhile. The capital budgeting process requires you to consider each potential project in both financial and investment terms.

As you can see from the above table, Treeline’s proposed project is showing a positive net present value of $14,668. This means that the new machine will provide Treeline with $14,668 more in present value dollars than the minimum specified return of 12%. This is not as much a formula, as a way of explaining that the discounted cash flow method discounts each inflow until net present value equals zero. Net Present Value is the value of all future cash flows over the entire life of an investment discounted to the present. Obviously, those projects with the fastest returns are highly attractive.

Example Of Payback Period Formula

Since the project’s life is calculated at 5 years, we can infer that the project returns a positive NPV. Thus, the project will likely add value to the business if pursued. Both projects have Payback Periods well within the five year time period. Project A has the shortest Payback Period of three years and Project B is only slightly longer. When the Accounting Periods and Methods cash flows are discounted to compute a Discounted Payback Period, the time period needed to repay the investment is longer. Project B now has a repayment period over four years in length and comes close to consuming the entire cash flows from the five year time period. An Internal Rate of Return analysis for two investments is shown in Table 6.

By discounting each individual cash flow, the discounted payback period formula takes into consideration the time value of money. Payback period method does not take into account the time value of money. Some businesses modified this method by adding the time value of money to get the discounted payback period. They discount the cash inflows of the project by a chosen discount rate , and then follow usual steps of calculating the payback period.

Payback Periods

However, it has little value for comparing investments of different size. The Profitability Index is a variation on the Net Present Value analysis that shows the cash return per dollar invested, which is valuable for comparing projects. However, many analysts prefer to see a percentage return on an investment. But the company may not be able to reinvest the internal cash flows at the Internal Rate of Return. Therefore, the Modified Internal Rate of Return analysis may be used. For a comparison of the six capital budgeting methods, two capital investments projects are presented in Table 8 for analysis. The first is a $300,000 investment that returns $100,000 per year for five years.

Thus the payback period fails to capture the diminishing value of currency over increasing time. This formula is a simplified formula for when the cash flows are the same each period. If cash flows are different each period, then the equation becomes a much more manual process by doing this calculation individually for each period’s cash flow. Management uses the payback period calculation to decide what investments or projects to pursue. This lesson defines and explains the use of the internal rate of return. The lesson also explains the advantages and disadvantages of the internal rate of return. The most significant advantage of the payback method is its simplicity.

In addition to the first two flaws, the business owner also has to guess at the interest rate or cost of capital. Consequently, it is not the best method to use when choosing an investment project. That said, this third flaw of the discounted payback period can be dismissed if the weighted average cost of capital is used as the rate at which to discount the cash flows. The payback period is considered a method of analysis with serious limitations and qualifications for its use, because it does not account for the time value of money. The discounted payback period takes the time value of money into consideration. Whilst the time value of money can be rectified by applying a weighted average cost of capital discount, it is generally agreed that this tool for investment decisions should not be used in isolation. The method does not take into account the time value of money, where cash generated in later periods is worth less than cash earned in the current period.

the time value of money is considered when calculating the payback period of an investment.

Keep in mind that the cash payback period principle does not work with all types of investments like stocks and bonds equally as well as it does with capital investments. The main reason for this is it doesn’t take into consideration the time value of money.

Theoretically, longer cash sits in the investment, the less it is worth. In order to account for the time value of money, the discounted payback period must be used to discount the cash inflows of the project at the proper interest rate. Longerpayback periodsare not only more risky than shorter ones, they are also more uncertain. The longer it takes for an investment to earn cash inflows, the more likely it is that the investment will not breakeven or make a profit. Since most capital expansions and investments are based on estimates and future projections, there’s no real certainty as to what will happen to the income in the future. For instance, Jim’s buffer could break in 20 weeks and need repairs requiring even further investment costs. That’s why a shorter payback period is always preferred over a longer one.


No such discount is allocated for in the payback period calculation. This means that it will actually take Jimmy longer than 6 years to get back his original investment. Managers who are concerned about cash flow want to know how long it will take to recover the initial investment. Managers may also require a payback period equal to or less than some specified time period.

the time value of money is considered when calculating the payback period of an investment.

In fact, it would be preferable to calculate the IRR to compare these two investments. The IRR for the first investment is 6 percent, and the IRR for the second investment is 5 percent. Payback period analysis ignores the time value of money and the value of cash flows in future periods. The payback method also ignores the cash flows beyond the payback period; thus, it ignores the long-term profitability of a project. The payback method is a method of evaluating a project by measuring the time it will take to recover the initial investment.

Let’s say Jimmy does buy the machine for $720,000 with net cash flow expected at $120,000 per year. The payback period calculation tells us it will take him 6 years to get his money back. When he does, the $720,000 he receives will not be equal to the original $720,000 he invested. This is because inflation over those 6 years will have decreased the value of the dollar.

In this metric, future cash flows are estimated and adjusted for the time value of money. It is the period of time that a project takes to generate cash flows when the cumulative present value of the cash flows equals the initial investment cost. Straightforward in its application, the payback method is also used to evaluate capital investment projects. To determine the payback period, you divide a project’s total cost by the annual cash flow that you expect the project to generate.

2 5 Simple Payback Period

To do so, you simply need to discount the payback based upon a cost of capital or interest rate. However, you should know that the cash payback period principle is not valid for every type of investment like it is with capital investments. The reason being that this calculation doesn’t take the time value of money into account– if money sits longer in an investment, it is worth less over time. Managers also use NPV to decide whether to make large purchases, such as equipment or software. It’s also used in mergers and acquisitions (though it’s called the discounted cash flow model in that scenario). In fact, it’s the model that Warren Buffet uses to evaluate companies.

Payback Period Formula In Excel With Excel Template

Management will set an acceptable payback period for individual investments based on whether the management is risk averse or risk taking. This target may be different for different projects because higher risk corresponds with higher return thus longer payback period being acceptable for profitable projects. For lower return projects, management will only accept the project if the risk is low which means payback period must be short. When deciding whether to invest in a project or when comparing projects having different returns, a decision based on payback period is relatively complex. The decision whether to accept or reject a project based on its payback period depends upon the risk appetite of the management. In the scenario of calculating a payback period, we are looking at projected returns on the investment over a number of months or years, and therefore disregarding what amount of interest could be made.

When To Use Payback Period

This means the payback period is more than managements maximum desired payback period , so they should reject the project. QuickBooks This means the payback period is less than managements maximum desired payback period , so they should accept the project.

The discounted payback period formula is used in capital budgeting to compare a project or projects against the cost of the investment. The simple payback period formula can be used as a quick measurement, however discounting each cash flow can provide a more accurate picture of the investment. As a simple example, suppose that an initial cost of a project is $5000 and each cash flow is $1,000 per year. The simple payback period formula would be 5 years, the initial investment divided by the cash flow each period.

If the project has returns for five years, you calculate this figure for each of those five years. You then subtract your initial investment from that number to get the NPV. So during calculating the payback period, the basic valuation of 2.5 lakh dollar is ignored over time. That is, the profitability of each year is fixed, but the valuation of that particular amount will be placed overtime the period.