*Digging Into The Dividend Discount Model*.)

**TUTORIAL:**

**Top Stock-Picking Strategies**

**An Introduction to Residual Income**

When most hear the term residual income, they think of excess cash or disposable income. Although that definition is correct in the scope of personal finance, in terms of equity valuation residual income is the income generated by a firm after accounting for the true cost of its capital. You might be asking, "but don't companies already account for their cost of capital in their interest expense?" Yes and no. Interest expense on the income statement only accounts for a firm's cost of its debt, ignoring its cost of equity, such as dividends payouts and other equity costs. Looking at the cost of equity another way, think of it as the shareholders' opportunity cost, or the required rate of return. The residual income model attempts to adjust a firm's future earnings estimates, to compensate for the equity cost and place a more accurate value to a firm. Although the return to equity holders is not a legal requirement like the return to bondholders, in order to attract investors firms must compensate them for the investment risk exposure.

In calculating a firm's residual income the key calculation is to determine its equity charge. Equity charge is simply a firm's total equity capital multiplied by the required rate of return of that equity, can be estimated using the capital asset pricing model. The formula below shows the equity charge equation.

Equity Charge = Equity Capital x Cost of Equity |

Equity Charge | $950,000 x 0.11 = $104,500 |

Net Income | $100,000 |

Equity Charge | -$104,500 |

Residual Income | -$4,500 |

**Intrinsic Value With Residual Income**

Now that we've found how to compute residual income, we must now use this information to formulate a true value estimate for a firm. Like other absolute valuation approaches, the concept of discounting future earnings is put to use in residual income modeling as well. The intrinsic, or fair value, of a company's stock using a the residual income approach can be broken down into its book value and the present values of its expected future residual incomes, as illustrated in the formula below.

*Strategies For Determining The Market's True Worth*.)

**The Bottom Line**

The residual income approach offers both positives and negatives when compared to the more often used dividend discount and DCF methods. On the plus side, residual income models make use of data readily available from a firm's financial statements and can be used well with firms who do not pay dividends or do not generate positive free cash flow. Most importantly, as we discussed earlier, residual income models look at the economic profitability of a firm rather than just its accounting profitability. The biggest drawback of the residual income method is the fact that it relies so heavily on forward looking estimates of a firm's financial statements, leaving forecasts vulnerable to psychological biases or historic misrepresentation of a firms financial statements.

All that being said, the residual income valuation approach is a viable and increasingly popular method of valuation and can be implemented rather easily by even novice investors. When used alongside the other popular valuation approaches, residual income valuation can give you a clearer estimate of what the true intrinsic value of a firm may be. (Don't be overwhelmed by the many valuation techniques out there - knowing a few characteristics about a company will help you pick the best one. See

*How To Choose The Best Stock Valuation Method*.)