DEFINITION of 'Discounting'

The process of determining the present value of a payment or a stream of payments that is to be received in the future. Given the time value of money, a dollar is worth more today than it would be worth tomorrow given its capacity to earn interest. Discounting is the method used to figure out how much these future payments are worth today.


Loading the player...

BREAKING DOWN 'Discounting'

Discounting is one of the core principals of finance and is the primary factor used in pricing a stream of cash flows , such as those found in a traditional bond or annuity. For example, the succession of coupon payments found in a regular bond is discounted by a certain interest rate and summed together with the discounted par value to determine the bond's current value.

  1. Cash Flow

    The net amount of cash and cash-equivalents moving into and out ...
  2. Bond

    A debt investment in which an investor loans money to an entity ...
  3. Annuity

    A financial product that pays out a fixed stream of payments ...
  4. Discount Rate

    The interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository ...
  5. Time Value of Money - TVM

    The idea that money available at the present time is worth more ...
  6. Present Value - PV

    The current worth of a future sum of money or stream of cash ...
Related Articles
  1. Fundamental Analysis

    Discounted Cash Flow Analysis

    Find out how analysts determine the fair value of a company with this step-by-step tutorial and learn how to evaluate an investment's attractiveness for yourself.
  2. Bonds & Fixed Income

    How Bond Market Pricing Works

    Learn the basic rules that govern how bond prices are determined.
  3. Retirement

    Bond Basics Tutorial

    Investing in bonds - What are they, and do they belong in your portfolio?
  4. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Advanced Bond Concepts

    Learn the complex concepts and calculations for trading bonds including bond pricing, yield, term structure of interest rates and duration.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 3 Muni California Mutual Funds

    Discover analyses of the top three California municipal bond mutual funds, and learn about their characteristics, historical performance and suitability.
  6. Retirement

    Why Are Annuities Important for Retirement?

    Understand how annuities work, and identify the benefits they provide for retirement, the most salient being a guaranteed income stream for life.
  7. Savings

    Become Your Own Financial Advisor

    If you have some financial know-how, you don’t have to hire someone to advise you on investments. This tutorial will help you set goals – and get started.
  8. Insurance

    The 4 Best Alternatives to Long-Term Care Insurance

    Understand what long-term care insurance is and the types of people who need this coverage. Learn about four alternatives to long-term care insurance.
  9. Investing Basics

    What Does Plain Vanilla Mean?

    Plain vanilla is a term used in investing to describe the most basic types of financial instruments.
  10. Investing

    How to Win More by Losing Less in Today’s Markets

    The further you fall, the harder it is to climb back up. It’s a universal truth that is painfully apparent in the investing world.
  1. Can I borrow from my annuity to put a down payment on a house?

    You can borrow from your annuity to put a down payment on a house, but be prepared to pay an assortment of fees and penalties. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the main kinds of annuities?

    There are two broad categories of annuity: fixed and variable. These categories refer to the manner in which the investment ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the risks of rolling my 401(k) into an annuity?

    Though the appeal of having guaranteed income after retirement is undeniable, there are actually a number of risks to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do I get out of my annuity and transfer to a new one?

    If you decide your current annuity is not for you, there is nothing stopping you from transferring your investment to a new ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the biggest disadvantages of annuities?

    Annuities can sound enticing when pitched by a salesperson who, not coincidentally, makes huge commissions selling them. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  2. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  3. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  4. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  5. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  6. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!