Present Value - PV

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DEFINITION of 'Present Value - PV'

The current worth of a future sum of money or stream of cash flows given a specified rate of return. Future cash flows are discounted at the discount rate, and the higher the discount rate, the lower the present value of the future cash flows. Determining the appropriate discount rate is the key to properly valuing future cash flows, whether they be earnings or obligations.

Also referred to as "discounted value".

BREAKING DOWN 'Present Value - PV'

This sounds a bit confusing, but it really isn't. The basis is that receiving $1,000 now is worth more than $1,000 five years from now, because if you got the money now, you could invest it and receive an additional return over the five years.

The calculation of discounted or present value is extremely important in many financial calculations. For example, net present value, bond yields, spot rates, and pension obligations all rely on the principle of discounted or present value. Learning how to use a financial calculator to make present value calculations can help you decide whether you should accept a cash rebate, 0% financing on the purchase of a car or to pay points on a mortgage.

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