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What is the 'Time Value of Money - TVM'

The time value of money (TVM) is the idea that money available at the present time is worth more than the same amount in the future due to its potential earning capacity. This core principle of finance holds that, provided money can earn interest, any amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received. TVM is also referred to as present discounted value.

BREAKING DOWN 'Time Value of Money - TVM'

Money deposited in a savings account earns a certain interest rate. Rational investors prefer to receive money today rather than the same amount of money in the future because of money's potential to grow in value over a given period of time. Money earning an interest rate is said to be compounding in value.

Basic Time Value of Money Formula and Example

Depending on the exact situation in question, the TVM formula may change slightly. For example, in the case of annuity or perpetuity payments, the generalized formula has additional or less factors. But in general, the most fundamental TVM formula takes into account the following variables:

FV = Future value of money

PV = Present value of money

i = interest rate

n = number of compounding periods per year

t = number of years

Based on these variables, the formula for TVM is:

FV = PV x (1 + (i / n)) ^ (n x t)

For example, assume a sum of $10,000 is invested for one year at 10% interest. The future value of that money is:

FV = $10,000 x (1 + (10% / 1) ^ (1 x 1) = $11,000

The formula can also be rearranged to find the value of the future sum in present day dollars. For example, the value of $5,000 one year from today, compounded at 7% interest, is:

PV = $5,000 / (1 + (7% / 1) ^ (1 x 1) = $4,673

Effect of Compounding Periods on Future Value

The number of compounding periods can have a drastic effect on the TVM calculations. Taking the $10,000 example above, if the number of compounding periods is increased to quarterly, monthly or daily, the ending future value calculations are:

Quarterly Compounding: FV = $10,000 x (1 + (10% / 4) ^ (4 x 1) = $11,038

Monthly Compounding: FV = $10,000 x (1 + (10% / 12) ^ (12 x 1) = $11,047

Daily Compounding: FV = $10,000 x (1 + (10% / 365) ^ (365 x 1) = $11,052

This shows TVM depends not only on interest rate and time horizon, but how many times the compounding calculations are computed each year.

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