What Is Annuity in Advance?

Annuity in advance is a series of payments that are due at the beginning of each successive time period. Rent is the classic example of an annuity in advance for a landlord because it is a sum of money paid at the beginning of each month to cover the period to follow. An annuity in advance, a legal and accounting term, is also called an "annuity due."

Understanding Annuity in Advance

Annuity in advance has nothing to do with the financial or insurance product "annuity," despite the use of the word. Another way to describe an annuity in advance is a series of equal payments that are received at the beginning of each equally spaced period. The payment is made before a service is rendered or before a good changes hands, so no interest is applied. It also means that the present value of an annuity in advance is higher than payments made later, such as after a service is provided or goods change hands.

Key Takeaways

  • An annuity in advance has nothing to do with the insurance product called an annuity.
  • Annuity in advance is a payment due at the beginning of each successive period.
  • Apartment rent is an example, as the landlord typically expects payment at the beginning of each month.
  • An annuity in advance has three defining characteristics: the amount of each payment is the same, the payment schedule is regular intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly), and payment is due at the beginning of each period.

There are three elements of an annuity in advance or an annuity due:

  1. Each payment is in the same amount (for example, a series of $100 payments)
  2. Each and every payment is made at the same time interval (such as monthly, quarterly, or annually)
  3. Each and every payment is made at the beginning of the specified time period (for example, a payment made on the first day of each month)

Annuity in Advance vs. Annuity in Arrears

The opposite of an annuity in advance is an annuity in arrears (also called an "ordinary annuity"). Mortgage payments are an example of an annuity in arrears, as they are regular, identical cash payments made at the end of equal time intervals. Like rent payments, mortgage payments are due on the first of the month. However, the mortgage payment covers the previous month's interest and principal on the mortgage loan.

One instance where the difference between an annuity in advance and an annuity in arrears matters is in the valuation of income properties. If payments are received at the beginning of the rental period rather than at the end of the rental period, the present value of those payments increases. It is also possible to use mathematical formulas to compute the present and future values of an annuity in advance or an ordinary annuity.

Since most payments are made at the beginning of a period rather than at the end, the annuity in advance (annuity due) concept is more frequently employed compared to the annuity in arrears (ordinary annuity) concept.

Annuity in Advance Example

In addition to rent as the most common example of an annuity in advance, there are leases. For example, assume that a company contracted for the use of a piece of hardware via a lease that required a regular payment of $1,000 at the beginning of every month for five years. Such an agreement would amount to an annuity in advance since each payment is equal, and is made at the start of each uniform interval.