Lucrative

What Is Lucrative?

Lucrative means profitable, and it can be used to describe any venture or activity that has the potential to make money. Thus, an investment or commercial venture is considered to be lucrative if it produces substantial wealth. A lucrative activity could be anything from collecting art, designing an invention, or following through on an idea for an innovative product or service.

Lucrative can be used in both past and present tenses. In the present tense, it describes the potential for profitability. In the past tense, it indicates that the venture has produced wealth.

Key Takeaways

  • An idea, a venture, or a product that creates substantial returns is lucrative.
  • In business, a product can be deemed lucrative only if it produces substantial money in net returns, not gross receipts.
  • A product can be termed lucrative only in the past tense. In the present tense, it indicates potential, not reality.
  • Investors can analyze a company's financial statements and certain financial metrics to determine whether a company is lucrative or not.
  • One of the most lucrative companies in the world is Apple Inc.

Understanding Lucrative

An analyst may conclude that a particular stock is highly lucrative. What the analyst is suggesting is that this stock has the potential to be profitable.

It's tempting to suggest that the stock market is a lucrative place to make money, but it is also an easy place to lose a large amount of money. People will always have their own interpretation of whether an idea or a course of action is lucrative, at least when it is used to describe potential rather than reality.

Special Considerations

Lucrative can be used to describe an effort by an individual or an organization to produce a profit on a short or long-term basis. But in business, lucrativeness is associated with net earnings rather than gross revenue.

By that measure, some of the most lucrative companies in America are Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Intel Corp.

Lucrative comes from the Latin word lucrativus, which translates to "has gained."

An individual may want to pursue a career or launch a business that provides a positive return on investment. The occupation or venture might have the potential for high revenue generation. But the direct costs and risks may reduce or eliminate its lucrativeness.

That is a very real hazard of doing business. A business owner may need to procure insurance against workplace accidents and product liability. Compliance with regulatory requirements can incur additional costs that further reduce the lucrativeness of a business.

The path to achieving lucrativeness can be complex. A startup company might raise capital through numerous funding rounds. The investors and the founders alike will need the company to pursue strategies that maximize the operating revenue and earnings and create the potential for profitable returns for the investors.

If the company were to sell to a buyer who offered less than the overall investment, no matter how big that number was, the deal would not be considered lucrative.

Measuring Lucrativeness

Investors and analysts can determine if a company is lucrative by analyzing its financial statements. The financial statements include the balance sheet, the income statement, and the cash flow statement.

There are certain indicators that are fairly straightforward in determining a company's lucrativeness, such as its cash levels and whether it is earning a profit or making a loss, as determined by its net income.

However, financial statements are more complex than just reading numbers, as all three statements relate to one another and each company is different from one another. For example, two companies may have the same debt levels but the stories might be completely different.

One company might have debt to finance growth because it is prospering, while another company might have debt because it needs to borrow money to finance its daily operations since its earnings are not enough to keep the company in business. It's important to know why certain numbers are what they are.

Furthermore, it is important to analyze financial ratios, as they tell a deeper picture than just the line items on financial statements. Some important financial metrics to help determine if a company is lucrative include the working capital ratio, the quick ratio, the debt-equity ratio, and return on equity.

Lastly, when determining whether a company is lucrative, it's essential to analyze the company in the context of its industry and its competitors. If you compare the numbers of a tech company to an airline company, for example, you are comparing apples and oranges.

Each industry has different capital expenditures, profit levels, debt levels, and so on. Analyzing a company within its industry and amongst its peers gives a clearer picture of its lucrativeness.

Real-World Example

Apple is considered to be one of the most lucrative companies in the world. The company has always had a strong customer base due to its computers and operating system that stood in contrast to PCs and Microsoft's operating system; however, the company really took off when it launched the iPod MP3 music player, then the iPhone, and then the iPad.

The release of these three products turned Apple into one of the most powerful companies in the world and the largest company in the world by market capitalization.

Just because a company has been lucrative in the past does not mean it will be so in the future. When considering an investment, it's important to conduct a thorough financial analysis, including a company's future prospects and if it is keeping up with shifting consumer tastes.

As of fiscal-year end 2020, Apple had a net income (profit) of $57.4 billion. A strong indicator of lucrativeness. The company's total cash levels were $191.8 billion and its total term debt was $107 billion. Apple has enough cash to cover its debt.

Looking at its working capital ratio, one can also tell Apple is in a strong financial position as its current assets ($143 billion) are larger than its current liabilities ($105 billion).

What Are Examples of Lucrative Jobs?

Examples of lucrative jobs include doctors, lawyers, financial traders, dentists, IT managers, engineers, computer programmers, and financial managers. Lucrative jobs are considered to be so due to the high salaries they pay.

What Are the Most Lucrative Small Businesses?

Lucrative small businesses include auto repair shops, car wash services, food trucks, IT support, electronics repair, personal trainers, vacation rentals, and language courses.

What Are Lucrative Investments for Beginners?

Lucrative investments for beginners are those with low risk that still pay out a strong return. Such investments include ETFs, certificates of deposit (CDs), high-yield savings accounts, 401(k) accounts, and mutual funds.

The Bottom Line

Lucrative refers to profitability. It can be any investment or venture that returns a profit, meaning that there is money left over after all costs have been accounted for. In some instances, it can even refer to an experience that left someone fulfilled.

Businesses are considered lucrative if they are generating profits rather than losses. An investment is considered lucrative if the investor receives more money than they put in. Determining if an investment or venture will be lucrative can be a difficult task, but analyzing certain financial metrics can help an individual make a well-informed decision.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Statista. "The 100 Largest Companies in the World by Market Capitalization in 2021." Accessed Oct. 26, 2021.

  2. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Form 10-K. Apple Inc," Page 22, 34-38. Accessed Oct. 26, 2021.

  3. Nerd Wallet. "The 23 Most Profitable Businesses in 2021." Accessed Oct. 26, 2021.

  4. Bankrate. "6 Best Investments for Beginners." Accessed Oct. 26, 2021.

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