## Discounted Payback Period: What It Is, and How To Calculate It

Go a level deeper with us and investigate the potential impacts of climate change on investments like your retirement account. The two calculated values – the Year number how to categorize 401k contributions in quickbooks and the fractional amount – can be added together to arrive at the estimated payback period. The implied payback period should thus be longer under the discounted method.

- Similar to the Payback Period, the technique omits time intervals beyond the breakeven point.
- Our team of reviewers are established professionals with years of experience in areas of personal finance and climate.
- The discounted payback period is a capital budgeting procedure used to determine the profitability of a project.
- Determining the payback period is useful for anyone and can be done by dividing the initial investment by the average cash flows.
- Assume that Company A has a project requiring an initial cash outlay of $3,000.

Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia. The DPP can be used in a cost-benefit analysis as well as for the comparison of different project alternatives. Shaun Conrad is a Certified Public Accountant and CPA exam expert with a passion for teaching. After almost a decade of experience in public accounting, he created MyAccountingCourse.com to help people learn accounting & finance, pass the CPA exam, and start their career. Amanda Bellucco-Chatham is an editor, writer, and fact-checker with years of experience researching personal finance topics.

## What is the main advantage of the discounted payback period method over the regular payback period method?

Calculate the discounted payback period of the investment if the discount rate is 11%. People and corporations mainly invest their money to get paid back, which is why the payback period is so important. In essence, the shorter payback an investment has, the more attractive it becomes.

The discounted payback period is calculatedby discounting the net cash flows of each and every period and cumulating thediscounted cash flows until the amount of the initial investment is met. This requires https://www.wave-accounting.net/ the use of a discountrate which can be either a market interest rate or an expected return. Someorganizations may also choose to apply an accounting interest rate or theirweighted average cost of capital.

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Specialties include general financial planning, career development, lending, retirement, tax preparation, and credit. Our goal is to deliver the most understandable and comprehensive explanations of climate and finance topics. Advisory services provided by Carbon Collective Investment LLC (“Carbon Collective”), an SEC-registered investment adviser. In the next step, we’ll create a table with the period numbers (”Year”) listed on the y-axis, whereas the x-axis consists of three columns. Suppose a company is considering whether to approve or reject a proposed project.

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A discounted payback period determines how long it will take for an investment’s discounted cash flows to equal its initial cost. The rule states that investment can only be considered if its discounted payback covers its initial cost before the cutoff time frame. Use this calculator to determine the DPP ofa series of cash flows of up to 6 periods. Insert the initial investment (as a negativenumber since it is an outflow), the discount rate and the positive or negativecash flows for periods 1 to 6. The presentvalue of each cash flow, as well as the cumulative discounted cash flows foreach period, are shown for reference.

The main difference between the two periods is that discounted payback period considers the time value of money. The payback period does not factor in the discount rate, which means that a company might accept a project with a longer payback period over one with a shorter payback period but a higher discount rate. In short, the time value of money is a way of describing the potential return of money. So, the time you receive cash flow and the average expected return of the market are key factors in the discounted cash flow models. The calculator below helps you calculate the discounted payback period based on the amount you initially invest, the discount rate, and the number of years. Prepare a table to calculate discounted cash flow of each period by multiplying the actual cash flows by present value factor.

In most cases, this is a pretty good payback period as experts say it can take as much as years for residential homeowners in the United States to break even on their investment. This is especially useful because companies and investors frequently have to choose between multiple projects or investments. Knowing when one project will pay off versus another makes the decision easier. In fact, the only difference is that the cash flows are discounted in the latter, as is implied by the name.

Getting repaid or recovering the initial cost of a project or investment should be achieved as quickly as it allows. However, not all projects and investments have the same time horizon, so the shortest possible payback period needs to be nested within the larger context of that time horizon. For example, the payback period on a home improvement project can be decades while the payback period on a construction project may be five years or less. Projects with higher cash flows toward the end of their life will experience more significant discounting. As a result, the payback period may yield a positive result, whereas the discounted payback period yields a negative outcome.

The following example illustrates the computation of both simple and discounted payback period as well as explains how the two analysis approaches differ from each other. One observation to make from the example above is that the discounted payback period of the project is reached exactly at the end of a year. In other circumstances, we may see projects where the payback occurs during, rather than at the end of, a given year. As the project’s money is not earning interest, you look at its cash flow after the amount of money it would have earned from interest.

For this reason, the payback period may return a positive figure, while the discounted payback period returns a negative figure. The basic method of the discounted payback period is taking the future estimated cash flows of a project and discounting them to the present value. The main advantage of the discounted payback period method over the regular payback period is that it considers the time value of money.

This means that a company can compare two different projects and see which one has the shortest discounted payback period. The project with the shorter discounted payback period is more financially viable. It is a rate that is applied to future payments in order to compute the present value or subsequent value of said future payments. For example, an investor may determine the net present value (NPV) of investing in something by discounting the cash flows they expect to receive in the future using an appropriate discount rate. It’s similar to determining how much money the investor currently needs to invest at this same rate in order to get the same cash flows at the same time in the future. Discount rate is useful because it can take future expected payments from different periods and discount everything to a single point in time for comparison purposes.

The calculationtherefore requires the discounting of the cash flows using an interest ordiscount rate. Assume that Company A has a project requiring an initial cash outlay of $3,000. The project is expected to return $1,000 each period for the next five periods, and the appropriate discount rate is 4%. The discounted payback period calculation begins with the -$3,000 cash outlay in the starting period. The period of time that a project or investment takes for the present value of future cash flows to equal the initial cost provides an indication of when the project or investment will break even.

Next, we divide the number by the year-end cash flow in order to get the percentage of the time period left over after the project has been paid back. When trying to estimate whether or not a new investment is financially viable, you should have a discount rate in mind. Note that period 0 doesn’t need to be discounted because that is the initial investment.