Discounted Payback Period Formula + Calculator

In any case, the decision for a project option or an investment decision should not be based on a single type of indicator. You can find the full case study here where we have also calculated the other indicators (such as NPV, IRR and ROI) that are part of a holistic cost-benefit analysis. Option 1 has a discounted payback period of
5.07 years, option 3 of 4.65 years while with option 2, a recovery of the
investment is not achieved. The following tables contain the cash flow
forecasts of each of these options. The discount rate was set at 12% and
remains constant for all periods.

  1. First, we must discount (i.e., bring to the present value) the net cash flows that will occur during each year of the project.
  2. Corporations and business managers also use the payback period to evaluate the relative favorability of potential projects in conjunction with tools like IRR or NPV.
  3. All else being equal, it’s usually better for a company to have a lower payback period as this typically represents a less risky investment.
  4. Discounted payback, in contrast, includes the time value of money, so it is viewed from a financial perspective.
  5. Don’t be lured in by the prospect of purchasing a discounted investment without first checking into why a discount is being offered in the first place.

Another advantage of this method is that it’s easy to calculate and understand. This makes it a good choice for decision-makers who don’t have a lot of experience with financial analysis. The two calculated values – the Year number and the fractional amount – can be added together to arrive at the estimated payback period. All of the necessary inputs for our payback period calculation are shown below. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

However, it doesn’t take into account money’s time value, which is the idea that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future. The discounted payback period is a good
alternative to the payback period if the time value of money or the expected
rate of return needs to be considered. Based on the project’s risk profile and the returns on comparable investments, the discount rate – i.e., the required rate of return – is assumed to be 10%. There are two steps involved in calculating the discounted payback period. First, we must discount (i.e., bring to the present value) the net cash flows that will occur during each year of the project. The discounted payback period of 7.27 years is longer than the 5 years as calculated by the regular payback period because the time value of money is factored in.

The main difference between the regular and discounted payback periods is that the discounted payback period takes into account the time value of money, and the regular payback period does not. This makes the quickbooks accounting solutions more accurate but also more difficult to calculate. The project has an initial investment of $1,000 and will generate annual cash flows of $100 for the next 10 years. The discounted payback period has a similar purpose as the payback period which is to determine how long it takes until an initial investment is amortized through the cash flows generated by this asset. In capital budgeting, the payback period is defined as the amount of time necessary for a company to recoup the cost of an initial investment using the cash flows generated by an investment. These two calculations, although similar, may not return the same result due to the discounting of cash flows.

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As presented below, in our calculation of the Discounted Payback Period, we discount the initial cash flows (originally found in column C) in column H. Average cash flows represent the money going into and out of the investment. Inflows are any items that go into the investment, such as deposits, dividends, or earnings. Cash outflows include any fees or charges that are subtracted from the balance.

Because of the opportunity cost of receiving cash earlier and the ability to earn a return on those funds, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar received tomorrow. So, the two parts of the calculation (the cash flow and PV factor) are shown above. We can conclude from this that the DCF is the calculation of the PV factor and the actual cash inflow. Bonds are typically discounted because they carry a higher degree of risk to the purchaser or investor. The discount is based on the value of an asset’s income at the present moment. A callable bond is a municipal bond that’s subject to redemption by a state or local government before its maturity date.

Knowing when one project will pay off versus another makes the decision easier. The Discounted Payback Period estimates the time needed for a project to generate enough cash flows to break even and become profitable. 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.

Where CF is the Cash Flow for the respective nth year, and r is the opportunity cost of capital. These bonds pay a higher interest rate or yield because they’re rated poorly by Moody’s and S&P due to a high risk of default. A bond can have a par value of $1,000 and be priced at a 20% discount, which would be $800. The investor can purchase the bond today for a discount and receive the full face value of the bond at maturity.

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For this reason, the simple payback period may be favorable, while the discounted payback period might indicate an unfavorable investment. The main advantage is that the metric takes into account money’s time value. This is important because money today is worth more than money in the future. The discount rate represents the opportunity cost of investing your money. The payback period is the time it takes an investment to break even (generate enough cash flows to cover the initial cost).

The discounted payback period is the number of years it takes to pay back the initial investment after discounting cash flows. In Excel, create a cell for the discounted rate and columns for the year, cash flows, the present value of the cash flows, and the cumulative cash flow balance. Input the known values (year, cash flows, and discount rate) in their respective cells.

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The discounted payback period is a modified version of the payback period that accounts for the time value of money. Both metrics are used to calculate the amount of time that it will take for a project to “break even,” or to get the point where the net cash flows generated cover the initial cost of the project. Both the payback period and the discounted payback period can be used to evaluate the profitability and feasibility of a specific project.

The Discounted Payback Period overcomes this weakness by using discounte cash flows in estimating the breakeven point. The Discounted Payback Period (DPBP) is an improved version of the Payback Period (PBP), commonly used in capital budgeting. It calculates the amount of time (in years) in which a project is expected to break even, by discounting future cash flows and applying the time value of money concept. From a business perspective, an asset has no value unless it can produce cash flows in the future. Bonds pay interest and projects provide investors with incremental future cash flows. The value of those future cash flows in today’s terms is calculated by applying a discount factor to future cash flows.

The cash flow balance in year zero is negative as it marks the initial outlay of capital. Therefore, the cumulative cash flow balance in year 1 equals the negative balance from year 0 plus the present value of cash flows from year 1. The discounted payback period is calculated by adding the year to the absolute value of the period’s cumulative cash flow balance and dividing it by the following year’s present value of cash flows.

Disadvantages of Discounted Payback Period

Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) it has practical relevance in many projects as an enhanced version of the payback period (PBP). It considers the opportunity cost of tying up capital in a project and allows investors to compare different investment options more effectively. A higher payback period means it will take longer for a company to cover its initial investment. All else being equal, it’s usually better for a company to have a lower payback period as this typically represents a less risky investment. The quicker a company can recoup its initial investment, the less exposure the company has to a potential loss on the endeavor.

I will briefly explain how the payback period functions to help you better understand the concept. Prior to accepting a position as the Director of Operations Strategy at DJO Global, Manu was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company in Houston. He served clients, including presenting directly to C-level executives, in digital, strategy, M&A, and operations projects. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. Investors must qualify for them through purchasing these mutual fund shares and meeting a few other requirements.

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