How to Calculate Present Value?

How to Calculate Present Value

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How to Calculate Present Value

The present value (PV) is the concept that states an amount of money today is worth more than the same amount in the future. This is due to the potential earning capacity of money, which provides the opportunity to earn interest. Therefore, money received sooner is more valuable because it can be invested and earn interest.

The formula for calculating present value is:

\(\text{PV} = \frac{FV}{(1 + r)^n} \)


Example of How to Calculate Present Value

Let’s assume you’re considering an investment that promises to pay you $5,000 five years from now. The interest rate available to you in the market is 3% annually. You’d like to know what this future payment is worth in today’s dollars – that is, its present value.

You can use the formula for present value:

\(\large \text{PV} = \frac{FV}{(1 + r)^n} \)


  • PV is the present value
  • FV is the future value, which is $5,000 in this case
  • r is the discount rate, or the interest rate available to you in the market. In this case, it’s 3%, or 0.03 in decimal form
  • n is the number of periods, which is 5 years in this case

Plug these values into the formula:

\(\large \text{PV} = \frac{\$5,000}{(1 + 0.03)^5} = \frac{\$5,000}{1.159274} = \$4,310.92 \)

So, the present value of a $5,000 payment received five years from now, given a 3% annual discount rate, is approximately $4,310.92. This means if you had $4,310.92 today and invested it at a 3% annual rate, you would have $5,000 in five years.

Remember, the actual calculation can get more complicated with more frequent compounding of interest, other forms of returns, and other factors. Always consult with a financial advisor or use financial software for important financial decisions.

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