Word of the Week 'Time Value of Money'


What is the 'Time Value of Money - TVM

The time value of money (TVM) is the concept that money available at the present time is worth more than the identical sum in the future due to its potential earning capacity. This core principle of finance holds that, provided money can earn interest, any amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received. TVM is also sometimes referred to as present discounted value.

BREAKING DOWN 'Time Value of Money - TVM'

The time value of money draws from the idea that rational investors prefer to receive money today rather than the same amount of money in the future because of money's potential to grow in value over a given period of time. For example, money deposited into a savings account earns a certain interest rate, and is therefore said to be compounding in value.

Further illustrating the rational investor's preference, assume you have the option to choose between receiving $10,000 now versus $10,000 in two years. It's reasonable to assume most people would choose the first option. Despite the equal value at time of disbursement, receiving the $10,000 today has more value and utility to the beneficiary than receiving it in the future due to the opportunity costs associated with the wait. Such opportunity costs could include the potential gain on interest were that money received today and held in a savings account for two years.

Basic Time Value of Money Formula

Depending on the exact situation in question, the TVM formula may change slightly. For example, in the case of annuity or perpetuity payments, the generalized formula has additional or less factors. But in general, the most fundamental TVM formula takes into account the following variables:

  • FV = Future value of money

  • PV = Present value of money