Discount rate

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on January 26, 2024.


A discount rate in business and finance refers to the interest rate used to determine the present value of future cash flows or financial instruments.

What is a discount rate?

A discount rate plays a crucial role in various financial calculations, including the valuation of investments, assessing the worth of a business, and making decisions about capital budgeting and project feasibility.

The concept of a discount rate is rooted in the principle of the time value of money. It recognises that a pound received in the future is worth less than a pound received today due to the opportunity to invest and earn a return.

The discount rate also reflects the opportunity cost of capital. It represents the return that could be earned by investing the same amount of money in an alternative opportunity with similar risk.

Example of discount rate

Let’s say you are considering an investment that is expected to generate £1,000 one year from now. If the discount rate is 5%, the present value of that future cash flow would be calculated as follows:

Present value = Future cash flow / (1 + Discount rate) = £1,000 / (1 + 0.05) = £952.38

So, the present value of receiving £1,000 one year from now, with a discount rate of 5%, is £952.38.

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