"Present value of an annuity" is finance jargon meaning **present value with a cash flow**. The cash flow may be an investment, payment or savings cash flow, or it may be an income cash flow.

The present value (PV) is what the cash flow is worth today. Thus this present value of an annuity calculator calculates today's value of a future cash flow. **The annuity may be either an ordinary annuity or an annuity due (see below).**

The PV will always be less than the future value, that is, the sum of the cash flows (except in the rare case when interest rates are negative).

Why?

Because there must be compensation made to the party who has to wait for the money. Think of it in reverse. Would you rather have $100 today, or $100 one year from now?

Of course, you would rather have $100 today since there is risk in not receiving the money if you wait, and further, if you receive the payment today, you can invest it today and earn a return on the capital.

The present value of an annuity calculation considers these things and discounts the cash flow. In fact, sometimes this calculator is also known by the name **discounted cash flow calculator**. More below

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## What is present value used for?

At a high level, there are two scenarios when you may want to know the present value of a cash-flow.

- when someone or some entity owes you money
- when you want to make an investment

Perhaps you have won a court settlement payable as an annuity, or maybe you've been lucky enough to win a state lottery, and you want to receive the proceeds at once. How much should you expect?

Use this PV of an annuity calculator to tell you. Since an annuity is a regular, periodic cash-flow, and because this calculator allows you to set a specific first cash-flow date, it is capable of calculating the current value for any future stream of payments or investments. The calculator is also particularly suitable for **calculating the PV of a legal settlement, such as one involving alimony**.

For the same reasons, this calculator can be used to calculate the PV of an investment cash-flow. Perhaps you want to invest in a mortgage? You'll need to calculate the PV of the said mortgage before you can make an offer or know if the offering price allows you to meet your investment objective.

## What is the correct discount rate?

A discount rate is a personal number. That is, there is no absolute right or wrong value one can use.

When determining the discount rate, you could use several approaches. If you invest in the stock market, and for you, you earn on average 8% per year, you can use 8% for the discount rate to compare the present value with the return you earn from the market.

If you want to compare PV to something safer, you might use the US Treasury ten-year rate, which currently is at about 1.75% (August 2019).

### Example

Additionally, **buyers and sellers are very likely to use different discount rates**. For example, a commercial building's owner is selling the property, and a tenant has ten years remaining on the lease. What is the value of the contract to the prospective buyer?

The buyer may feel that mutual funds and the lease have similar risks (mutual funds loss of value and the lessee not paying). In that case, the buyer can use their average mutual fund return rate, say 7%, to calculate the PV of the lease. After all, why would they pay more to purchase the contract if they can earn 7% in mutual funds? The buyer will always want to use the highest discount rate they can justify because the higher the discount rate, the lower the PV – or the lower the cost of the asset. In other words, **for the buyer, using a higher discount rate is the more conservative approach**.

On the other hand, the seller may feel the tenants are reliable, and the cash flow is safe. They'll ask themselves why take a risk and put the money into the market where there is the risk of losing principal? In that case, the seller might want to park the money in a 2% CD, so they'll use 2% as their discount rate. Lower rates result in a higher PV. Thus, **for the seller, the lower rate is more conservative**. They'll need to be paid a higher price so they can put the proceeds from the sale in a lower yielding CD to reduce the investment risk.

With this example, it looks as if no deal would ever get done. The buyer will want to pay to little, and the seller will want to receive too much.

However, all deals depend on each participant's perspective. Perhaps the seller thinks that they have an opportunity to reinvest the money and earn not 2% but instead 20%. In that case, the seller might be willing to sell the lease at a 10% or 12% discount to have the funds available to take advantage of the more profitable opportunity.

See how what discount rate to use is a matter of personal choice and perspective?

## PV Calculator for Either Ordinary Annuity or Annuity Due

You may have heard of the terms "ordinary annuity" or "annuity due". This calculator will calculate the present value for either type of annuity.

First, what's the difference between an ordinary annuity and an annuity due? These two terms are a bit of financial jargon for an easy to understand financial concept.

**An ordinary annuity will have its first cash flow scheduled for a future date**. Textbooks frequently explain this concept by saying the cash flow gets paid at the end of the period.

**An annuity due will have its first cash flow scheduled on the as-of-date**, that is, the date for which the present value is calculated. Textbooks explain this concept by stating the cash flow gets paid at the beginning of the period.

The present value formula needs to be slightly modified depending on the annuity type.

Since this calculator prompts the user for the present value date (today's date) and the first cash flow date, it will work equally as well for either annuity type. **If you set the dates to the same day, then the calculator will use the annuity due formula; otherwise, it will use the ordinary annuity formula.**

Note, if you are calculating the present value for a deal that closes in the future, then you should set today's date to the day the contract is scheduled to close.

### Present Value of an Annuity Help

An "annuity" is a fixed sum of money paid someone each period, typically for the rest of their life. More loosely, it means any regular cash flow stream which may or may not have an explicit declared term. If an annuity is scheduled for 10 annual payments of $10,000 each, the sum of the payments is $100,000. However, if instead of being paid in 10 annual installments you wanted to receive a single sum, you would not receive $100,000. Why? Because if you receive a single sum today, there is no future risk of not receiving the amount due. Therefore, you would take less today to eliminate the risk of not collecting all payments.

If you are scheduled to receive a series of regular fixed payments of $2,500 for 20 years, what is today's cash value, assuming a 5.5% annual discount rate? The "annual discount rate" is the rate of return that you expect to receive on your investments. This is a personal number. There is no "right" answer, though you want to use a realistic number based on your investment history. The discount rate will vary from individual to individual.

Enter $2,500 in the "Cash Flow Amount" field (never type the currency symbol or commas). The cash flow frequency will be monthly. Enter 240 for the "Number of Cash Flows" (240 months is 20 years). Assume monthly compounding. Since the first payment isn't due until a month from now, set the "First Cash Flow Date" to one month from "Today's Date".

The PV is $363,431.62. Thus, you could accept $363,431.62 today in lieu of receiving $2,500 a month for twenty years. For you, the two are equal.

A note or two about "Compounding Frequency". The "Exact/Simple" option is actually exact day simple interest. When you make this selection, the calculator uses no compounding and the exact number of days between cash flow dates are used. The "Daily" option uses the exact number of days between dates, but daily compounding is assumed. If you are considering receiving a single amount in lieu of a cash flow stream, the "Exact/Simple" compounding option is the most conservative setting. That is, it will result in the highest present value calculation.

The prior version of this calculator provided you with an option to set the "Cash Flow Timing". Since you can enter "Today's Date" and the "First Cash Flow Date" this option is no longer necessary because the calculator will calculate the exact dates the cash flow is due.

One additional point about "Today's Date". This input does not have to be set to the current date. The date you use is the date you want to know the present value. If you were closing on a deal to buy a mortgage and the deal is expected to close in a week, then you would want to use the date of the closing for "Today's Date" so you'll know the present value on the closing date.

## David says:

What exactly is the definition of the

discount rate?

## Karl says:

The discount rate is the rate used to find the present value.

The more important question perhaps is "What rate should I use for the discount rate?"

And that depends. If you want to know the present value of a future cash flow that would be derived from investing, then you want to use a rate you think you can earn if you were investing the money.

If you were to borrow the money then you should use the interest rate you would have to pay on a loan.

Does this help?

## Jim Lequin says:

At 16% discount rate, what is the present value of Php 36,000 which is due at the end of 90 days? What is the discount?

## Karl says:

This present value calculator is a better one to use for your particular need. It solves for the PV of a single future amount. (You’ll need to do the subtraction to learn the discount. I’ll add that calculation in the next update.

## Rebecca says:

Do you have any suggestions for calculating PV when there’s a balloon at maturity?

## Rebecca says:

Just found your ultimate financial calculator link which looks like may the solution for this.

## Karl says:

Yes, I was just going to recommend that calculator.

Basically, you’ll create 3 rows. The 1st for an "Unknown" amount. This will be the PV.

The 2nd row will be for the amount and number of cash flows.

The 3rd row will be for the single balloon on the maturity date expected.

Scroll down the page and you see some tutorials that should be useful.

## Brian Berg says:

I HAVE A CLIENT WHO IS 50 YEARS OLD AND IS RECEIVEING 700,000 IN 401K MONEY TODAY. SHE IS ASKING ME WHAT THAT WOULD BE WORTH IN CURRENT DOLLARS OR WHAT DISCOUNT RATE SHE SHOULD BE USING? PLEASE ADVISE

## Karl says:

Hi Brian, If she is receiving a lump sum today of $700,000, then it’s value today in current dollars is $700,000. Or, is she starting to withdrawal the $700,000 today? Or is she receiving something less than the face value of $700,000 today? I’m not really clear what your question is.

As to what discount rate to use, please scroll down the page from the calculator and see the heading "What is the correct discount rate?." There are examples there. Check that out, and then if something isn’t clear, please ask.

## Kelly Johnson says:

I have a friend who is trying to work out a fair lump sum payment for alimony in a divorce. The support obligation is $500/month and it will continue for 15 years (180 payments). The court is allowed to adjust for cost of living increases in the future. Is there any way to use your calculator to get a present value but that also takes into account a cost of living increase over time? Or can you suggest the fairest way to do that? Decrease the interest rate used in the calculation perhaps?

## Karl says:

Good question.

I don’t have a calculator that has an inflation adjustment for a present value calculation (that I can think of :-), but what you suggest, reducing the rate would be the correct way to do it. So, if you are assuming say a 5% rate-of-return, and an inflation rate of 2%, use a 3% rate for your PV calculation.

## Kelly Johnson says:

Thanks so much!

## Sajid says:

Can you please help me with the following:

I have get the result from you calculator but troubling with back-end formula. What would be the formula, if there is monthly payment but compounding daily.

Thanks in advance.

## Karl says:

Sorry, I don’t answer question about equations. I answer question about how to do a calculation (use a calculator) or questions dealing with what calculator to use.

The equations are involved, and if I started to answer those, it would take away from my time that I have to develop this site.

## Pat says:

Hi, I am trying to determine the Present Value of a pension payment. The future annual payments $8674 or 722/monthly. I am 51 today and want the monthly payments to begin at age 65. Which tool would I use to calculate the current value of the payment? thanks

## Karl says:

Hi, I’m not sure I understand your question. But if you are trying to calculate the present value of the first pension payment then use this present value of an amount calculator. That calculator will calculate today’s value of $722 or $8574.

If you want to know the PV of the entire stream of payments, then use this calculator. The "First Cash Flow Date" is the date you expect to start receiving payments when you are 65. You’ll have to estimate how long you expect to live to calculate the number of payments you’ll receive. If you expect to live to 95 (30 years), and you are going to use the monthly figure, then you’ll enter 360.

## pat says:

Hi Karl, thanks for your response. So I am trying to figure out the present value of the annuity as of today. And if the monthly guarantee income is $722 then what is the current value of that entire annuity? If I use the Present Value of an Annuity Calculator I am not sure what the Annual Discount Rate should be ? Any ideas?

if this is not the calculator then where can I find the first cash flow date calculator on your site?

Thanks

## Karl says:

Hi Pat, the annual discount rate is the rate-of-return that you expect to earn on your investments. There is no right or wrong number. Scroll down the page from the calculator and there’s a discussion about discount rate.

This is definitely the calculator to use.

## joelle says:

how to determine the PV of a 10 years annuity of 3000$ with the first payment received 5 years from now and the rate is 8%?

what should i use as variable of FV, PMT, I/Y,N . ?

## Karl says:

Please use this annuity calculator. And sorry,I don’t understand the second part of your question. But I think once you look at the recommend calculator, your questions will be answered. If not, please ask again.

## Hadi says:

Hello Sir, could you help me with the followings:

After two years a $10,000 investment earning 8% APR compounded six monthly will accumulate to

a) $11,600

b) $11,664

c) $11,699

d) $12,597

An investor will receive an annuity of $4,500 a year for 12 years. The first payment is to be received four years from today. At a 12% discount rate, this annuity’s worth today is closest to:

a) $11,976

b) $19,840

c) $25,632

Mia places $25,000 in a term deposit with a fixed term and interest rate of 5 years and 8% APR respectively. If the interest is compounded on a weekly basis, what is the value of the investment at the end of the five years?

a) $27,081

b) $52,774

c) $37,284

d) $41,005

## Karl says:

I’m not really following you. You have but one question that you raised. For that question, what is the value after 5 years, you should be using this future value of an annuity calculator.

## CJ says:

Hi Karl,

Is it possible for you to share the formula for how you arrive at the difference in terms of the present value calculation when Today’s Date is different from the First Cash Flow Date? For instance, if today’s date is Jan 1st, but the cash flow date is Jan 31st?

## Karl says:

It’s not a formula per se. It takes a few hundred lines of programming code, and I don’t enter into discussions about it because it becomes a bottomless pit and takes away from what little time I have to build this website. (I do this parttime.)

## Shivangi says:

Hi Karl,

In a scenario, where let’s say we have a normal annuity where i’ll be receiving $100 on 12/31/2020 and I want to know the present value today i.e of 07/04/2020..If I wanted to calculate this manually, what would be the discounting factor I would take?

Just want to know how the discounting rate would be adjusted according to the period.

## Karl says:

Hi Shivangi, there are two types of questions I’m able to answer on this site. What calculator should I use to accomplish “X.” And how do I use a calculator’s feature? I don’t have the equations in my head and if I started to research them again, I would spend more time doing that than building the site.

## Lavelle Watts says:

Hi Karl,

I have a taxpayer receiving an annuity payment of $4,614 per month for 57 months. This is a total of $262,998.

The insurance company has offered to buy him out at $172,800.

Using your calculator I really think – just from a calculation side – that he is much better off keeping the payment stream rather than the lump sum.

## Karl says:

Hi Lavelle, I think you’re right if you are asking.

This is a useful calculator to use for such a question. I think there is also another interesting way to look at this scenario. Use the time to withdrawal calculator on this site. Fill in the inputs this way:

This will solve for the rate-of-return that your client would have to earn to make sure the 172,800 offer provides him with the $4,614 income for 57 months that he now has.

If you try it, you’ll see this taxpayer will have to earn in excess of 18% per year. Tough to do I think.

Take a look at the schedule and you’ll see that withdrawals will total 262,997.99.