Discounting

One way to value a share is to add up the cash flows you expect to receive from it in the future and then ‘discount’ them.

Discounting is expressing cash received in the future in today’s money because inflation (for which the compensation as an investor is an interest rate on cash) erodes the value of money over time.

So, for example, £100 received now and invested at an annual interest rate of, say, 5% would be worth £105 in one year, £110.25 in two years (100 x 1.05 x 1.05) and £115.76 in three years.

Similarly, the discounted value (today’s equivalent) of £115.76 due in three years is £100. Or, given the choice between £100 now and £115.76 in three years, assuming annual interest rates of 5%, you should be indifferent as the two are worth about the same on a like-for-like basis.

• See Tim Bennett’s video tutorial: Five ways companies can cook cash flow.

MoneyWeek magazine

Latest issue:

Magazine cover
Going bust

What happens when countries default?

The UK's best-selling financial magazine. Take a FREE trial today.
Claim 4 FREE Issues

Vote in the MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards

Vote for your favourite financial services companies in the inaugural MoneyWeek Awards, and you could win a year's subscription to MoneyWeek magazine. Find out more and vote here.


Which investment platform?

When it comes to buying shares and funds, there are several investment platforms and brokers to choose from. They all offer various fee structures to suit individual investing habits.
Find out which one is best for you.