For this reason, the payback period may return a positive figure, while the discounted payback period returns a negative figure. The other project would have a payback period of 4.25 years but would generate higher returns on investment than the first project. However, based solely on the payback period, the firm would select the first project over this alternative. The implications of this are that firms may choose investments with shorter payback periods at the expense of profitability. People and corporations mainly invest their money to get paid back, which is why the payback period is so important.

- Payback period intuitively measures how long something takes to „pay for itself.” All else being equal, shorter payback periods are preferable to longer payback periods.
- Alternative measures of „return” preferred by economists are net present value and internal rate of return.
- For instance, Jim’s buffer could break in 20 weeks and need repairs requiring even further investment costs.
- In most cases, this is a pretty good payback period as experts say it can take as much as years for residential homeowners in the United States to break even on their investment.

Payback period is used not only in financial industries, but also by businesses to calculate the rate of return on any new asset or technology upgrade. For example, a small business owner could calculate the payback period of installing solar panels to determine if they’re a cost-effective https://quick-bookkeeping.net/ option. The formula to calculate the payback period of an investment depends on whether the periodic cash inflows from the project are even or uneven. Cash flow is the inflow and outflow of cash or cash-equivalents of a project, an individual, an organization, or other entities.

## Payback Period

A payback period refers to the time it takes to earn back the cost of an investment. More specifically, it’s the length of time it takes a project to reach a break-even point. The breakeven point is the level at which the costs of production equal the revenue for a product or service.

- Cumulative net cash flow is the sum of inflows to date, minus the initial outflow.
- There are two ways to calculate the payback period, which are described below.
- For instance, let’s say you own a retail company and are considering a proposed growth strategy that involves opening up new store locations in the hopes of benefiting from the expanded geographic reach.
- Another drawback to the payback period is that it doesn’t take the time value of money into account, unlike the discounted payback period method.
- Payback focuses on cash flows and looks at the cumulative cash flow of the investment up to the point at which the original investment has been recouped from the investment cash flows.

Payback period is a quick and easy way to assess investment opportunities and risk, but instead of a break-even analysis’s units, payback period is expressed in years. The shorter the payback period, the more attractive the investment would be, because this means it would take less time to break even. Since some business projects don’t last an entire year and others are ongoing, you can supplement this equation for any income period. For example, you could use monthly, semi annual, or even two-year cash inflow periods. Obviously, the longer it takes an investment to recoup its original cost, the more risky the investment.

## Advantages and Disadvantages of the Payback Period

The payback period also facilitates side-by-side analysis of two competing projects. If one has a longer payback period than the other, it might not be the better option. Payback period is the time in which the initial outlay of an investment is expected to be recovered through the cash inflows generated by the investment.

## Advantages and disadvantages of payback period

Payback period intuitively measures how long something takes to „pay for itself.” All else being equal, shorter payback periods are preferable to longer payback periods. Payback period is popular due to its ease of use despite the recognized limitations described below. Generally speaking, an investment can either have a short or a long payback period. The shorter a payback period is, the more likely it is that the cost will be repaid or returned quickly, and hence, the more desirable the investment becomes. The opposite stands for investments with longer payback periods – they’re less useful and less likely to be undertaken.

The reason for this is because the longer cash is tied up, the less chance there is for you to invest elsewhere, and grow as a business. One of the biggest advantages of the payback period method is its simplicity. The https://kelleysbookkeeping.com/ method is extremely simple to understand, as it only requires one straightforward calculation. Hence, it’s an easy way to compare several projects and then to choose the project that has the shortest payback time.

## Example of the Payback Period

It’s similar to determining how much money the investor currently needs to invest at this same rate in order to get the same cash flows at the same time in the future. Discount rate is useful because it can take future expected payments from different periods and discount everything to a single point in time for comparison purposes. https://business-accounting.net/ The payback period is the amount of time for a project to break even in cash collections using nominal dollars. Alternatively, the discounted payback period reflects the amount of time necessary to break even in a project, based not only on what cash flows occur but when they occur and the prevailing rate of return in the market.

## Example of the Payback Method

The payback period is the amount of time it would take for an investor to recover a project’s initial cost. As you can see, using this payback period calculator you a percentage as an answer. Multiply this percentage by 365 and you will arrive at the number of days it will take for the project or investment to earn enough cash to pay for itself. The discounted payback period of 7.27 years is longer than the 5 years as calculated by the regular payback period because the time value of money is factored in. One of the most important capital budgeting techniques businesses can practice is known as the payback period method or payback analysis.

The decision rule using the payback period is to minimize the time taken for the return on investment. The payback period disregards the time value of money and is determined by counting the number of years it takes to recover the funds invested. For example, if it takes five years to recover the cost of an investment, the payback period is five years.

Any investments with longer payback periods are generally not as enticing. Longer payback periods are not only more risky than shorter ones, they are also more uncertain. The longer it takes for an investment to earn cash inflows, the more likely it is that the investment will not breakeven or make a profit. Since most capital expansions and investments are based on estimates and future projections, there’s no real certainty as to what will happen to the income in the future.