Payback period


Payback period

Payback period in business and economics refers to the period of time required for the return on an investment to "repay" the sum of the original investment. For example, a $1000 investment which returned $500 per year would have a two year payback period. It intuitively measures how long something takes to "pay for itself"; shorter payback periods are obviously preferable to longer payback periods (all else being equal). Payback period is widely used due to its ease of use despite recognized limitations, described below.

The expression is also widely used in other types of investment areas, often with respect to energy efficiency technologies, maintenance, upgrades, or other changes. For example, a compact fluorescent light bulb may be described of having a payback period of a certain number of years or operating hours (assuming certain costs); here, the return to the investment consists of reduced operating costs. Although primarily a financial term, the concept of a payback period is occasionally extended to other uses, such as energy payback period (the period of time over which the "energy" savings of a project equal the amount of energy expended since project inception); these other terms may not be standardized or widely used.

Payback period as a tool of analysis is often used because it is easy to apply and easy to understand for most individuals, regardless of academic training or field of endeavour. When used carefully or to compare similar investments, it can be quite useful. As a stand-alone tool to compare an investment with "doing nothing", payback period has no explicit criteria for decision-making (except, perhaps, that the payback period should be less than infinity).

The payback period is considered a method of analysis with serious limitations and qualifications for its use, because it does not properly account for the time value of money, risk, financing or other important considerations such as the opportunity cost. Whilst the time value of money can be rectified by applying a weight average cost of capital discount, it is generally agreed that this tool for investment decisions should not be used in isolation. Alternative measures of "return" preferred by economists are net present value and internal rate of return. An implicit assumption in the use of payback period is that returns to the investment continue after the payback period. Payback period does not specify any required comparison to other investments or even to not making an investment.

Basic formula

Payback = Days/Weeks/Months x Initial Investment / Total cash received

External links

* [http://www.solutionmatrix.com/payback-period.html Payback period]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • payback period — ➔ period * * * payback period UK US noun [C] FINANCE ► (also payback) the time taken to get back the amount originally invested in something: »Investors will see a swift return, with a payback period of between a year and 18 months. ► …   Financial and business terms

  • payback period — noun (economics) The length of time a project will take to recover its initial outlay • • • Main Entry: ↑pay …   Useful english dictionary

  • Payback Period — The length of time required to recover the cost of an investment. The payback period of a given investment or project is an important determinant of whether to undertake the position or project, as longer payback periods are typically not… …   Investment dictionary

  • payback period — 1. A period of time over which the costs of an investment are recouped by cash flows the investment generates. To take a simple example, a $12,500 investment that is expected to result in annual, net cash inflows of $5,000 has a payback period of …   Auditor's dictionary

  • Payback Period — Payback Time, Payoff Period, Payout Time. 1. Begriff: Zeitpunkt oder Zeitraum, an oder in dem die Summe der Einzahlungsüberschüsse eines Investitionsobjekts (bei statischer Amortisationsrechnung) oder deren ⇡ Barwert (bei dynamischer… …   Lexikon der Economics

  • payback period — period of time required until income from an investment is worth its cost …   English contemporary dictionary

  • payback period — / peɪbæk ˌpɪəriəd/ noun 1. a period of time over which a loan is to be repaid or an investment is to pay for itself 2. the length of time it will take to earn back the money invested in a project …   Dictionary of banking and finance

  • payback period — / peɪbæk ˌpɪəriəd/ noun the length of time it will take to earn back the money invested in a project …   Marketing dictionary in english

  • payback period method — A method of capital budgeting in which the time required before the projected cash inflows for a project equal the investment expenditure is calculated; this time is compared to a required payback period to determine whether or not the project… …   Accounting dictionary

  • payback period method — A method of capital budgeting in which the time required before the projected cash inflows for a project equal the investment expenditure is calculated; this time is compared to a required payback period to determine whether or not the project… …   Big dictionary of business and management