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A return may be adjusted for inflation to better indicate its true value in purchasing power. Any investment with a nominal rate of return less than the annual inflation rate represents a loss of value, even though the nominal rate of return might well be greater than 0%. When ROI is adjusted for inflation, the resulting return is considered an increase or decrease in purchasing power. If an ROI value is adjusted for inflation, it is stated explicitly, such as “The return, adjusted for inflation, was 2%.”
Investments generate cash flow to the investor to compensate the investor for the time value of money.
Except for rare periods of significant deflation where the opposite may be true, a dollar in cash is worth less today than it was yesterday, and worth more today than it will be worth tomorrow. The main factors that are used by investors to determine the rate of return at which they are willing to invest money include:
-estimates of future inflation rates
-estimates regarding the risk of the investment (e.g. how likely it is that investors will receive regular interest/dividend payments and the return of their full capital)
-whether or not the investors want the money available (“liquid”) for other uses.
The time value of money is reflected in the interest rates that banks offer for deposits, and also in the interest rates that banks charge for loans such as home mortgages. The “risk-free” rate is the rate on U.S. Treasury Bills, because this is the highest rate available without risking capital.
The rate of return which an investor expects from an investment is called the Discount Rate. Each investment has a different discount rate, based on the cash flow expected in future from the investment. The higher the risk, the higher the discount rate (rate of return) the investor will demand from the investment.
In finance, the net present value (NPV) or net present worth (NPW)[1] of a time series of cash flows, both incoming and outgoing, is defined as the sum of the present values (PVs) of the individual cash flows. In the case when all future cash flows are incoming (such as coupons and principal of a bond) and the only outflow of cash is the purchase price, the NPV is simply the PV of future cash flows minus the purchase price (which is its own PV). NPV is a central tool in discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, and is a standard method for using the time value of money to appraise long-term projects. Used for capital budgeting, and widely throughout economics, finance, and accounting, it measures the excess or shortfall of cash flows, in present value terms, once financing charges are met.
The NPV of a sequence of cash flows takes as input the cash flows and a discount rate or discount curve and outputting a price; the converse process in DCF analysis, taking as input a sequence of cash flows and a price and inferring as output a discount rate (the discount rate which would yield the given price as NPV) is called the yield, and is more widely used in bond trading.
The annual percentage return realized on an investment, which is adjusted for changes in prices due to inflation or other external effects. This method expresses the nominal rate of return in real terms, which keeps the purchasing power of a given level of capital constant over time.