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# Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

## The Internal Rate of Return is a good way of judging an investment. The

bigger the better!
The Internal Rate of Return is the interest rate that makes the Net Present
Value zero.
OK, that needs some explaining, right?
It is an Interest Rate.
You find it by first guessing what it might be (say 10%), then work out
the Net Present Value(I will show you how).
Then keep guessing (maybe 8%? 9%?) and calculating until you get a Net
Present Value of zero.

## Example: Sam is going to start a small bakery!

Sam estimates all the costs and earnings for the next 2 years, and calculates
the Net Present Value:

## At 6% Sam gets a Net Present Value of \$2000

But the Net Present Value should be zero, so Sam tries 8% interest:

## At 8% Sam gets a Net Present Value of \$1600

Now it's negative! So Sam tries once more, but with 7% interest:

## At 7% Sam gets a Net Present Value of \$15

Close enough to zero, Sam doesn't want to calculate any more.

## The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is about 7%

So the key to the whole thing is ... calculating the Net Present Value!

## An investment has money going out (invested or spent), and

money coming in (profits, dividends etc). You hope more comes
in than goes out, and you make a profit!
But before adding it all up you should calculate the time value
of money.

## Money now is more valuable than money later on.

Example: Let us say you can get 10% interest on your money.
So \$1,000 now earns \$1,000 x 10% = \$100 in a year.
Your \$1,000 now becomes \$1,100 in a year's time.

Present Value

So \$1,000 now is the same as \$1,100 next year (at 10% interest).
The Present Value of \$1,100 next year is \$1,000
Present Value has a detailed explanation, but let's skip straight to the formula:

PV = FV / (1+r)n
PV is Present Value
FV is Future Value
r is the interest rate (as a decimal, so 0.10, not 10%)
n is the number of years
And let's use the formula:

## Example: Alex promises you \$900 in 3 years, what is the Present

Value (using a 10% interest rate)?

## So the Present Value of \$900 in 3 years is:

PV
PV
PV
PV

=
=
=
=

FV / (1+r)n
\$900 / (1 + 0.10)3
\$900 / 1.103
\$676.18 (to nearest cent)

## The interest rate (r) is now 6%, which is 0.06 as a decimal:

PV
PV
PV
PV

=
=
=
=

FV / (1+r)n
\$900 / (1 + 0.06 )3
\$900 / 1.06 3
\$755.66 (to nearest cent)

## Net Present Value (NPV)

Now we are equipped to calculate the Net Present Value.
For each amount (either coming in, or going out) work out its Present Value,
then:

## Subtract the Present Values you pay

Like this:

Example: You invest \$500 now, and get back \$570 next year. Use
an Interest Rate of 10% to work out the NPV.
Money Out: \$500 now

## You invest \$500 now, so PV = -\$500.00

Money In: \$570 next year

## PV = \$570 / (1+0.10)1 = \$570 / 1.10

PV = \$518.18 (to nearest cent)
And the Net Amount is:

## So, at 10% interest, that investment has NPV = \$18.18

But your choice of interest rate can change things!

Example: Same investment, but work out the NPV using an Interest
Rate of 15%
Money Out: \$500 now

## You invest \$500 now, so PV = -\$500.00

Money In: \$570 next year:

## PV = \$570 / (1+0. 15 )1 = \$570 / 1. 15

PV = \$495.65 (to nearest cent)
Work out the Net Amount:

## Net Present Value = \$495.65 - \$500.00 = -\$4.35

So, at 15% interest, that investment has NPV = -\$4.35
It has gone negative!
Now it gets interesting ... what Interest Rate can make the NPV exactly zero?
Let's try 14%:

## Example: Try again, but the interest Rate is 14%

Money Out: \$500 now

## You invest \$500 now, so PV = -\$500.00

Money In: \$570 next year:

## PV = \$570 / (1+0. 14 )1 = \$570 / 1. 14

PV = \$500 (exactly)

## Net Present Value = \$500 \$500.00 = \$0

Exactly zero!
At 14% interest NPV = \$0
And we have discovered the Internal Rate of Return ... it is 14% for that
investment.
Because 14% made the NPV zero.

## Internal Rate of Return

So the Internal Rate of Return is the interest rate that makes the Net
Present Value zero.
And that "guess and check" method is the common way to find it (though in
that simple case it could have been worked out directly).
Let's try a bigger example:

## Example: Invest \$2,000 now, receive 3 yearly payments of \$100

each, plus \$2,500 in the 3rd year.
Let us try 10% interest:

Now: PV = -\$2,000

## Adding those up gets: NPV = -\$2,000 + \$90.91 + \$82.64 + \$75.13 +

\$1,878.29 =\$126.97
I will take a better guess now, and try a 12% interest rate:

## Example: (continued) at 12% interest rate

Now: PV = -\$2,000

## Adding those up gets: NPV = -\$2,000 + \$89.29 + \$79.72 + \$71.18 +

\$1,779.45 =\$19.64
Ooh .. so close. Maybe 12.4% ?

## Example: (continued) at 12.4% interest rate

Now: PV = -\$2,000

## Adding those up gets: NPV = -\$2,000 + \$88.97 + \$79.15 + \$70.42 +

\$1,760.52 = -\$0.94

That is good enough! Let us stop there and say the Internal Rate of Return is
12.4%
In a way it is saying "this investment could earn 12.4%" (assuming it all goes
according to plan!).

## Using the Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

The IRR is a good way of judging different investments.
First of all, the IRR should be higher than the cost of funds. If it costs you 8% to
borrow money, then an IRR of only 6% is not good enough!
It is also useful when investments are quite different.

## Maybe the amounts involved are quite different.

Or maybe one has high costs at the start, and another has many small
costs over time.

Example: instead of investing \$2,000 like above, you could also invest 3 yearly
sums of \$1,000 to gain \$4,000 in the 4th year ... should you do that