Demystifying Time Value of Money: Essential Glossary Terms

Apr 20, 2024

Time Value of Money (TVM) is a fundamental concept in finance that plays a crucial role in decision-making processes. To fully grasp the concept, it's essential to understand some key terms that are commonly used in TVM calculations. In this glossary, we will demystify these terms to help you navigate the world of finance with confidence.

Present Value (PV)

Present Value (PV) is the current worth of a future sum of money or cash flow, given a specified rate of return. It represents the value of a sum of money today, taking into account the time value of money.

Future Value (FV)

Future Value (FV) is the value of an asset or cash at a specified date in the future, based on an assumed rate of growth. It is a crucial concept in TVM calculations to determine how much an investment will be worth in the future.

Interest Rate (r)

Interest Rate (r) is the rate at which interest is paid on the principal amount of a loan or investment. It is a key factor in TVM calculations as it determines the growth or discount rate applied to future cash flows.

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Discount Rate

Discount Rate is the rate used to discount future cash flows back to their present value. It reflects the opportunity cost of investing money in a particular project or investment.


Compounding is the process where the value of an investment grows exponentially over time, as the interest earned on the initial investment is reinvested to earn additional interest.


Discounting is the process of determining the present value of a future cash flow or series of cash flows. It involves applying a discount rate to future amounts to calculate their current value.

investment growth

Net Present Value (NPV)

Net Present Value (NPV) is a financial metric that calculates the difference between the present value of cash inflows and outflows of a project or investment. A positive NPV indicates that the investment is expected to generate value.


Annuity is a series of equal payments or receipts made at regular intervals. Annuities are commonly used in TVM calculations to determine the present or future value of a stream of cash flows.

Understanding these essential glossary terms is key to mastering the concept of Time Value of Money and making informed financial decisions. By applying these principles, you can evaluate investments, loans, and other financial opportunities with clarity and confidence.