Residual Income equals net income minus opportunity cost. So in the stock trading example, your residual income is $4,000 minus $6,000 or negative $2,000. As you can see, an investment can produce negative residual income even if it helps your money grow . A negative residual income means that you could have done better by another, risk-free approach. Some analysts refer to residual value as Economic Value Added. If your residual value is negative, you are not truly adding value with what you are doing.
All that being said, the residual income valuation approach is a viable and increasingly popular method of valuation and can be implemented rather easily by even novice investors. When used alongside the other popular valuation approaches, residual income valuation can give you a clearer estimate of what the true intrinsic value of a firm may be. (Don't be overwhelmed by the many valuation techniques out there - knowing a few characteristics about a company will help you pick the best one. See How To Choose The Best Stock Valuation Method.)
Residual income is when you continue to get paid after the work is done. This includes royalties from books, movies, or songs and also income that comes from real estate or business investments where you don’t actually have to be present to earn it. For example, Bill Gates is still making a residual income from Microsoft even though he isn’t working there anymore.
Opportunity cost is the basic concept at the heart of residual income. Opportunity cost refers to what you are giving up to use an asset for a particular project or investment. Let's say you start with $100,000 cash in your stock portfolio and grew that money to $104,000 by spending only a few hours per month trading stocks. Now $4,000 in profit may look just fine when you consider that you only worked, say, 20 hours for it in total. However, once you consider your opportunity cost, your little hobby will not look nearly as profitable. If banks are paying six percent for risk-free certificates of deposit, your $100,000 would have grown to $106,000 simply by depositing it in a bank. Your opportunity cost is $6,000
Wouldn’t it be nice to earn money while not working? That money is called residual, or recurring, income. It's what can happen after you put a lot of time, effort and sometimes money into a job to continue to get paid for the work months or years after it's done. (Salary jobs are part of linear income. This income is directly related to the number of hours you work. If you work 40 hours, you get paid for 40 hours of work.) Once you set up your business to earn residual income, you continue to make money while doing other things – maybe even starting a new business to generate more residual income!
As interest rates have been going down over the past 30 years, bond prices have continued to go up. With the 10-year yield (risk free rate) at roughly 2.55%, and the Fed Funds rate at 1.5% (two more 0.25% hikes are expected in 2018), it’s hard to see interest rates declining much further. That said, long term interest rates can stay low for a long time. Just look at Japanese interest rates, which are negative (inflation is higher than nominal interest rate).
The reason I consider dividends artificial and believe they don’t matter is because you can just as easily reinvest your dividends. If a stock is worth $100/share, I don’t care if it issues a $1/share dividend or if the share price instead increases to $101/share – either way, I have the same amount of money, because there’s no difference to my net worth whether I take the dividend or sell part of a stock.
Residual income is different from a salary, or linear income, which is paid out strictly based on the number of hours a person works. Someone who works on a salary is often said to work “paycheck to paycheck.” This is because he pays all of his bills with his first paycheck and then must wait until he gets paid again to have more money. Ideally, someone will work hard building up a business so that he can enjoy the residual income once his goals have been met. Then he can work on additional projects while still earning money from his business.
Residual income valuation is a process of business equity evaluation that accurately calculates the cost of equity capital. The primary application of this method is to calculate a rate of return that provides investors and managers a means to measure the compensation for their opportunity cost. Even if a project shows a profit, the residual income valuation may show that this specific project may not have been as profitable as another opportunity.
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The first form of residual income, the leftover cash after bills and expenses are paid, is important when a person is growing their savings account or is seeking a loan or financing. When getting a loan, there must be an adequate amount of residual income available to ensure a person has the money to make the loan payments each month. If there is not adequate residual income, financing or loans will not likely be approved.