There are many different methods to valuing a company or its stock. One could opt to use a relative valuation approach, comparing multiples and metrics of a firm in relation to other companies within its industry or sector. Another alternative would be value a firm based upon an absolute estimate, such as implementing discounted cash flow modeling or the dividend discount method, in an attempt to place an intrinsic value to said firm.
When most hear the term residual income, they think of excess cash or disposable income. Although that definition is correct in the scope of personal finance, in terms of equity valuation residual income is the income generated by a firm after accounting for the true cost of its capital. You might be asking, "but don't companies already account for their cost of capital in their interest expense?" Yes and no. Interest expense on the income statement only accounts for a firm's cost of its debt, ignoring its cost of equity, such as dividends payouts and other equity costs. Looking at the cost of equity another way, think of it as the shareholders' opportunity cost, or the required rate of return. The residual income model attempts to adjust a firm's future earnings estimates, to compensate for the equity cost and place a more accurate value to a firm. Although the return to equity holders is not a legal requirement like the return to bondholders, in order to attract investors firms must compensate them for the investment risk exposure.
It’s a (mostly) short term, higher risk, higher reward place to invest cash that has a low correlation with the stock market, but is far more passive than buying and managing properties, has more opportunity for diversification than private placements (minimums of 5-10K, rather than 100K), and most of the equity offerings (and all of the debt offerings) provide monthly or quarterly incomes. Unlike a REIT, you can choose exactly which projects you wish to invest in.
I’m a 45 year old business owner who also has focussed on diversifying my income streams. I have a short term vacation rental in Florida that I bought for $390k in 2012 and net rental income for the last three years has been growing steadily. 2015 I am at $70k gross right now but should end up at $80-85k with net around $45k plus we use the place about 35 nights a year.
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What if the manager of the Idaho investment center wants to invest $100,000 in new equipment that will generate a return of $16,000 per year? This would provide residual income of $4,000, which is the amount by which it exceeds the minimum 12% rate of return threshold. This would be acceptable to management, since the focus is on generating an incremental amount of cash.
Residual income is calculated as net income less a charge for the cost of capital. The charge is known as the equity charge and is calculated as the value of equity capital multiplied by the cost of equity or the required rate of return on equity. Given the opportunity cost of equity, a company can have positive net income but negative residual income.